Review: Act of Valor


In 2007, directors Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh of the Bandito Brothers production company filmed a video for the Special Warfare Combatant craft crewmen. This project eventually grew into something much bigger for the two directors.

Together with Kurt Johnstad, a script was developed and the directors decided regular actors would not be suitable to perform the tasks the script required of its characters. With the permission of the Navy as a way to recruit SEALS, the SEALs originally acting as advisers were drafted to execute the action sequences in the film, while remaining anonymous for what I am guessing would be for security reasons.

The film starts off with the viewers getting to know a little about the platoon that we will be following for the remainder of the film. The exposition of the characters is not long winded. The majority of the members of the outfit have been together for a number of years and have done several tours together on missions and are the best of the best. They are close and the viewer learns that Lt. Rorke is soon to be a father — and that is pretty much the extent of getting to know the soldiers as participants of the regular day to day life.

When CIA operative Walter Ross (Nestor Serrano) is killed and Lisa Morales (Roselyn Sanchez) is kidnapped, the Bandito Platoon is deployed to rescue her leading to the discovery of a terrorist plot that splits the platoon to pursue different leads that spans the globe. As each mission is completed, a new piece of intelligence reveals another twist to the plot that could kill and wound thousands of American civilians stretching from Chechnya to the Philippines and from Ukraine to Somalia and ultimately ending at the U.S.-Mexico border.

From the moment the platoon is dispatched, there is one heart-pumping action sequence after another until the final firefight at the U.S.-Mexico border. If you’re familiar with first person shooting games such as “Battlefield,” “Call of Duty: World at War” or any of its successors, the viewing experience of the film will be very similar. The use of cameras on the SEALs’ helmets gives the impression that the viewers themselves are on the missions with the soldiers and experiencing everything as it happens.

For me, the experience was much like sitting in the same room with my husband as he plays his video games, but at the same time, the real humans on the screen changed the meaning of the movie for me. As the plot continued, it had me thinking constantly that our lives may have possibly been saved from an event like this. Unknown weapons to the civilian world are being intercepted on a daily basis and the men and women of the special armed forces units are placing their lives in danger every day made me appreciate this film more.

During the opening credits, we’re told that the events in the film are based on true events — which makes this film more gripping. The acting may have been a little stiff, but the knowledge that the majority of the SEALs in the film are in fact SEALs allows them a pass on the acting. These are not actors hired to act as though they were SEALs and the need to pull off stunts and action sequences convincingly, but honest to goodness men and women who do this job for a living and their own lives depend on the outcome of each mission. In the end, you may need a tissue — or napkin if that is more accessible in a movie theater.

“Actor of Valor” is in theaters now.

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2 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Canucklehead #


  2. Cherrybell #

    In a way it was. The Navy was originally just filming a video for the Special Warfare Combatant craft crewman which the Navy was going to use anyhow. I guess you could say it turned out well for the Navy.