Act of Valor is interesting because it didn’t actually start out as a movie: originally, it was to be a documentary about Navy SEALS, and it then changed into a recruitment video. Finally, the directors had the idea of making it into an actual feature-length movie, which is what you will see in theaters. The Navy SEALs portrayed in the film are all active duty Navy SEALs in real life, as well, and although the acting may suffer because of this, the situations they find themselves in are all too familiar for them.
The film starts out with a kidnapping of two CIA agents by terrorists, who had blown up a device at an international children’s school that same week. The Navy SEALs are deployed to secure and stop the terrorists, and they find out that the terrorists are planning on smuggling immigrants into the U.S. via Mexico as suicide bombers. The immigrants will be wearing vests that are undetected by metal detectors, thus proving very dangerous, as they can get through any security system. The only lead the SEALs have is a man who has been working with the terrorists, and they corner him on his yacht in the ocean to try to get information out of him. They must find the immigrants and stop them from entering the U.S. before it is too late.
The actual SEALs in this film were listed in the credits, but are not listed in IMDb or anywhere else, most likely because they want to remain as anonymous as possible. The film was actually shot at a training facility, but some of the gunfire in it was real, and in some scenes you could definitely see this. There are also a few professional actors in the movie – Roselyn Sanchez (TV’s Without a Trace) played one of the kidnapped CIA agents, who was undercover, and Alex Veadov (Drag Me to Hell) played the man assisting the terrorists – but the rest of the cast consisted of the SEALs and their actual families. In a short clip played before the film, the directors spoke about a scene where the SEALs were saying goodbye to their (real) families before deployment, and how the (fake) tears actually turned into real ones, as their families have been in that position many times before.
Yes, see this film. Although the acting was not great (as SEALs aren’t professional actors), the situations and the action scenes in the movie were very good and very realistic. If this was a “normal” movie, I would say that the ending was a bit cliché and/or has been “done before,” but because the film was based on actual missions, that’s null and void. Act of Valor will make you realize how much the people who fight for our country and our safety sacrifice each day, and how they are never sure if each time they say goodbye to their family will actually be their last time seeing them.
Act of Valor is in theaters today, February 24th, and is rated R with a runtime of 101 minutes.
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5