Review: An 'Act Of Valor' Without Propaganda Or Political Glorification
I remember the first time I became aware of Act of Valor. I was skimming through my Flixster app on my phone and BOOM - the film's poster and title stood out without much information other than some credits and its release date. I wasn't really taken by it, so I moved on. As days went on, it kept coming up and I even recall someone referring to it as the "Call of Duty" movie.
I respect every man, woman, and child on this big blue marble we share, but I also respect myself and views. Therefore being one who's as anti-war as it comes (due to my own dictatorship) I kept shrugging it off. Many may argue war is a "necessary evil." I will stand firm, disagree till my dying day and pretty much continue with my personal views on war, politics, religion and everything else in between.
As months closed in and I read more into the flick it became apparent that perhaps it presented the American public with war-based propaganda, but it seemed like a bit of an experiment considering the cast consists of real-life Navy SEALs. That angle stood out.
After turning down two screening offers, I finally took the third. I didn't know what I was getting myself into and initially felt it would be propaganda for war mongers in disguise as an "action flick." While strong elements of action are heavily plastered all over the film, I'm going to utilize my manhood a/k/a BALLS to say I was completely wrong on having accused it of one thing; on the flipside it was totally different.
Like HBO's original series "Generation Kill" (which I also watched under protest, however it was recommended by a close friend of mine), "Act of Valor" presents a sample of true acts of valor, but NEVER glorifies war and/or politics in any way, shape or form. Neutral to its core, respectful towards ALL mankind, it's a unique look at what it is like while on a mission.
The film starts off with an infomercial as directors Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh discuss how they shot the film and why they chose active duty Navy SEALs as the leads. This caused a bit of a "Tsk" from me - especially when some narration from an unseen character is speaking in a monotone-like way which was a bit of a yawn. However, once the voice disappears (it comes in and out through the film), the plot starts to unfurl and something happened where my downer attitude converted into intrigue.
The filmmakers throw the names of the various SEAL team members in a pretty cool way using onscreen graphics that feel like a videogame. It's tough to keep track of their names, but the plot centers on the two team leaders, one of which is about to have his first child. There's a nice moment where the team spends their last night with their families at a beach before heading out the next day. Their mission is to rescue an undercover intelligence operative played by a very cute Roselyn Sanchez whose cover has been blown and is being held hostage at a compound in Costa Rica.
What transpires between the capture of Sanchez's character is mind-blowing!
I know what you're thinking - routine in/out snatch/grab job. Well, yes and no. There's more to this particular act as the entire mission has crazy results that leads to more than Navy SEALs doing their job. Intel informs them they will encounter heavy resistance, therefore they need back-up in speed-like boats along the river. And that leads to some of the craziest action-based tactics I've ever seen in film.
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