Act Of Valour

Basing events on real life operations, the results are at times exciting, but at others rather awkward.

8th March 2012 in Act of Valour, Reviews / By Sam Faulkner / Rating: 2.5/5
Act Of Valour

Opening at a resounding number 1 in the US, Navy SEAL action thriller Act of Valour is now set for international release. Casting real life SEALS in the lead roles, and basing events on real life operations, the results are at times exciting, but at others rather awkward.

The casting of active duty special forces personnel is a bold move, and in the scenes in which they perform their day jobs, such as the briefings and action scenes, the non-professional actors actually bring an intriguingly natural edge to proceedings. Seeing these men in action, it is clear that they know exactly what they are doing, and it really is impressive to see battle sequences shot with such authenticity. Of course, in the few scenes which involve more emotional moments the performances falter, but this is hardly the fault of the personnel involved. We would like to make it clear at this point that we are in NO WAY criticising these extremely tough men and their acting abilities. Perhaps, though, a few more professional actors could have been sprinkled throughout the narrative sections of the film, in order to give them a little more gravitas.

The action is powerfully shot, with frequent cuts to Call of Duty first-person camera angles managing not to be too jarring, and capturing the intensity of modern conflict neatly. The films real strength most certainly lies in the high-octane battles, with a few air punching moments seeming only to miss the strains of the Team America theme tune to really complete them.

Unfortunately, therein lies the biggest problem that Act of Valour faces. We are presented with a very narrow view of war, and what could have been a real PR victory of the US armed forces, showing the humanity of the men behind the guns and the true horror of conflict becomes a borderline jingoistic exercise in flag-waving. It will be a huge surprise if this plays anywhere near as well outside the shores of the US, and the whole thing does smack of something of a missed opportunity in terms of the portrayal of post 9/11 global strife, coming as it does from a heavily subjective view.

There is no denying that Act of Valor is exciting when it does what it is best at, but in inserting a hastily stitched together plot and going for an ending which is designed to be a tearjerker, but is in fact so heavily telegraphed that you will know the exact ending within 5 minutes of the film beginning, it does fall strangely flat. A cinematic curio no doubt, but a real cut-scene of a film which will have you wanting to push “Start” and get to the first level of Call of Duty, in order to skip the boring talky bits.