Film Review: ‘Act of Valor’ a Puzzling Example of a War Film

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CHICAGO – The military soldier is one of the most fascinating character studies in art. He or she works at the highest level their training allows, and routinely go into battles based on decisions made far away from their own reality. “Act of Valor” attempts to define that loyalty - to themselves, their fellow soldiers and their country. Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

The film seems to go about it in the wrong way. Real Navy Seal specialists, whose unit most famously accomplished the takedown of Osama bin Laden, are used here as props for a speculative fictional scenario. Asking these men and women to be “actors,” while at the same time surrounding them with villains that would be more at home in a James Bond movie, lessens the impact of what they really do. If this film was trying to tug at our patriotic heartstrings - and given the emotions directed toward the missions I suspect that’s exactly what the film planned - then it would have been better served as a docudrama or straight documentary, not a video game-like story with foregone conclusions.

Real Navy Seals, portraying super-actuated versions of themselves, and are sent on several related missions, The first is to follow up on a terrorist bombing in the Phillipines, which involves the rescue of a CIA agent (Rosalyn Sanchez) caught in the jihadist web in South America, and this is followed by a series of police actions based on the intelligence that is uncovered during that rescue mission. The Seal specialists are broken down into easy-to-remember nicknames, but in terms of the plot it is narrowed down into The Team Leader, The Lieutenant (with a baby on the way), The Interrogator and the supporting soldiers.

They are sent to different locales to essentially search and destroy. Two key terrorists are on the loose, the South American Christo (Alex Veadov) and his super evil childhood friend Karimov (Dimiter Marinov). They swoop in on Christo, and The Interrogator gets what he needs. The final battle is on the Mexican border, where the need to stop the import of a new super weapon will test the Seals to the very last man.

“Act of Valor” opens everywhere February 24th. Featuring Roselyn Sanchéz, Alex Veadov, Dimitri Marinov and Alisa Marshall. Screenplay by Kurt Johnstad, directed by Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Act of Valor”

Dropping In: Navy Seals on Target in ‘Act of Valor’
Dropping In: Navy Seals on Target in ‘Act of Valor’
Photo credit: Relativity Media

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Act of Valor”

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