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Review: Act of Valor

February 29, 2012

Act of Valor

  • Starring: Alex Veadov (Air Force One), Roselyn Sanchez (Rush Hour 2), Nestor Serrano (The Insider)
  • Directed by: Mike McCoy, Scott Waugh
  • Synopsis: “An unprecedented blend of real-life heroism and original filmmaking, Act of Valorstars a group of active-duty Navy SEALs in a powerful story of contemporary global anti-terrorism…When the rescue of a kidnapped CIA operative leads to the discovery of a deadly terrorist plot against the U.S., a team of SEALs is dispatched on a worldwide manhunt..” (collider)
  • Rated: R for strong violence/torture and some language
  • Trailer:

Introduction:

Before I begin this review, a question must be pondered. And that question is: What makes a movie great/good?

This question is often in and of itself a highly debated issue. You can, of course, see what I personally look for in every film and how I rate them by clicking here.

However, in answering this question, it is important for a film to:

  1. be exciting/attention grabbing,
  2. have a good storyline
  3. be decently understandable to follow
  4. have good acting
  5. consist of several other little elements that assist the previously mentioned 4.

I would tend to believe that most people would agree with the majority of this list being important. Not only with the necessity of each element existing in the film, but also with the truth that an appropriate balance must also be present. If a film, for example, was 80% exciting/attention grabbing but had very little quality in continuity or storyline or acting, does that make for a great movie?

No. (insert Transformers 2, 007: Tomorrow Never Dies, Rocky IV and V, The Matrix Reloaded, Haywire, etc) It may make for an exhilarating, exciting, and adrenaline-packed time, but it does not make for a great movie.

Okay. You with me so far? Alrighty, that being said and out-of-the-way, I proceed with this review. (Before you all start throwing rotten tomatoes at me screaming “BOOOO!”)

Here’s a look at Act of Valor

—————————————————————-

Act of Valor is one of those exhilarating, exciting, and adrenaline-packed films, but, unfortunately, it is not a great movie.

Inspired by true events, Act of Valor attempts to valiantly tell the story of a U.S. Navy SEAL unit that begins an operation to extract a captured CIA agent. Only, while on the mission, they discover a terrorist plot that threatens the very shores of the United States. Thus begins their global mission to track down and destroy all those connected to this malicious plot.

With an original take on telling an unoriginal story (the brave and unique use of real-life active duty Navy SEALs), this film plays out very similarly to the storylines of video games such as “Call of Duty”. With “first-person shooter” camera shots and familiar fictionalized terrorist storyline plots, Act of Valor presents a high level of intensity, action, blood, and bullets. Appealing to lovers of war movies, military, special forces missions, and more, this film performs admirably in sharing some of the behind the scenes in and outs of classified missions such as the ones presented in the film. It honors those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.

The acting, the spotty (although emotional and oft-times touching) narration, non-continuous plots, the slight attempts at emotional attachment to the characters: their families, their brotherhood, etc. It’s all been done before…and better, in films such as Black Hawk Down, Platoon, etc. But, what it lacks in story/acting, it tries to make up for in action/excitement.

This film pays homage to the courage of those serving in the Armed Forces protecting the country they love and serve, but it should have done better. While I love and appreciate the tribute, this is not the “best war movie ever made” as it is referred to as by numerous sites online. Perhaps a valiant effort, but one that seems to serve little more than as a tool to attract and invite many more to Armed Rorces recruitment offices in their respective cities.

While several might bash this film for shoddy acting since none of the SEALs are portrayed by Hollywood actors, I am not all that sure that even veteran actors would have improved the film. It really is the limited story, the recycled plot, the unoriginal villains, and the lack of follow through for the course of events that really dull the shining light of the action and excitement that this film presents.

Authentically exciting…yet unfortunately dull.

Patriotically, I want to give this film a 5-star rating! I loved the “seemingly” authentic behind the scenes look at the ops of the Navy SEALs, but the question remains: “Is it a good movie?”

My answer below.

Score:  1.5 out of 5 stars for Act of Valor (let the tomato-throwing now commence)

Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

T, The Focused Filmographer

up next: “Trailer Time Thursday”

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22 Comments leave one →
  1. February 29, 2012 2:00 pm

    I didnt even think it WAS an “exhilarating, exciting, and adrenaline-packed film”. I didnt find any of the “Action” scenes to be memorable.

    So all that left me with was the suck.

    I will agree with you that this movie does pay honor to the people who sacrfice their lives in the service of their country (Although the cynic in me wants to use the word “Glorify”), I just think that such a subject should be served by a much better film.

