“Act of Valor” gives great action, poor performances

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"Act of Valor" movie poster.

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"Act of Valor" movie poster.

By James Teutschmann

“Act of Valor” is an action-packed military movie. Active-duty Navy SEALs were cast, becoming the major draw to bring in customers. This is unique since real soldiers have not had major roles in past movies. The action scenes were impressive and did not get tiring to watch, but the lack of acting and lack of strong plot began to wear me out. Unfortunately, without the fight scenes, there would be no movie.

The movie begins with the SEALs on a mission in a jungle to rescue a kidnapped CIA agent. The mission however, reveals something much bigger. A plot emerges to smuggle bombs into the United States, sending the SEALs to the other side of the world to stop it.
In between action scenes, I tended to get bored as the acting from the SEALS was not the best. Sometimes it seemed as if they were tying too hard to sound like actors rather than military soldiers. It seemed tense, as if they were afraid to make a mistake. But my expectations for acting were not very high to begin with. However, the use of real SEALS and ammunition give the movie a higher sense of realism throughout the entire movie. The action is fast paced and real. The audience may get caught up in the typical military lingo, such as “gone down range,” meaning any forward-deployed area of operations, but even that strengthens the movie’s authenticity as a whole.

The quality of camera work at times was iffy. The shaky angles can easily tire your eyes. During fight scenes they would occasionally revert to first person, which reminded me of playing “Call of Duty.” At first I thought that this was a cool and unique camera angle. I don’t know if there is a movie that has utilized first person as a camera angle, especially during a fight scene. But the overuse began to get slightly annoying, especially during the climax of the movie.

For the most part, I enjoyed this movie. The obvious bond and mutual respect that each SEAL has for each other connected the movie and overshadowed the boring parts. The quality of the fight scenes also surpassed my expectations, and it is apparent that they are in the military and know what they’re doing. They flow together as one, and their movements are spot on. The shots from the weapons sounded as if I was there and didn’t have the hollow sound, like shooting blanks, which most movies use.

Although this movie will probably never become a classic, the authenticity and use of real SEALs makes me want to watch it again. If you enjoy great action, this is the movie for you. If plot and character development is important, then look elsewhere.