13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI [R] B-
Much has been made about the lack of “politics” at the heart of Michael Bay’s action-extravaganza approach to the assault on the US embassy in Libya. Based on Mitchell Zuckoff’s book about the crisis, the film version hones in on the efforts of the six-man security team of contractors, toplined by Toby Stephens and John Krasinski, rather than exploring the many perspectives around the globe once the situation begins to escalate. Supremely fitting for a Bay production, the nefarious cardboard villain is the paper-pushing CIA outpost head (David Costabile) who can’t bring himself to make a decision as the pressure mounts. Bay, of course, handles the explosive firefight like a warrior-born, and there is a noticeable degree of subtlety in the execution, which overall addresses this idea of a downplaying of the “politics” of the affair and earns Bay a critical pass.
RIDE ALONG 2 [PG-13] D-
I sincerely doubt anyone entered a multiplex, purchasing a ticket for “Ride Along 2,” expecting any type of narrative logic or performative rapport. It came to my attention, while watching Tim Story’s latest installment in the Kevin Hart stand-up routine that Hart, even in the midst of a crowded frame, works alone. Not only, in his mind, is he the star of every scene and story, but he apparently believes he’s merely interacting with movable props. The biggest inanimate object of all, in “Ride Along 2” is Ice Cube, the former rapper and acting sapling, now grown into a mature tree that Hart gets to scramble around like a hungry squirrel in search of a nut.