Valorous Acts Leave Behind Crying Hearts and Fallen ExpectationsThursday, May 03, 2012 By Sean Person
When “Act of Valor” trailers first appeared online and in commercials, critics brushed it off as just another mindless action movie. In all truth, this Navy SEAL’s inspired film, directed by Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh, tried to live up to a movie with a true, heartfelt storyline, and narrowly missed its mark. It had great potential, but could not follow up when the bullets stopped flying. The co-directors of the film set out to make one of the most realistic and authentic war movies ever filmed. They even went to the extent of casting real Navy SEAL’s to film the movie between missions. However, the storyline the movie tried to follow was lacking. One can’t expect a highly trained soldier, who has seen real combat, to be able to perform anything besides action sequences, and this shows time and time again throughout the movie. Following the opening credits, the audience is introduced to an elite, well trained squad of Navy SEAL’s about to ship out on a daring rescue mission to save a captured CIA operative. In the process, they uncover a terrifying threat to the U.S.; a Chechen terrorist group has a plan in motion to get a large group of suicide bombers into several major U.S. cities. The squad then follows up this rescue mission with several other heart pounding, globe-hopping missions in an effort to bring down this great terrorist threat. Sprinkled between action sequences and firefights are several attempts at connecting to the characters. Scenes like taking a look at their home lives by meeting their families, having a casual beer around a fire on the beach, and seeing the tears of a military wife as her husband leaves for yet another deployment. It is during these supposed heartfelt scenes where the lack of acting ability within the cast of real SEAL’s is seen. A soldier is a soldier, a man trained for war; a man trained to do what is necessary to protect his family and his home when called upon. A SEAL is not an actor. These SEAL’s, though probably feeling the emotions they tried to portray on several occasions, are not actors who spend their lives learning how to make the audience feel the sadness of their characters emotions. During some of these scenes, the SEAL’s voices are almost monotone, as if they were just trying to get through the script rather than convey actual emotion. Casting these soldiers is a great play for realism, and their effectiveness of displaying gritty, down and dirty firefights is impressive, but they are just not the actors that the soft scenes of this movie needed. The single time where having these soldiers on the cast for a softer scene can only be seen in the final moments of the movie, where an actor cannot convey the level of brotherhood required by the ending of the movie. The entire movie is hit and miss. Most of the film is filled with firefights and action sequences, which, in quality, cannot be topped by having the SEAL’s on the cast. These scenes are very well done and incredibly convincing, but scenes that should shed a tear from the audience lack in their ability to do so. If an action movie is why you came to see this film, you’ll be pleased, but if storyline is what was desired, this movie just doesn’t hold up.