This weekend I saw Act of Valor, just out at the end of February 2012. This was the first movie I have seen in theaters since summer 2010 (my wife had to remind me what that movie was, it was so unremarkable). Act of Valor is certainly not going to fade into the haze of my mind so fast.
First, part of the marketing for this movie stated that active duty Navy Seals were used in the making of the film. You can tell, primarily from the bad acting on the SEALs part (which is very understandable given that they are primarily steely-eyed killers, not pampered movie stars). Line delivery was a little off, like in a decent B+ straight-to-TV sci-fi movie. To be fair, the actors were severely hampered by the dialogue given by the writers. The lines were forced and just didn’t come off as genuine. In the most engaging dialogue sequence of the movie, a SEAL interrogator whips out the line “you will go away in a dark hole… you will be treated humanely…” to a captured terrorist facilitator. I could practically see the DOD lawyers putting their initials on that line.
The visuals & non-dialogue audio are what make this movie worth seeing. SOAR Chinooks carrying SWCC boats to insert – sexy. Dual 240s, a couple of Ma duces, and a pair of miniguns covering the SEAL team extract under fire – enough to bring tears to your eyes. The only thing missing was the little birds. The guns sounded real and there was no fake sloppy digitally added muzzle flashes like I saw with an episode of Person of Interest recently.
The great action photography is why I would want to own this movie.
The plot is a little fast paced. I got the feeling that the movie couldn’t make up its mind as to whether they were trying to compress a several month team deployment cycle into a 2 hour movie or whether they were trying to compress a week timeline into a 2 hour movie. Think the plot line of the Call of Duty Modern Warfare series and you will have the plot line of this movie.
Overall, I would have given this movie 2 out of 5 stars for the horrible writing. However, the action scenes (especially the team extraction referenced earlier) bring this film up to a solid 3.5 stars.