Were there explosions? Yes! Were there intense fire fights? Yes! But more importantly, there was a moving story about brotherhood, courage, and real-life heroism. ACT OF VALOR is much more than a Navy Seal propaganda film; it offers a rare glimpse into a lifestyle that most of us will never experience.
Directors Mike “Mouse” McCoy and Scott Waugh began the movie with prologue about their dedication to authenticity. It is here that you learn that most of the actors are real Navy SEALs and that the action sequences were highly choreographed, live ammunition shots. It is also at this point, that the passion and dedication to validity that these two men had while making this film is evident.
The storyline goes as most military-esque movies go. A Jihadist -Ukraine born terrorist Abul Shabal (Jason Cottle) begins a worldwide terrorist plot to smuggle suicide bombers into major US cities by bombing an International School in Indonesia. A CIA agent (Rosleyn Sanchez) in Costa Rica, who has discovered a link between the terrorist and an arms dealer (Alex Veadov) with advanced bomb technology that is virtually undetectable, is captured.
A SEAL team (Bandito Plantoon) is called upon to retrieve the captured agent and in doing so, discovers evidence about the terrorist plot. The movie follows the team’s deployments from Costa Rica to Ukraine to the middle of the Pacific ocean. Finally arriving in Mexico and dangerously close the US border, the team must stop the bombers before they use drug smuggling tunnels to enter the US.
Admittingly, it was not the acting prowess of the “untrained” actors that made this movie – the dialogue scenes were especially awkward. It is in the action scenes that you sense that the “actors” are not merely following a well written script but are instead executing years of training with a precision that rivals that of a neurosurgeon.
McCoy and Waugh do an exceptional job at delivering in-the-thick-of-it camera shots, making one believe that they are truly in the middle of the Costa Rican jungle engaging in a strategic operation turned all out gunfight. If video games are your thing, you will appreciate the Call of Duty like POV (point of view) shots used throughout the film. And if the knowledge that the ***spoiler alert*** submarine scene (an authenticate nuclear sub) was filmed in less time than it takes the average person to commute to work- due to the real-life sensitive nature of the sub’s mission- doesn’t amaze you, I am not sure what else will.
Bottom line, this film does not force feed the audience patriotism nor does it sensationalize war – you will not find Mission Impossible type explosion scenes here. Instead, it offers the opportunity to see what our nation’s elite forces categorize as a typical mission and the camaraderie that these men exhibit with their “brothers.” As if one would not have respect for these special men who put their lives in danger for us moviegoers, you will leave the theater with a glimpse into the world that few have seen and even fewer dare to speak of.
4 out of 5 bronze stars!