Saturday, June 16, 2012

"Act of Valor" Review

   In all honesty, if it didn't star active duty U.S. Navy SEALs, this movie would never have been seen. This is Act of Valor!

    Before I get to the review, let me just say that I greatly respect the U.S. Navy SEALs in this film. I could never do what they do and no matter how I feel about this movie, it will not change the sacrifice these soldiers are making. To the SEALs, I say thank you.
    The film follows a group of SEALs as the deploy out and partake in a mission to rescue CIA operative Morales (Roselyn Sanchez) who has been kidnapped by two very dangerous men, Cristo (Alex Veadov) and Shabal (Jason Cottle). It then becomes a race against the clock when they uncover Shabal's plan to detonate several severely deadly human bombs in order to... cause a complete economic collapse. Ya, I don't get that part either.

That is the coolest thing ever.
     The obvious draw of Act of Valor  is the fact that the actors are all active duty SEALs, and for people who have never acted before in their lives... they sure act like people who've never acted before in their lives.            The dialogue between the SEALs is often stilled and lifeless, almost like their main focus is just remembering what the hell it is they're supposed to say. Not that they should be expected to be Shakespearean, but their performances do take you out of the film.
    Though, clearly when it came to action scenes, they knew what they were doing. The scenes are all done to match how the SEALs would actually do it and watching these highly-trained professionals kick some major ass is a whole lot of fun. The smooth, slick action scenes are all very well directed and are intense to watch, though when things get really hectic, it can be hard to see what's going on.
    Unfortunately, the whole film is heavily letdown by the awful script. The story lacks any complexity other than the basic "Good vs Evil". There is no ambiguity. The U.S. is pure good and every American in the film doesn't have a bad bone in their body. The terrorists are all pure evil. There is no sympathy to be had with them. They are solely out to kill all of America. Because of this, the film lack a certain bite. There's no rough edge to get around in this movie. What you get is what you get. On top of that, it's one of those film's that feels like it can come off as deep if it spouts a lot of quotes about "brotherhood" and the importance of family. It's more pretentious than emotional.

Correction: THIS is the coolest thing ever.
    The SEALs deserved a better movie than this. Act of Valor is less a look into the real life of the SEALs and more of an idealized one. The film is never more complex than the bad guys are bad and the good guys are good. Add on the fact that the SEALs just can't act and the script is a pretentious bore and even the slick and kick-ass action scenes can't save this clunker. Act of Valor is hardly victorious. Act of Valor gets 3 stars out of 6.

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