Hollywood director Michael Bay has a reputation for creating substandard movies about wartime violence. Those who watched Pearl Harbor (2001) can relate to the aforementioned sentence.
Bay is in his elements while making commercial, blockbuster movies such as “Bad Boys,” the Transformers series and even the 1998 mega hit “Armageddon.” But Bay’s foray into movies inspired by actual events have never been well-received.
It seems like Bay has landed himself in a world of trouble, yet again. His forthcoming movie, “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” slated for a January 2016 release, is based on the fatal 2012 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi. The movie trailer has caused an uproar in Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city. It’s not just the Libyans; government officials, Facebook and Twitter users are all lining up to criticize the film.
Critics argue that the film simplifies the bombing of a U.S. diplomatic compound down to a narrative about the triumph of American heroes, while ignoring the fact that American soldiers were not alone in their fight to neutralize the violence. Remember, there were plenty of Libyan locals to help contain the violence.
Omar Gawaari, Libya’s culture and information minister, told the Associated Press that the movie shows the U.S. contractors “who actually failed to secure the ambassador … as heroes,” adding that Bay “turned America’s failure to protect its own citizens in a fragile state into a typical action movie all about American heroism.”
Salah Belnaba, a spokesperson for Libya’s foreign ministry, felt the film portrays the people of Benghazi as “fanatical and ignorant” when most residents are “keen to be part of the international community.”
An anonymous Libyan blogger wrote: “It seems that this entire movie boils down to the spoiled bickering of Americans as they grapple for power, using the murder of a good man to gain political leverage over one another. Not unlike Libyan politicians, then. Between all this, a beautiful city, my city, is reduced to so much hyperbole in a debate that lost relevance long ago.”
According to The Guardian, Bay’s latest venture could hit Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign.