Surprisingly the entertainment experience in ACT OF VALOR is not even close to what is expected. If one has seen the trailer of ACT OF VALOR and also had read a few previews on some gossip magazine and also some sound reviews of critics about the movie it is hard not be excited. Active duty Navy SEALs in a motion picture that is ACT OF VALOR titled which is based on true life events is the ultimate movie. How often do you watch the news and then wish there is more footage of what took place behind the scenes. It does not get any better than this. Whilst the footage isn’t raw, the reenactment of it is the best on offer at its time. I went in with the mindset of a movie in the lines of MEN OF HONOR (Robert De Niro). I sit now to tell the readers that I am disappointed somewhat.
To be fair with my experience it is imperative that I share with our readers the greater moments in ACT OF VALOR. Being a fan of the video gaming world and being huge fan of BATTLEFIELD and MODERN WARFARE 2 the similarities in the cinematography from the point it is being shot cannot be ignored. The relevance of such camera angles only adds value to the realistic approach in film making by Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh.
Secondly the heart is indeed in the right place when the production house took on board active duty Navy SEALs on the cast. This element added in a much more valued angle into the combat sequences than any other movie I have seen in the recent past apart from THE HURT LOCKER (One cannot beat that movie yet). Certain sequences combined with the realistic atmosphere created by the heroes on and off screen triggered the exact emotional sensors in the audience that the directors were aiming for.
However……….. As the saying goes….. Well begun is half done?
Directors (Debut motion picture directorial) Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh fails to capitalize on the soundtrack. Consider Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Ridley Scott, Michael Bay (The King of OST) apart from great visionaries what do these men have in common in selling us their movies? Highly commercialized sound tracks that wake up the snoozing audience and attract them back in even to the lowest rated movies done by them. McCoy and Waugh overlook this and it is felt largely in terms of impact.
The next black mark is the ignorance of the brilliant screenplay. The most non complex way to explain what this critic felt would be this. Imagine your most favorite desert is laid in front of you and you got spoon in hand. All that you are allowed to have is one bite. You dig in however you miscalculated and managed just to graze the topping and it tasted so good that you regret you could not get a deeper go at the delicious dish. McCoy and Waugh are presented with a gem in terms of the screen play. They give it their best shot and excelled in doing what they did to it best. However again they missed the depth the screenplay aimed for. The characterization, the value of family bonds, the lives lost whose names are lost in the abyss of continuous battles fought. The celebration of life.
I have seen firsthand what war does to people. I come from an island that has been in the clenches of war for over 3 decades and I come from a family that has been attached to the military forces and I believe there is more than what meets the eye.
Lastly ACT OF VALOR ideally would have been greater in terms of success if it remained with the title ACT OF VALOR and stayed on mission. The attempt to bring in family ties and failing to capitalize on it capsizes a great movie somewhat.
ACT OF VALOR is a story of a unit of Navy SEALs whose friendship, bond of brotherhood extends beyond the uniform. The team is sent into eradicate a potential terrorist threat to American soil that would possibly take more American lives than 9/11. This is their story of heroism and the sacrifices made in the name of the motherland.
TITLE: ACT OF VALOR
DIRECTED BY: MIKE McCOY and SCOTT WAUGH
STARRING: LIEUTENANT RORKE, CHIEF DAVE, SO1 SONNY, SO1WEIMY, SO1 RAY, SO1MICKEY, SENIOR CHIEF OTTO, ADMIRAL CALLAGHAN, JASON COTTLE, ALEX VEADOV and ROSELYN SANCHEZ
RUNTIME: 110 Minutes