The 13 Hours embargo doesn’t lift until 9 pm Pacific, but I can at least pass along what plenty of folks have been saying on Twitter. It’s an exceptional “American guys get the shit kicked out of them” combat flick in the tradition of Lone Survivor and Black Hawk Down. When it’s doing the pure visceral battle thing it’s awesome, super-crafty, riveting. It’s definitely “political” in that it’s a pro-American, hooray-for-our-side salute of military heroism in the face of Islamic wacko attacks, but Hillary Clinton takes no hits whatsoever. And yet there’s a CIA desk chief character (played by David Costabile) who comes off as a timid procedural asshole between 75% and 80% of the time. 13 Hours is Michael Bay‘s best (i.e., least irritating) and sturdiest film in his entire career, and is weakened only by his attempts to “sell” the Benghazi attack as something more than it might have been at the end of the day with what struck me as needlessly manipulative music cues and sentimental digressions about families back home. The attack is portrayed as a deliberate, organized attack in what is now considered a failed state that has become an ISIS stronghold. 13 Hours looks and feels like a hit — expert enough to rock action fans and almost certain to strike a chord with conservative rural audiences. It’s fast, hard and throttling — the parts that work (roughly 85% of the whole) really work.