Act of Valor

Anyone else get the “this is going to be bad” feeling? The trailers don’t seem to show anything other than action footage. The directors are only previously known for commercial-type work. The writer hasn’t done much before but at least got a credit on 300. No actors of any prominence at all. Seemingly the only thing “going for it” is the involvement of active duty Navy SEALs which might lend some authenticity to the combat scenes (not sure why more than ex-SEALs) but is hardly going to carry an entire movie.

And yet I see commercials for this coming release daily. Any chance this is more than a movie-length propaganda commercial?


I haven’t heard or seen anything about it. I don’t watch much TV, though.

Well, this is the official site, but it actually shows some more plot that seems like it may be better than I’ve been thinking. While looking for trailers, I found a couple of the two minutes plus variety that also show some plot that don’t seem so bad. But this is the 30 second commercial I keep seeing on TV that keeps me thinking this movie has nothing to offer but action scenes.

Maybe I’m too cynical.

Your point being…?

Not sure really. It seems to be getting the kind of marketing that a major Hollywood movie would get, but nothing in particular to back it up. Transformers was nothing but action scenes, but the special effects and big-name actors were a draw. This movie has…?

Maybe I just want to go on record as calling the bad marketing up front.

I saw one commercial with a little bit more dialog and let’s just say that it was clear that they weren’t professional actors. They’re probably just putting their best foot forward in the ads.

Doubtful. I still kinda want to see it, though.

Amateur performers. A focus on action over story. Appeals to our baser instincts.

Sounds like porn.

War porn instead of sex porn, but porn nonetheless.

Maybe my expectations were super low, but I saw a trailer for it before Sherlock Holmes (or maybe Mission Impossible or some other movie, this was a month ago) and thought it looked like it might be good for what it is. It was obvious it wasn’t a super huge budget movie like Transformers or something, but it didn’t look that obviously low budget. And I read a review somewhere that said the plot definitely had the soldier cliches, but that none of the actors embarrassed themselves too badly and worked pretty well with the dialogue they were given. I don’t know if I’d go out of my way to see it, but if I had friends interested in going I would definitely tag along.

So I got around to seeing this and…it wasn’t too bad. The use of non-actors made for quite a few awkward scenes, so I understand leaving them out of commercials, but it wasn’t unwatchable. As a military enthusiast-but-not-fetishist, I was impressed by the action scenes. The heavy involvement of real military gave it a higher production value and authenticity than it probably would have otherwise garnered.

Plot-wise, though, it was pretty much your typical cliche-ridden pro-military anti-terrorism porn. Paper-thin characters, Americans good, foreigners bad (with the exception of some token Mexican federales), good guys shoot awesome and take token casualties, bad guys can’t shoot worth a damn and die all over the place, innocents are never caught in crossfire or explosions, there’s a noble sacrifice near the end, and all ends well thanks to the sacrifice of our brave men in uniform. Nuance is nowhere to be found.

Not a great piece of film-making, but, if you’re interested in this kind of thing, you won’t be disappointed.

You expected nuance in something that started life as a Navy recruiting film?