Act of Valor, 2012.
Directed by Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh.
StarringAlex Veadov, Roselyn Sánchez, Nestor Serrano and Emilio Rivera.
During a mission to rescue a CIA agent a larger plot of terrorism is discovered.
Act of Valour is, quite frankly, a terrible film. It tries to be incredibly powerful and poignant yet fails miserably and is more akin to jocks butt slapping each other than a moving story about those in the military.
The film starts with a voice over as a letter is being written by a soldier to the son of another soldier which yes, completely gives away the fate of one of the characters. And I’m not giving you a spoiler there since the film actually does that itself, without even realising it I think.
We are introduced to the two main characters who are at a bar, one of whom is having a baby – I’m assuming these are the actual Navy SEALS, which the film utilises, and so I won’t knock their acting as its actually pretty good considering – and we are immediately made aware that each time we’re going to see them it is going to be cheesy and corny on an infuriating level.
The action is incredibly choppy and tries to be shot at a fast pace however simply comes off looking like a bad TV movie. Which is essentially what this film is. At times it’s like a video game, which is most prominent during the scenes where a map pops up on screen showing their location which for anyone reading this who has played Call of Duty: Modern Warfare you’ll know exactly the kind of graphic I’m talking about. All of the action is shot using – and I’m assuming here, I haven’t checked – those real Navy SEALS I mentioned and so it’s incredibly realistic. Or at least it would be if it wasn’t directed so badly. Which it is.
There are a few scenes in the first act, during the mission to rescue the CIA agent, where all hell has broken loose and it all gets very slow-mo and there are some pained, thoughtful expressions on the soldiers faces as the score gets very dramatic. If you’re thinking of the beach scenes in Saving Private Ryan then you’re on the right track. If that track is rusty, broken and a danger to all. Shortly after this scene as they have escaped and they reflect as they drive away it all gets slow-mo again and the soldiers share a few nods between them. I think we’re meant to be invested in these guys and feel their pain at the horror of war. We don’t.
Once they have rescued the CIA agent they discover a larger terrorist plot, finding out that 12 suicide bombers are to enter the United States and cause atrocities across its cities. From this point onwards I got a bit lost. Not because it was so incredibly deep and complex, no. I got lost because every time we see the Navy SEALS heading to a mission, which is intertwined with those investigating this plot, we aren’t told why they are where they are – we are told where in the world they are though, thanks to that little map (special thanks to Activision) – or what their objective is, and frankly I just stopped caring.
This film is basically an hour and a half “Navy SEALS are awesome” promo video. It’s dedicated to the men and women who dedicate their lives to military service, which I completely respect and agree with. Without getting political I believe our soldiers don’t get enough credit or respect from the public or those in Government, which is why I partly hated this film. The other part is just because it’s a bad film – it doesn’t tell an engaging story that gives credit to the men and women it tries to pay respect to. It’s all corny pieces of dialogue and figurative high fives. It tries to be moving, it tries to tell a dramatic story, but it fails. Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers it is not.
Flickering Myth Rating: Film ★ / Movie ★