Feb 25, 2012

Act of Valor Review

Dedicated to all those who are going downrange in the future.
Damn few.

Act of Valor is the story of a group of navy seals who, after completing what they believe to be a simple rescue mission, discover a grave threat to America and immediately do what they do best.  It's not a huge crazy story with any plot twists or discoveries of betrayal or that the bad guy is the main character's father, but it drives the characters forward enough to make a good plot.

The thing about Act of Valor is that all the major roles are played by actual active duty seals. The thing is these guys are war machines, not actors. That was the biggest problem with me. At the worst of times the acting is just fake and produces a big "uhggg" as it hits you in the face. However, this is really only seen in the scenes where they talk to each other outside of battle. Once the bullets start flying, the acting really starts to pick up as the producers just left the script and asked the seals to just talk like they would in the field. As well some of the other characters really do a good job of selling a believable performance.
As far as action goes, Act of Valor does not let down. Bullets fly and things blow up real good (Explosions, me gusta).  One thing I would like to mention is that aside from a few bullet streams, everything is filmed. No CGI and no green screens, the plane jumps, the submarines, all of that stuff is real.
At times Act of Valor’s switches to a first person angle as the soliders walk through the marsh and clear rooms, almost like you’re watching Call of Duty.  Personally, I’m indifferent toward this. At times it feels like they’re just trying to make a CoD movie (do I really need to see a guy duck under a tree branch in a first person shot?) and at other times I really liked it feeling like they were trying to get me more connected to the soldiers.
It comes down to one thing: Did I like the movie? And I have to say: yes, I very much did. Act of Valor is a powerful story of brotherhood, sacrifice, and triumph. It attempts to show what soldiers go through, not just on the battlefield, but on at home and when they’re with each other. 
No need to stay after credits by the way.

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