I Saw A Film Today… Act of Valor

In every review I have ever done, I have always started with an introduction. Until this moment I’ve never really pondered on why I have done this. But now sitting here without an introduction to this film, I now do. And I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s my way of having a dialogue with you, the reader. In the review, I am informer, voicing thoughts and opinions but never making a personal connection. The introduction is my way of connecting with you I guess. And now when I am lost on what to put in this introduction, I am revealing this to you. That’s why I do introductions, for the most part.

******

Summarizing this film would prove useless if you have glanced at an active television lately. The trailer has been relentlessly played on every commercial break for the past few weeks. And if you have seen one of these previews, you will get the gist of what the film is about.

But in case you haven’t a clue what I’m talking about then I’ll briefly fill you in. Two ‘merican hatin’ foreigners have come together to bring down the states by sneaking suicide bombers through underground tunnels from Mexico. But that’s not really important, because the real purpose of this film is guns and explosions, with a few scenes of hammy dialogue in between.

The biggest problem out of the numerous others is the real active duty U.S. Navy Seals in this film are not really allowed to be real. The dialogue and script in this film would give a b-list director reason to pass on it. I have no problem with fact that they don’t use actors to be the Seals. I just wish they would have allowed them to actually interact the way they interact.

The story isn’t original either. The entire film plays like levels in the Call of Duty series of video games. In fact, those who have played the Modern Warfare series will notice certain scenes resemble those from the first game. I’m not even going to sugar coat it: the directors stole certain elements from it. Why didn’t they just call it Call of Duty: No Truck Survives?

This isn’t the real problem with the story. It’s just so similar and unthrilling. The film would have benefited if they had skipped the unnecessary back story and just jumped right into the action, like in Battle: Los Angeles. The saving grace of Act of Valor was the final 45 minutes or so. This is the only time the action gets any sort of a jolt of excitement. And the final minutes of the movie are the only time any emotion is believable. Too late too soon? Almost.

The cast is nothing short of mediocre. The cast of Seals are given names but ultimately remain nameless. You know them by “that sniper guy” and “the soon to-be dad”. As I said earlier, the dialogue is forced. And the banter between them are false. They really can’t be blamed though. They’re not actors. But the actors are just about as effective. The two baddies are just stereotypes. The overconfident and extravagant middle man is the supplier. The strong, silent guy is the one who actually does all the work is the other. And the rest are just forgettable.

This film was originally slated to be a recruiting film to get young men to join the military. How this turned into a full-fledged Hollywood production is beyond me. It’s an action film now, one deep-fried in red, white, and blue juices and served with a side of apple pie. If that is your cup of tea, have at it then.

Verdict: RENT IT!

*Rated R for strong violence including some torture, and for language.

**Thank you to my cousin Scott for sharing this cinematic adventure with me.

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