Act of Valor
Rated R for strong violence including some torture, and for language
In an attempt to add a sense of ominous realism to their movie, the director team of Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh chose to use real-life active-duty Navy SEALs as their leads in a fictional story about a group of SEALs who are sent in to rescue a kidnapped CIA agent and then foil the plans of the man who kidnapped her.
Before the film begins, McCoy and Waugh explain their use of real people rather than actors in many of the roles. And from the beginning you get the sense that this a two hour commercial for the military. And while in many ways the production is far from bulletproof, in regard to its mission – it executes well.
I think we can dispense with the obvious first: the acting is not great. I’m not sure if these guys are trying to be thespians, but their efforts don’t show a lot of potential for stage or screen. But once you really think about it, aren’t you glad these guys aren’t good actors? After all, this film is very effective at making the entire group of soldiers look amazing at what they really do. To mildly put it – these guys are bad-to-the-bone real-life heroes who put their lives on the line so that we can even go to the movies. While we are at work or play, living out our lives relatively oblivious to the dangers of the outside world, these guys are risking their lives to protect our right to do so, and I think you will be hard-pressed to find someone who isn’t appreciative. It’s very easy here to forgive things like acting, plot holes and a bit of propaganda for a project such as this.
Once you get past the little annoyances, there is a decent picture underneath. The plot surrounding a terrorist attempting to take out American tourist destinations is frightening and very plausible. Since 9-11 there has been a sense of dread in the air about our security and it’s easy to believe that these ideas, while fictional, probably aren’t far from the truth.
In addition – the drama and excitement are heaped on a plenty. In many of the scenes the production used live-fire rather than the traditional ammunition used in Hollywood productions. What you get is a more intense ride than what you expect. The explosions are big and bountiful and the tension is captivating.
So while it would be hard for you to ignore the negatives, the positives found make it possible to not only forgive them, but to also come away with an experience you will not likely forget and a feeling of thankfulness to those that make a living protecting us. B+