Movie Comments – Act Of Valor

The required US legal disclaimer: All images are the property of their owners I reproduce them here under the Fair Use Doctrine of the copyright law for commentary and critique

The required US legal disclaimer: All images are the property of their owners I reproduce them here under the Fair Use Doctrine of the copyright law for commentary and critique

I always have a hard time answering the question “What’s your favorite movie?” I mean really can you compare a comedy to a historic drama to a noir to a novel adaption of a genre work? No because what is a good point in one might be a weak point in another. If I think say Elizabeth I’s coronation was hysterical in a historic drama it has failed but in a comedy it has succeeded. So my answer is “Depends on the type of movie.” This one wouldn’t my top list of any genre but it is good for what it is.

I know I’m a huge fan of story but sometimes I go to a movie for the visual – the special effect and/or the action. That’s where Act of Valor falls. The plot is there but it’s thin and developed to tie together various types of action in various types of terrain and conditions. The acting is stiff and not even high quality by high school standards. Yet it was awesome for what it is – a movie of real Seal teams showing the cool stuff they can do.

Yep that’s what it is. A big ooohhh-rahhh action movie of here’s how we do a jungle attack. Here’s how we do a city extraction. Here’s how we’d attack a compound (uh any fairly recent events come to mind?). It’s shouting, explosions, shooting, verification procedures that who you got is who you were sent to get. You know those questions in your file about obscure facts from your life that only you’d know – that’s what they are for. The rescue team gets the answers and uses them to verify you are you.

I found the movie fun. The poignant moment of a funeral was hard because the uniforms are ones I know too well. The SEAL team is Navy after all. Still I had the bonus of having someone who had real world experience working with teams like this. No Mike was never on these teams but yes he did have a senior officer position in many exercises and during the year plus he was activated. So he can explain some of the great nuances like the questions asked the hostage they freed (M’mam I hate to make you answer but what was your dog’s name when you were in first grade?) It’s quick and over and if you caught it you might think – what the heck was he asking her that right then? Shouldn’t they be hauling ass outta there? I think Mike’s commentary made it better and made me appreciate the slower scenes of tactical planning and information sharing.

Don’t come to this movie for a story. Don’t come to this movie for award winning acting. Come to this movie to see what our forces can do. Come to this movie to appreciate what these family give so that our forces can answer the call. Come to this movie to see what planning goes into taking action. And by all means come to this movie to see action, tonnes of it, in spades. If those things don’t appeal to you – then this movie isn’t for you.

Until next time!

2 thoughts on “Movie Comments – Act Of Valor

    • Well Hollywood didn’t to the action scenes – the SEAL teams did. They even used live rounds in some scenes so the foliage would respond realistically. As Mike said this was good practice for teams that primarily have work experience in either high mountains or desert to do a realistic tropical exercise with water. He pointed out that the current actions have gone on so long that we have Navy SEAL teams that have never done water operations out of practice scenarios like these. The characters are played by real Navy SEALS retired or on leave. The movie took so long to make because the producers had to film at the teams pace when they did practice maneuvers and when the active duty “actors” were on leave. Most of the active duty members kept their faces covered (much like undercover cops do in interviews) and the retired ones didn’t. So it’s an accurate but not overly revealing look into a very unique world of highly trained ops teams.

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