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Act of Valor (2012)
Act of Valor
Directors: Mike McCoy, Scott Waugh
Writer: Kurt Johnstad
Cast: Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano, Alexander Asefa, Jeffrey Barnachea, Kenny Calderon, Raul Canizales II, Drea Castro, Sam Cespedes, Jimmy Chhiu, Charles Chiyangwa, Antoni Corone, Jason Cottle, Jesse Cotton, Craig H. Davidson, Juan Diaz, Aurelius DiBarsanti, Pedro Sergio Escobedo, Jesús Fernández, Colin Fleming, Richie Gaona, Conrad Garcia, Nick Gomez, Dyonte Griffin, Carla Jimenez, Marissa Labog, Reginald Long, Christian Mante, Henry Pinpin, Ernie Reyes Jr., Nicko Sabado, Sarifa Salanga, Roselyn Sanchez, Sonny Sison, Philip Un, Keo Woolford
Synopsis: An unprecedented blend of real-life heroism and original filmmaking, Act of Valor stars a group of active-duty Navy SEALs in a powerful story of contemporary global anti-terrorism. Inspired by true events, the film combines stunning combat sequences, up-to-the minute battlefield technology and heart-pumping emotion for the ultimate action adventure. Act of Valor takes audiences deep into the secretive world of the most elite, highly trained group of warriors in the modern world. 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. As the valiant men of Bandito Platoon race to stop a coordinated attack that could kill and wound thousands of American civilians, they must balance their commitment to country, team and their families back home. Each time they accomplish their mission...
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence including some torture, and for language
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Epic movie honoring those that are brave enough to serve our country in the military? Or propaganda gimmick to glorify the military, in order to raise more mil
For the second time in my writing career on hubpages, I have found myself at a loss for words on a movie. As some of my readers know, the first movie that had this affect on me was "The Iron Lady", but it seems "Act of Valor" has a similar affect on me as well. Granted, it's obviously for a different reason, but I'm still at a loss for words nonetheless, when it comes to this film.
Take in mind, that I have nothing but the utmost respect for all our brave women and men that serve in the military. In fact, I used to briefly be in the military myself, and I come from a military family as well. My father served in the Air Force, and my Step Father is an ex-army veteran. Plus, my adopted grandfather was in the military as well; along with various other members of my family. I have nothing but respect for the people in the armed forces. In fact, I always tell people that military jobs are arguably the most under paid in today's society, and they don't often receive the appreciation they deserve. Therefore, I would like to point out that any criticism that I point out about "Act of Valor" has NOTHING to do with my views on the military in general; as any negatives that are cited in this review, it's a reflection of my analysis on only the film itself. Please, keep that in mind when you read this, as there were certain things about this movie that I didn't like. However, to be fair, there were quite a few things that I did like as well. Anyway, let's get on with the review.
As some readers may know, "Act of Valor" is essentially a war movie starring real life Navy SEALS members, while basing it's story off real life missions allegedly. It's been widely discussed on the internet, and various other places, that the whole casting of real life military soldiers gimmick is a government ploy to boost military recruitment. And to be honest, I can't say that isn't true to a certain extent. Granted, the movie is designed to glorify, and praise many military soldiers for their bravery. But, the movie also seems to glorify them to such an extent that it almost feels like an over extended recruitment TV commercial for the military. In fact, they even use the patented helmet cam during certain scenes, to give viewers a "first person point of view" of what it's like to be a military soldier.
I guess the gimmick behind that is them saying, "Hey, you think these guys are cool? Now, you too can become a hero to serve your country." Granted, they never say those exact words, but it feels very implied throughout this movie; hence I think "Act of Valor" would've worked best as a short film versus a feature length one. However, we'll get more into that in just a minute. For now, let's go over the rest of the plot first before continuing.
The story is fairly cut and dry, as it involves a stereotypical terrorist, who plans on launching an attack on the United States. It's been said that his scheme is so devious that it'll make the incident that transpired on "9/11" seem like nothing by comparison. To make matters worse, the terrorists are using the protection of the Drug Cartels down, in Mexico, to cover their tracks. Oh what are we to do? Where's Superman when you need him? Oh wait, this actually looks like a job for a REAL Superman. Enter the Navy SEALS.
To be brutally honest, none of these Navy SEALS can act that well. In fact, every time they talked, all I could think of was how much I wished they had cast actual actors for these parts. But then again, these guys aren't professionally paid actors, so I can't be too hard on them. Besides, I will give these guys some credit. They're a helluva a lot better actors than guys like Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme. At least, that's my opinion.
Anyway, without giving too much, the Navy SEALS are deployed on a mission to stop these terrorists by any means necessary. Although the film does show the casualty of war, it also features the heroism that can happen in war as well. Showcasing a side of how military soldiers care more about the duty to their nation rather than for themselves, as they make various references to what it means to die with honor and bravery. One of them even eloquently makes a touching speech about how most people often fear death, but seldom few are brave enough to never fear it.
Indeed, if there's one thing that I liked about this movie, then it would definitely be that message, as it truly does portray our military soldiers in the way they should be honored. Having said that though, I can't ignore the flaws in the script. Sure, I know I'll probably get a lot of flak for saying ONE thing wrong about this movie, but I can't ignore the painfully obvious here. If you honestly broke down the script to it's simplest context, then you'd not only come to realize that it's tragically cliched ridden as hell, but it also features a story that's been done over a million times in the past, in much better films. Plus, the mediocre dialogue of the movie doesn't help matters either.
In the end, no matter how you want to look at things, this whole casting of real Navy SEALS is nothing more than a gimmick to promote the movie. Think about it. If this movie had featured a cast of primarily unknown actors that weren't soldiers, or they were just actors like the guys we've seen in "Expendables", then would you still feel the same need to praise this movie? The simple answer to this is "no." Look, as I said before, I liked "Act of Valor", but I'd be lying to my readers if I said this film was perfect. In fact, I would strongly encourage readers to check out films like "Saving Private Ryan", "The Hurt Locker", and etc, before I'd ever recommend "Act of Valor."
As for the "first person point of view", I honestly didn't care for that portion of the film. Not only does the whole concept make the entire movie seem even more gimmicky than it needs to be, but it almost feels too much like a video game, during those key segments; which completely undermines the heroism that's presented on screen whenever the "first person point of view" isn't being used.
Overall, I wouldn't go on record to say "Act of Valor" is a bad film by any means. However, I would argue that it's a bit over hyped, and it probably would've been served better if it had been portrayed as a short thirty minute film; while cutting out the "first person perspective." But then again, it's not a bad movie. As I stated earlier, I liked the portrayal of the Navy SEALS, and I loved the action sequences, as they were very well directed; in spite of a mediocre script. However, I would advise everyone to wait until the DVD/Blue Ray comes out, as this isn't worth seeing in theaters, but it's still entertaining nonetheless at a rating of two and a half out of four.