Although the film stumbles during the dialogue scenes and the plot seems very familiar, Act of Valor entertains thanks to its incredible action sequences and the level of authenticity that is captured on the screen.
Marketed around the fact the film features actual active duty Navy SEALs, Act of Valor was directed by Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh from a screenplay by Kurt Johnstad. It stars Jason Cottle, Nestor Serrano, Ailsa Marshall, Gonzalo Menendez, Emilio Rivera, Dimiter D. Marinov, Thomas Rosales Jr., Marc Margulies, Dan Southworth, Drea Castro, Marissa Labog, Alex Veadov and Roselyn Sanchez.
The film’s plot is fairly straight forward and follows a SEAL team as they hunt down a terrorist before he has a chance to launch an attack on American soil. The film sees the SEAL team in action in a variety of locations and with different scenarios.
In addition to the various action sequences, the film takes the time to show the lives and family the SEAL members leave behind each time they are called to duty and the ultimate sacrifice many members make to keep the nation safe.
Although these scenes suffer from somewhat stiff acting and less than great dialogue, they give the movie its heart and help you care about the SEAL team when they go into action. They also help put a face on the SEAL members – while showing why they signed up for the kind of danger being a SEAL puts them in.
The film kicks off with a terrorist attack that leaves a U.S. Ambassador dead. It then jumps to an undercover CIA agent who is taken prisoner by an arms dealer with ties to the terrorist responsible for the bombing. The audience is then introduced to the SEAL team as the members have a beach party with their wives and kids.
After a quick goodbye to their families, the SEALs are thrown into a rescue mission without the best intelligence on what they are facing and greatly out-numbered by the bad guys. The film follows the team as they track down lead after lead inching closer to the terrorist with every action sequence.
Act of Valor is a great action film and features an extremely authentic look, production design, and camera work. At times, it is like watching a documentary and the quieter moments of the film helps the film’s pacing from becoming too much.
It does start to feel like one big action sequence after the next, but McCoy and Waugh make the most of having active duty SEALs to keep the audience glued to the firefights and explosions.
The film looks incredible on Blu-ray mixing a smooth gloss of the Seals’ high-tech equipment with a dirt and grit of the action sequences. The audio puts you right in the middle of the firefights, but I had a little bit of trouble understanding some of the dialogue between SEAL members.
The Blu-ray also comes loaded with special features that take you into the making of the movie, how it came to be, and how they went about getting it from the script to the screen. There are also interviews with the SEAL members where they talk about why they wanted to be part of the movie. The bonus material also includes commentary and a music video from Keith Urban.
While Act of Valor has some problems as a film (mostly in the moments of dialogue), it is worth taking the time to watch thanks to the incredible action sequences and the peek into the lives of the SEAL team.
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