The Reel Deal: “Act of Valor”

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Seth Childers
Seth Childers

by Seth Childers

The life of a soldier is not an easy one – a dangerous line of work that constantly puts their lives on the line. Yet in today’s society, most of us don’t quite grasp just how serious and dangerous being a soldier is. Act of Valor promises to change all of that by giving the audience the eyes and ears of real U.S. Navy Seals to make the combat feel more authentic.

While the directors did succeed in creating action set-pieces that are both realistic and thrilling, the movie itself is generally poorly-acted, poorly-written, and overall lacking in depth and originality. The directors’ intentions were noble but ultimately the movie as a whole is frustratingly inconsistent and a bit flat.

The movie focuses on a group of eight U.S. Navy Seals who are tasked with rescuing a kidnapped CIA officer. When they rescue her they discover that she has information about a major terrorist attack that could threaten the United States. The movie has noble intentions and tries very hard to tell an emotional story with dramatic weight, but unfortunately everything about the story is very flawed.

One of the most notable problems is the acting – particularly the Seals themselves. They are clearly not professional actors and all of their line deliveries fall flat and carry little to no emotional weight. Making things worse is the stilted and clichéd dialogue which is seemingly borrowed from every war movie ever made.

The story also lacks in originality and depth. The narrative of Act of Valor is barely passable as a TV episode or a video game, but as a movie it is lacking. The events are extremely predictable, and the drama is forced and unconvincing thanks to the weak script and acting.

The main focus of the movie is on its action scenes, and it shows. As bad as the dramatic moments are in Act of Valor, the action is intense and realistic. The action scenes are where having real U.S. Navy Seals in the lead roles really pays off and thanks to the great scenarios and almost complete lack of CG, it feels almost like the real thing.

 Unfortunately, the action alone is not enough to carry the movie. The acting is so wooden and the direction so poor that I never wound up truly caring for the characters leaving it as a frustratingly inconsistent movie that falls a bit flat like “Red Tails.” The movie has good intentions and tries to tell a deep story, but it has neither the depth nor the dramatic weight to do the U.S. Navy Seals justice.

Rating: 4/10 (Below Average)