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
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:
- be exciting/attention grabbing,
- have a good storyline
- be decently understandable to follow
- have good acting
- 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!”)
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.
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”