This is true propaganda at its finest. Act of Valor is a film that makes one feel tough as nails and absolutely bad-to-the-bone; it's an adrenaline rush that takes the video-game experience of "Call of Duty" (or any other first-person shooter game) to the big-screen in a visually-stunning experience worth-while. What makes it propaganda is the fact that the movie feels like a recruitment video. If these were the intentions of Act of Valor, to show what these men go through to protect their country and make people aware, care, and want to be a part of that experience, then the film did an absolutely perfect job at accomplishing that. I went home and played "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" like a pro and probably had the best time on the video-game system in the longest time; no film has ever made me feel so badass in my life...so kudos to Act of Valor for giving me that sensation.
No matter how completely badass and visually-stunning the film is, Act of Valor still carries along many flaws that are hard to look away from. For starters, the seven Navy SEALs picked up to star can do just about anything except acting. They've got the look (obviously) of a SEAL, the heart, and the tactics, but the writers behind the movie really should have thought twice before they decided to grant them so many lines. Act of Valor would have been a much smoother, more awesome experience if the acting wasn't so awkward and stolid. Then again, you have to remember that these men aren't actors but are heroes and deserve the benefit of the doubt before being criticized for their performances. I figured that since they've already done so much for this country that thinking less of this film for their attempts at bringing a powerhouse performance would be wrong. Hell, for having absolutely no experience in the acting business I can say that I've certainly seen worse from "real" actors.
Some performances in the film aren't nearly all that terrible, however. Two or three of the performances here are given from real actors; it's only the SEAL team that were actually unqualified to star in a film. Those real actors however bring it to the screen as best as they can, especially from a character named Christo played by Alex Veadov. Veadov's performance as a witty terrorist is strong and I didn't notice how great the performance actually was until one scene in particular, somewhere close to the ending. The scene takes place on the character's boat where he is forced into an interrogation with an American agent. All crumbles for the Americans when Christo reveals a plan that is said to be "a walk in the park compared to 9/11". This is the strongest, most intense scene in the entire film, and all credit goes to Veadov's sickening character development. Other than his performance, like I already mentioned, the acting in the film is just awkward and not something you should think too much about.
Act of Valor gets its message across as perfectly as planned. The film wasn't made to tell a storyline worth remembering, but it was instead made to make people aware of the people who risk their lives every day to protect our country. Act of Valor is a dedication film, one that is supposed to say thank-you to all the military men and woman who have served our country since September 11th. Instead of cooking up a storyline that would go in the books for war-film history, the goal for this movie was to just show the different tasks and dangers that SEALs would go through in their everyday lives. The film does its best at creating a storyline for some sake, but it isn't anything spectacular. What make the film spectacular are the visually-stunning action-sequences that show us the true dangers that these people face; instantly, our respect is given to them, if not already, thanks to the work done on this film.
Thanks for the read!
-Written by Corey Wood