I’ve been watching a lot of movies lately, which means I was hard pressed to find one I wanted to see when my buddy called me up to go Thursday night. Given we’re both approaching 30, I didn’t think it’d be right to see something like The Lorax or The Vow, so we chose the manly movie out there that neither of us had seen, Act of Valor.
I wasn’t thrilled to see this war movie despite a decent trailer. I guess I somehow got it in my head that the film, which was shot with active-military soldiers in lead roles, would turn out to be nothing but a propaganda film. Simply put, I couldn’t have been further from the truth.
According to IMDb, the film is about: “An elite team of Navy SEALs embark on a covert mission to recover a kidnapped CIA agent.” While that’s certainly true, it’s set against the backdrop of global terror. The story wasn’t anything great, but it was entertaining and about what you’d expect from such a film.
What is great about the movie was the action, weapons and military realism. By using real Navy SEALs, the filmmakers managed to capture a realism that is usually lost when actors tackle military roles. The dialogue, movements, weapons, tactics, etc. screamed military, which proved more entertaining than I had anticipated.
Unfortunately, there was a cost to using real Navy SEALs, and that cost was the acting. Don’t get me wrong, when they were on duty and in the midst of fire, the “actors” did a tremendous job. They were soldiers, and it showed; consequently, it also showed in other scenes, namely when they’re socializing and chit chatting with one another. It wasn’t good acting to say the least and it showed at times, but the action soon painted over it.
In my opinion, that’s the appeal of Act of Valor. You’ve got real-life soldiers kicking ass on the big screen against terrorist. They’re professional, efficient and use top-of-the-line weaponry. In one part of the film, the team is being extracted by a pair of armored boats. The fight that ensues, which included an awe-inspiring amount of gunfire, was nothing less than amazing. These moments were placed precisely at the right time, given the film a nice flow and balance.
Now, I’m a big fan of the Call of Duty video games and I while watching Act of Valor, I couldn’t help but think it was essentially Call of Duty: The Movie. The studio wouldn’t have even needed to change a thing and I bet it would have satisfied fans of the game; in addition, I imagine it’d make a hell of a lot more at the box office.
Interestingly, AlexVeadov, who portrayed the villain “Christo” in the movie, has numerous video games voicing credits to his name, including a plethora of video games. Ironically, Call of Duty: Finest Hour, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and Call of Duty: Black Ops are among those credits.
My point is, Call of Duty is the best military-action game out there, and Act of Valor is its counterpart. If you like war movies filled with soldiers, weapons, gunfire, explosions, etc., then you’re going to enjoy this film. There was room for improvement, but overall I left the theater both pleased and impressed.
Buddies Forever Movie Club Rating: 65%
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