Review: ‘Act of Valor’

Act of Valor, a film ‘inspired by true events’, follows a group of Navy Seals searching for terrorists who have the ultimate weapon of destruction. They travel to some of the worlds most horrific war zones in a race to stop an attack that could kill thousands of Americans.

The film opens with a brief intro by the directors, Mike “Mouse” McCoy and Scott Waugh, talking about the shoot and the challenges they faced. They then segue into talking about the casting: how and why they hired active duty Navy Seals as the actors in the project.

They mentioned a particular Seal who was “intense” while on the job but when he was with his family, he was totally different; a loving and warm family man. They needed that type of person in their film: Someone who knew what this job was. What is was like to leave their families and fight for their country. They needed people who could have actually experienced those types of emotions.

“Actors can’t really replicate that,” they said.

Then, the film starts and we are treated to 101 minutes of some of the worst acting I’ve seen in ages.

Apparently active duty Seals can’t replicate any of those emotions either.

I’m not about to disparage Navy Seals; they are by far some of the bravest people on the planet. But actors, they ain’t. The acting is flat and they all have one line reading: monotone.

And not only did they hire actual Seals, they hired the wives too. No actress could ever portray her husband leaving for war. None. Ever.

Look, I’m not disparaging any of these people. If someone asked any non-actor to be in a feature film, they are going to say “Yes.” Who wouldn’t? Blame the filmmakers. Were they trying to save money by hiring amateurs? It almost felt like a festival film in the non-action scenes with the acting on-screen. I can’t help but think how much better this would have been if they hired actual actors.

I do imagine though, that if they had a better script to work with they could have been at least helped out. Here is a small, but choice, sample of dialogue that made the audience I was with snicker: 

As the two main Seals (you never actually find out their real names) are in a carrier, suited up and about to jump out of the aircraft, one says: “The only thing better than this is being a dad.”

It also felt like it was one, big long recruitment movie for the military.

When you do get to the actual parts of the movie you came for – the action – you aren’t disappointed. It’s fast paced and tense, violent and filled with cool Bond-like gadgets. But getting there is torture.

 

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