>> Act of Valor (2012)

Title: Act Of Valor

Genre: Action/Adventure, War

Starring: Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano, Emilio Rivera

Director: Mike McCoy, Scott Waugh

Studio: Relativity Media

Runtime: 111 minutes

In Theatres: February 24, 2012

MPAA Rating: R

Rating: 2.87 (out of 4.00)

Grade: B-

Official Site

Films are continually pushing the boundaries, attempting to get the most realistic and accurate portrayal of its subject matter. Act of Valor’s main draw is that instead of actors, the film stars active duty Navy SEALs doing exactly what they do in real life on screen. Will it be enough to attract audiences or should professional actors been brought on board as well?

When an undercover CIA officer gets kidnapped, a covert team of U.S. Navy SEALs is sent in to rescue her. It’s never just a simple in and out mission, though, as soon the team uncovers a devastating terrorist plot to wipe out the American economy. With multiple suicide bombers attempting to enter the country through Mexico, the SEALs must quickly devise a plan of action to put a stop to the extremists before it’s too late.

Act of Valor plays out like Call of Duty: The Movie. For the most part, it’s a lot of war zone action sequences. Directors Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh worked extensively with the SEALs to make these scenes as accurate as possible and it shows. When in the heat of battle, nobody does it better than the SEALs. These guys are some of the most deadly members of the military and they bring their expertise to the screen. Everything, from their procedures and mannerisms to their weapons and gear, makes it feel like a real battle is going on. For some audiences, this could be confusing because the lingo they use in the film doesn’t necessarily cater to the average civilian, and it could take a few minutes to fully understand what’s going on. The events themselves are even taken from real SEAL missions so there is always that sense that what’s happening on screen could potentially happen in real life.

Further incorporating audiences into the action is the camera itself. It’s always in the heat of the action, many times going into a first person viewpoint of a soldier and his weapon. The shaky, in-your-face camera style gives the film a much grittier look and feel.

While the action is good an all, using active Navy SEALs does have its disadvantages. Act of Valor suffers from a lackluster plot and even worse acting. There are eight SEALs who are a member of this covert team but the film only goes into detail about two of them. There’s a brief segment towards the beginning that shows their families and whatnot but there’s not much else. As a result, they end up being just another soldier on the battlefield and there isn’t the same emotional draw as many other war films have.

It makes sense that the film focuses on the war aspect so much because these soldiers may be able to shoot a sniper rifle from 300 feet away but they can’t act to save their lives. Cheesy one-liners, dumbed down dialogue, and hackneyed conversations plague the film. Part of that can be attributed to the script writing but much of it is the acting itself. Even the non-active military actors don’t provide any memorable moments. That’s the kind of tradeoff you have when you put real Navy SEALs in place of actors.

Act of Valor shines brightest when bullets are flying and explosions are blowing up. Make two of the SEALs have a conversation, though, and the film begins to fall flat. There is definitely a sense of patriotism while watching the film and it’s clear that the directors had the best intentions when putting it all together. In the end, the overall experience is one worth watching, especially if you have a military background.

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Comments

Act of Valor

looks like a really good movie

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