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Act of Valor is a "Must See" with Real Active Duty Navy SEALs Playing Themselves

Updated on February 22, 2012
Act of Valor will be in theaters Friday, February 24, 2012
Act of Valor will be in theaters Friday, February 24, 2012

Acts of Valor, a new movie due to be released to 3000 theaters on Friday, February 24, 2010, ushers in a new epoch in motion picture entertainment. The movie is about the U S Navy SEALs and actually usually uses real active duty SEALs instead of actors. Their names, however, are not included in the credits.

The directors Scott Waugh and Mike “Mouse” McCoy had been hired to develop a training and recruiting video for the military about the SEALs. As they began to work with the SEALs and got to know them personally, the two film makers were so impressed with this elite unit that they began to think a real movie should be made about their exploits and accomplishments.

As this idea progressed, the both Waugh and McCoy began to realize that not even the most talented actors could play the SEALs realistically. Waugh explained that subtleties like the way these highly trained soldiers hold their guns could not be taught to an actor. The two men also reasoned that using real life heroes would be the best way to honor the SEAL

It took Waugh and McCoy a period of months to convince the real life SEALs to acquiesce to this novel idea since SEAL team member traditionally keep a low profile in public. Not only did the SEALs act in the movie, but they also did much of the writing of it where the operation planning was involved.

Acto of Valor directors Mike "Mouse" McCoy and Scott Waugh
Acto of Valor directors Mike "Mouse" McCoy and Scott Waugh

Another shocker in this novel undertaking is that live ammunition was used in all the action scenes. The viewer will see real tracer bullets and real fire erupting from the weapons. The movie set and props also include live grenades, free-falling paratroopers, helicopters, drones, gunships, high-powered sniper rifles, an aircraft carrier and a nuclear submarine. Quite a heady production for former stuntmen McCoy and Waugh as first-time full feature movie directors.

As mentioned above, the two men were originally hired to make a training and recruitment video for the Special Forces. Their production company—the Bandito Brothers—was awarded the contract because of their specialization in producing high action commercial ads and high-risk sports documentaries. This deal with the Navy gave them access to many military resources not available to the typical Hollywood studio.

The film has attempted to present a balanced view of the military—neither glorifying nor denigrating it. It could in fact be considered and may soon prove to be a successful recruitment tool of its own for the SEALs. With the military turning to the use of specialized forces more heavily in recent conflicts since Sept. 11, 2001, the SEALs have been steadily seeking to increase their numbers.

The movie, though largely populated by non-actors (the SEALs as well as other military support personnel and extras) does include some familiar Hollywood faces. They include Roselyn Sanchez (Rush Hour 2) as the captured CIA agent, and Emilio Rivera (Sons of Anarchy) and Nester Serrano (24) as bad guys.

Act of Valor uses real active duty SEALs playing themselves and using live ammunition
Act of Valor uses real active duty SEALs playing themselves and using live ammunition

The story line is fiction, of course, but depicts realistic anti-terrorism operations that have actually been performed by the SEALs and which were woven into the narrative. The plot concerns an attempt to rescue a captive CIA operative (Sanchez as Agent Morales) and uncovers a scheme to slip suicide bombers into the U. S. via the Mexican border. The drama darts from the Philippines to Costa Rica to Africa to Mexico.

Some have suggested the movie’s release has been timed to help with President Obama’s reelection campaign by acting as a subtle reminder that the President was the one who ordered the SEALs on the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden (a movie about the Bin Laden hunt scheduled for release in October 2012 is more likely to accomplish this). In fact, the filmmakers gave a special showing of the movie at the White House a few weeks ago and the President was in attendance.

Not everyone in the military community has been pleased with this attention drawn to the SEALs’ activities. Some officials and top level military personnel believe exposing the SEALs in this way will compromise their future efforts.

To back up their arguments, reference is made to Saddam Hussein and how he made it known that he had used the movie ‘Black Hawk Down’ as a training video for his military leaders to prepare them to fight American soldiers.

But the Pentagon has given its assurance that no sensitive information was revealed in the film. The Navy had retained rights to edit any critical information out of the script.

When the movie was finally finished, Bandito Brothers Production Company was happily able to report that, despite the use of live ammunition, no serious injuries resulted during the filming which seems like no minor miracle. Only two cameras were destroyed.

Go to for more information on this highly anticipated film.


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    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 5 years ago

      That's interesting. I never realized Sadam Hussein used "Black Hawk Down" as a training tool, for his army, as that's very interesting to know. Anyway, great job on this review, as it does seem like you did your research on this fairly well.