Act of Valor is an interesting little experiment of a film. The very things that make it awesome are also the same things that make it a bad as well.
It’s a film that feels equal parts action flick, documentary and Call of Duty: Black Ops (right down to the first person shooter view-point). Here’s what makes it equally awesome and terrible. All the leads are actual Navy Seals. That’s awesome, because all the things they do onscreen are then second nature to them, the way they move, the way they cover one another, they way they behave. The bad part is, none of them are actors, and that shows every time one of them opens their mouths.
I almost wish they could have been dubbed over, because the film is a wicked little action techno-thriller as the film follows the team from the rescue of an abducted CIA operative (Roselyn Sanchez) to stopping a giant multi-city terrorist attack.
It balances cutting edge technology, tactics, and weapons, and it’s obvious that these men, in actuality, are badasses – in the coolest way.
The camera-work is slick, innovative and engaging, and oft-times really makes the film feel more documentary-like than action movie. I do want to say I enjoyed it.
And I did.
Whenever there was no dialogue.
As soon as any of the Seals have dialogue, even mission related, it sounds too stilted and unemtional, and is jarring enough to kick one out of the movie.
But then there are moments when you get totally wrapped up in the film as well. The assault on the compound to rescue the CUA operative, who has been tortured and beaten (incredibly realistically I might add) is fantastic. The sniper waits until everyone is in position, including someone to catch a body before it can splash into the water, that is just sweet!
The escape from the compound is just as pulse-pounding as well, and all of it, apparently, is based loosely on actual incidents.
I do like the fact that they are real Seals, that means all the stunts and action sequences are as realistic as can be made, and that they did all of it themselves. Which is fantastic, and of course, adds to the realism of the film, but why, oh why, did the have to talk?
If you can get around the dialogue delivery, it’s not a bad watch at all, incredibly realistic, tense, and paying respect to those few and proud who are out there every day, and more often than not, we never, ever, hear about it…
Act of Valor is currently available on Netflix.