“Act of Valor” | Movie Review

M 39 Navy SEALS are engaged in a personnel recovery mission in Relativity's Media's upcoming release, "Act of Valor". Credit: IATM LLC Copyright 2011 Relativity Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

Grade: (C+)

Casting real, active-duty Navy SEAL’s was a risky venture but with the action-sequences being a focal point and not the intricate dialogue, the intended message is delivered with a “Call of Duty” feel to an adrenaline filled military story loaded with patriotism.


A group of Navy SEAL’s are sent into South America to rescue a covert CIA agent that was kidnapped and in doing so discover a possible plan of coordinated attack against the U.S. In an instant the team is dispatched to track down two-targets and possible orchestrator’s. It will be a race against time as the team tries to catch up with the terrorists and stop the attacks saving the lives of millions of U.S. citizens.

My Thoughts

This was a solid military action film as far as I thought. Sure the acting was was tough to sit through at times, but the story still manages to evolve itself without ironically involving too many of the main characters in doing so. By advancing events in the story-line from random bases, aircraft carriers and military command posts for the most part, the main cast is left doing what they do best, engaging in enemy combat. Adding a small cast of actors to fill in the gaps makes the progression of the international story-line flow.

The action-sequences were excellent, the tension was high and the attacks were executed with precision strategy. The result was great onscreen military battles. The skilled communication via radio communications were well captured in this film and seemed to show a detail you don’t often find in military movies. It also boasted some cutting edge military technology, equipment and tactics with a high level of realism.

I really enjoyed the cinematography, the action was captured with a great eye using many eye-popping angles. There was a small use of slow-motion capturing to build bursts of added suspense and it fit great in the pace of the action, and did not once feel over done. The first-person camerawork was also a nice addition in my opinion as it gave a much more visual intensity to the close-quarter combat sequences. It sped up the action to a realistic level and enabled the SEAL’s to showcase their skill.

The pace of the film kept moving with the battle-sequences being frequent and the story-line progressed quickly, with the sacrifice being intricacy in the detail. There is no doubt the scenes between the actual Navy SEAL’s while not engaged in combat, was some examples of horrific acting. They come across as forced, highly generic and too cliche to take seriously, despite the serious tone of their conversations. To the SEAL’s credit, the writing was just about as bad as their acting performances. Bringing in individuals that have little acting experience as a focal point is a risky decision, but giving them the level of writing they had was a handicap in my opinion.

The writing felt slow and elementary, and regardless of the SEAL’s lack of acting abilities, the intelligence of the dialogue could have easily been elevated. With the material the script gave them to work with even the likes of Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio would have found it difficult to make solid performances out of it. Luckily the scenes are short and sweet, with only a small collection of them throughout, before the film dives back into the current operation the plot revolves around.

This film got kind of beaten up by the critics and sure there are things that keep it from being an excellent military action-drama, but it still delivered a decent amount of enjoyment and intrigue. The battle scenes and action is littered throughout the run-time and for that the pace is swift. Despite the barrage of cliches and the fact this films plot seemed to be lacking greatly in traditional script detail, it was still enough to not disappoint.