Thursday, March 1, 2012

Clif-Notes: Act of Valor

Act of Valor is the story of Navy SEALS who, after rescuing a CIA operative, find a terrorist plot to take down the U.S. Pretty simple. On paper. Reaction to it is another story all together.
Here's the good: the action in this movie is pretty phenomenal. It's top notch and you can definitely tell these are SEALS who know what they're doing as opposed to actors who have trained for the stunts. There were points where I found myself actually moving my body with the hope that the person on screen would move with me. It was a bit intense like that. It makes you want to go enlist just so that you can be that badass. The action really was that great and worth watching.
Here's the bad: everything else. With authentic SEALS, you loose all other aspects of a film, i.e. acting. All the badguys were decent and all the goodguys sucked. It was bad teleprompter reading at best. I yearned for them to go back to killing dudes just so I wouldn't have to hear their "memorized speeches" to each other. Nothing flowed naturally for any of them and it made following, or caring about, a story very hard.
Along with that, you had no back-story to the characters. All you know is that the one dude has a baby on the way and that they are all a brotherhood that dies for each other. Maybe if I was part of said brotherhood, I would get it but it came off as stale and as though I was in a high school gym, listening to the local recruiter who has note-cards telling me why I should care and join.
Act of Valor is a combination of movie making and navy recruitment but never really going one way or the other. The action alone makes it worth watching but that's only if you can try and get through the story and acting.


  1. I admire the concept of making this type of movie with guys who really do this kind of thing, but I'd rather watch a documentary. I'm not sure a dramatization pays those guys the respect they're due.