“Act of Valor”
By MICHAEL WALTERS
“Act of Valor” is a lunkheaded Naval recruitment video that wears its narrative ineptness on its chest as a badge of honor and values its poor performances as a sign of “authenticity.” It’s so simplistic it makes G.I. Joe look like Hamlet.
The film began as a short training video, and was then expanded by a two man directing team known as the bandito brothers who shoot and edit this movie as though they’d just gotten their first cameras for Christmas.
According to the New York Times, this movie came to the screen as part of a Naval recruitment initiative, and it sounds like it was written by low level government hacks in the pentagon. The film allegedly stars “real” active duty Navy SEALS, but they’re shoehorned into a plot that’s all Hollywood, and bad Chuck Norris action picture Hollywood at that.
After a violent prologue involving the fiery death of dozens of innocent children, the film gets down to business as the Navy SEALS are sent to Costa Rica to extract a CIA agent being tortured by an oily South American drug kingpin and part time gun runner. They also have to stop a mad Chechen Muslim bomber out to push the American government into complete chaos.
The navy SEALs are lionized so constantly they practically arrive on the battlefield sporting halos along with their weaponry. Every Navy SEAL is a fearless warrior tirelessly sacrificing everything to protect their country from a variety of forces aimed at the very destruction of America. While the film prides itself on its liberal use of military jargon, but what may please the pentagon doesn’t leave audiences with much of a story to go on. And its bread and butter action sequences ring hollow. The game has been rigged, and everything has the look and feel of a training exercise where the stakes are low- even though the filmmakers had access to a variety of real high tech weaponry including a nuclear sub.
There’s no question real Navy SEALs are real American heroes, and they deserve credit for stealthily pulling off daring acts of bravery. But this movie is one mission that frankly isn’t worth their time.