Act Of Valor

Lock and load,

Stay on point with review #5: ACT OF VALOR

A hard hitting, visceral portrayal of active duty Navy Seals performing precisely how you’d expect them to. Just like any tactical  strategy, this film has its strengths and weaknesses.

The action follows SEAL TEAM 7, as one mission quickly leads to another in the pursuit of international terrorists. Lisa Morales (Roselyn Sanchez) is a local nurse in a small Columbian town who is leaking information to American intelligence agencies, and is subsequently abducted. Thus initializing a rescue mission that spans the globe, and reveals a heinous plot constructed by Muslim radicals. This film was incredibly entertaining, but the reasons weren’t always good. This one wound up with three stars.

Who made it to roll call:

1. Visual: When it comes to stimulating your eyes, this movie is virtually bulletproof. Despite some cheesy, emotion injected scenes in the exposition, the entire film continually explodes and excites. Inventive first person perspectives firmly place the audience in the middle of the action as the SEAL team kicks down doors, does high altitude  skydives, and demolishes everything in their path. Shot variation is well implemented, and the pacing of said variation maintains a perfect tempo, keeping everyone well engrossed in the action, but not overwhelmed or bored. Grandiose aerial angles from Somalia to Mexico enhance the experience, and deliver a full star for visual.

2. Audio: As per usual in action films, the integrity of the audio lives or dies in sound effects. This movie held it’s own by providing realistic sounds, but failed in the music department by repeating one instrumental song the entire show. The credits also have one song, creating a substansial desire for tone and depth throughout. The sound effects themselves were adequate and numerous, and most of the credit in the audio category belongs to intricate mixing that enabled the audience to experience the expansive range of sounds, without drowning out the necessary roughness of the environment. Audio stays afloat with a half a star.

3. Effects: Intense mission sequences are amplified by creative dispersal of special effects in this movie. During location changes, or during the climax of most missions, the computer generated graphics resemble a video game, and assist the audience participation by directing the eye. Explosions, headshots, and a seemingly unlimited amount of bullets fired elevate the action, and are very believable. Transitions between characters during action scenes are also a tastefull addition to the film, earning another full star for action.

4. Acting: The choice to use active duty Navy SEALS in this movie was a trade off. On the one hand, the tactical scenes were executed proficiently because of this choice. Dynamic door entry procedures, team and squad tactics, and glorious skydiving routines looked immaculate because of the use of SEALS as actors. The acting, however, greatly suffered due to an obvious lack of experience. Most characters’ lines came across as tense, and the delivery lacked real human reaction and emotive impact. The introduction scenes were unneccesary, and the film would have done better to have more action with less dialogue. No stars awarded in the acting category.

5. Story: The audience has seen this dance before. The Muslim is embarking on his Jihad and cannot be stopped. Even worse, he intends to meet his maker on U.S. soil. In addition to this, his devotion and focus convince others to adhere to his cause. The Navy SEALS cannot allow this to happen, and even though the story sounds somewhat familiar, the order in which the dominos fall is subtly rearranged, maintaining tension in the film. The story maintains a half a star for creativity.

All in all this movie isn’t terrible. It maintains merit with stunning visuals but sacrifices story and acting for bristling tactical impact. If you are a huge fan of the SEALS and what they do, a theatrical viewing is reccomended. All others would do well to save it for a rainy day. My favorite part is when the boat gunners keep their enemies head down with the GAU-17/A minigun, get some!

Thanks as always to anyone who stumbles upon my humble review. Comments, suggestions, and questions are encouraged. Coming soon is a review of THE ARTIST , stay tuned!

-Neal

IMDB Info available here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1591479

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