    This is an unrepetant recruitment commercial.

    Like

    • March 1, 2012 8:57 am

      I wish it could’ve been so much better. the villains, the continuity, so much. well, I’m preaching to the choir here.

      Like

  2. February 29, 2012 2:08 pm

    Lol…no worries T, no tomato throwing here. I obviously liked the movie more than you did, but I think I went in looking at it totally differently. I do believe the use of actual Navy Seals put this movie in another place for me. Ur points are however valid. It wasn’t a great movie, but a valiant effort that I appreciated more than you. I agree it did feel like a video game, but that didn’t bother me as much, and was actually a part about the movie that I enjoyed.

    I can’t believe you gave it a 1.5…if nothing else, it was definitely a better watch than Haywire! lol…

    Like

    • March 1, 2012 8:59 am

      There was so much more that this film could’ve done that I felt Haywire did better believe it or not. For sake of spoilers I won’t include them in this comment, but if you want, we can discuss it via email.

      I appreciate the tribute, but felt that our servicemen deserve a better one.

      Like

      • March 1, 2012 8:59 am

        oh, and thanks for keeping the tomato in your fridge! ha

        Like

  3. February 29, 2012 8:10 pm

    What a clear-thinking breakdown of the factors that go into a good movi.! I think I will probably pass this up. Stray thought I had is, I read somewhere that the actual SEALs who worked on the film had to leave to go missions so that it took two years (or something like that) to, um, shoot. I wonder if that had anything to do with the lack of plot or general cohesiveness.

    Like

    • March 1, 2012 9:01 am

      Thanks Paula. It is a tribute to our men in uniform, and I value what they do. But this one did lack in quite a bit. And, yes, it did take 2 years to film, but I’d be curious to know if that truly did affect the film as you question. hmm.

      Like

  4. March 1, 2012 1:08 am

    This seems to be getting so many negative reviews I might re-consider renting it after all lol. I was kind of looking forward to it because of the real SEALs giving some authenticity to the combat scenes you know?… Oh well

    Like

    • March 2, 2012 9:52 am

      When you see it, I will be interested in knowing if you have the same views. It’s sometimes hard to believe the authenticity in the combat scenes, but it is some of those scenes that cause the greatest enjoyment as well.

      Like

  5. March 1, 2012 2:07 am

    Ooh SNAP. Nasty. I have a press screening of this next week, I am truly not looking forward to it now!! (May chuck a sicky)

    Great review as ever my friend

    Like

    • March 2, 2012 9:53 am

      Thanks Scott. Ooh, a press screening, huh? I’d say see it. Esp if it is free to do so.

      Like

  6. March 1, 2012 3:12 am

    I haven’t seen a positive review about this film. I’m thinking all these negative reviews aren’t going to do it any favours if they thought this would help recruit.

    Like

    • March 2, 2012 9:54 am

      it has it’s moments, but as a movie…no bueno.

      Like

  7. March 1, 2012 8:00 am

    Hi, Terrance and company:

    ‘Act of Valor’ is about action. Not acting. Kudos to the marketing team that paid for its Super Bowl ads that created buzz early on. A daring and profitable move to be sure. Which has paid off handsomely!

    Those who want to see the film will see it and have an enjoyable time. Regardless of what critics and film reviewers have to say about it.

    Securing my Soap Box.
    Carry on.

    Like

    • March 1, 2012 8:01 pm

      You mean the U.S. Armed Forces?

      Like

    • March 2, 2012 9:58 am

      “securing my soap box. carry on.” -I loved this!

      You’re right, This film’s win in the box office last weeknd was a great win for the marketing team. But I’m curious to see what will happen to it this wknd.

      and ultimately, I agree with you. EVERYONE should see a film and choose to enjoy it or to scoff at it based on their opinions regardless of what critics and film reviewers say. Differing opinions are always great and what makes movie watching even more fun.

      I just saw this one as not a good movie at all.

      Like

  8. March 1, 2012 8:01 pm

    That sounds like about what I’d expected.

    Like

    • March 2, 2012 10:00 am

      unfortunately

      Like

  9. March 2, 2012 1:40 pm

    Great review, T. It sounds pretty much like what I imagined. Not something I will be seeking out.

    Like

    • March 3, 2012 6:41 pm

      Thanks Eric. Not the easiest to write, knowing I wanted to give it a better review.

      Like

  10. yaykisspurr permalink
    March 5, 2012 3:27 pm

    Good review! It’s sad 2 years was wasted on this….

    Like

    • March 5, 2012 6:01 pm

      I agree. Thanks for the comment!

      Like

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