Act of Valor was directed by Mike McCoy (who also produced the film) and Scott Waugh. Mike spent time as a director on two other movies before this one. Most of the credits to Scott Waugh’s name are for stunt work. The lead characters are portrayed by a group of active duty Navy SEALs. These men are not actors. That said, this is an extremely watchable movie. It rises above entertainment and is truly a patriotic symbol for our armed forces. Let me be frank, this movie is made for anyone that serves or continues to serve in the armed forces, anyone that has family and friends in the military, and any of the millions that love the Call of Dutyvideo game franchise, but want the story to be meaningful.
The acting by the SEALs is exactly what you would expect from people that are untrained. This might sound like a slight knock against the film, but it is simply the reality that you need to have going in. That said, I was captivated by what these men do for their country and the kind of sacrifice that their families make. The supporting actors in this film are quite good and have no issue carrying in that department, and supporting the plot.
The plot follows the SEAL team as they rescue an undercover captured CIA agent. They learn that the smuggler the CIA was spying on is funding a terrorist. They spend the remainder of the film going on various missions to gain information and end the terrorist threat. It sounds simple enough, and it is. It takes a back seat to the actions of these men. And make no mistake; there is great action in this film.
Parts of the action use first person shooter type camera work. This allows the viewer to compress their view and believe in what they are seeing. You are much less omniscient than in other films. Danger lurks around every corner and consequence is carried by every foot step. This is the real deal. This is as close to what most of us will ever get to understanding what our armed servicemen and women go through for us. I fully expect enlistment in the arm forces to rise due to this film being made. Parts of this film include live fire by the SEAL squad and are as absolutely amazing as it sounds. To add to this some of the scenes (including the use of a US submarine) were shot with limited takes and windows as small as twenty minutes.
As the film ended, I was left with a sense of pride and great comfort being able to live in a country where men and women are willing to put their lives on the line for freedom. Please do yourself a huge favor and see this film. It will allow you to put into perspective your daily work life, and remind you of what real sacrifice looks like, and there are a select few that are willing and able to meet the challenge. Again if you know and support your military, then see this movie. If you are one of the millions of avid Call of Duty gamers out there, then you should also see this movie. It will not disappoint.
I give Act of Valor 5 “Stars” out of 5.
by Chris Murr