“Act of Valor” – Review by FilmWizard Marsh

Do you ever wonder who helps keep America a safe and “perfect” place from terrorist threats and acts that may come our way? If you ask both adults and kids, they will say the army and the soldiers. However the difference between an adult and a kid is that kids only see these adults, sometimes even their parents, as people trying to save the world and be heroes. Adults and teenagers 12-18 especially know that there is more bloodshed that you want to think about, as well as they fear that they may never see their recruited loved one again. Sometimes kids in the 12-18 range forget about all of the emotion and just enjoy killing others in the ‘Call of Duty’ games. With ‘Act of Valor,’ audiences don’t just get a war movie, they get an experience.

Unlike typical war films like ‘Red Tails‘ and ‘Battle: Los Angeles,’ ‘Act of Valor’ takes us into the world of a group of real life U.S. Navy Seals attempting to stop a terrorist act from pulling through. What is so unique about the movie is that first time directors Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh decided to use real active duty U.S. Navy Seals to be in the film, with the added factor of no major celebrities being in the film as well. This is one of the boldest film projects to have been made in the past couple of years, and the final result is intense, heartbreaking, and pretty great. ‘Act of Valor’ is a very well done war movie that moviegoers should be seeking out this weekend.

Because the actors in the film are the real U.S. Navy Seals, the performances weren’t the highest in quality. In fact, they kind of sucked. However if you’re going to bash on this movie just for the actors solely, then I say shame on you, because these guys aren’t even professional actors to begin with. The movie was made to show the emotion and tension that goes along with war, and I believe that that mission has been accomplished. You see the soldiers spending last nights with their families, as well as the moments where the soldiers say goodbye, realizing that they may never see their loved ones again. The emotions can get even higher when you see these brave men in combat. The action sequences performed by the soldiers are absolutely spectacular. Not only do they engage you into the action, but they also let you see exactly what a Seal is seeing. It was kind of like watching a first person shooting game go down on a huge movie screen. However unlike a video game, the injuries and gore in this movie look very realistic. If there is any given reason to actually see this movie, it’s for the action sequences. If you can get over the crappy acting done by the soldiers, then the action scenes will unquestionably take your breath away.

I have a feeling that ‘Act of Valor’ will surprise the audiences who are brave to check this movie out. This is going to be that hidden gem that people ignore until DVD where the true experience should be in a theater. Sure the acting isn’t the best it could be with professional men and women, but that doesn’t matter here because there is both a compelling story based on real life events that have happened to the Seals before, as well as some of the most spectacular action sequences you will see all year. Directors Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh really know how to bring you into the action and heartbreak in the lives of these brave men of the U.S. Even though they aren’t the greatest of actors, the U.S. Navy Seals are great heroes to root for throughout the movie, and that’s not just because we live in America.

Whether you know someone who is in the Army or you have sat in front of a TV shooting virtual terrorists, this movie will make you feel the pain that these families go through on a daily basis. The whole “actors are real U.S. Navy Seals” promotional campaign may be gimmicky, but once you sit down with your popcorn and soda in hand, you are in for quite an experience. I bet that I won’t remember ‘Act of Valor’ very well by the end of the year. Having said that, I can say now that this is a well done, action packed, heartbreaking war movie. Check it out if you can, because odds are this will be booted out of theaters in the next few weeks.

3 ½ out of 4 


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