Rating: 3 stars out of 5
The Stars: A bunch of real-life SEAL guys who weren’t allowed to give their real names.
The Buzz: #1 at the US box office the previous weekend, it’s a Pentagon approved action film.
The Story: A team of Navy SEAL operatives take down a Chechen terrorist.
insing.com thinks: What apparently started out as an army recruitment ad has been upsized to a full feature-length film. Using real-life Navy SEALs as key characters, directors Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh manage to stitch together some great action scenes, and almost overcoming the lack of acting skills amongst the non-professional acting cast to put together an occasionally hokey, but watchable film.
"Fire in the hole!"
To their credit, the action scenes are sterling, displaying some of the latest military hardware that the US army possesses while not regressing into a random, impossible assault on the eyes and ears. There’s also an air of suspense in the scenes, even if many of the soldiers are cardboard and have as much life as a standee.
Also impressively handled is an excellent interrogation scene, when the army catches up to one of the nasty villains in the film, named Cristo, who looks as greasy as his name. The interrogator constantly puts Cristo on the edge, and there’s a whole bunch of veiled threats and insinuations, though the (obviously) European bad guy seems to give up information rather easily.
At certain points, the film seems to act as a standard operating procedure document for US military operations. Woman with a gun? Shoot. Sleeping guy who’s a suspect? Shoot. Woman with baby? Don’t shoot.
Certainly, “Act of Valor” is a piece of propaganda that’s very well put together with first-rate production values and third-tier acting. The action scenes don’t have the gritty realism of “Black Hawk Down” and “The Hurt Locker”, and the film boldly struts out clichés, but besides the often questionable politics, it should appeal solidly to action film fans.