I’ve watched them all. From Platoon, Hamburger Hill, Brothers, Black Hawk Down and even Tropic Thunder, I’ve watched every war movie and tactical tv show I could find. None had this kind of impact.
Real Navy SEALs on the screen creates an amazingly close connection with the characters. Unlike movies that require minutes of building a bond, the realization these people are real let’s you jump immediately into worrying about impending doom. The movie is called Act of Valor, and if you have watched any of the trailers, you know this isn’t about being accepted through the rigors of hard training exercises.
The acting of the real-life Navy SEALs is balanced by a few placements of actors and actresses. It allows a story to develop without spending too much time getting there. Plus, the desire to point out all of the SEALs skill takes you across the globe and you eventually stop following the connection anyway. The mix of actors also works to provide something more palatable to view as the SEALs make a heroic effort at acting and the writers kept a lot of their scenes to ‘military talk’.
But the combination of live shots mixed with static scenes adds so much to this movie. Though at times you feel like you’re in a video game (hint hint), you realize how much is happening at any given time in the real world for these warriors. While it’s hard for any camera to capture the amount of activity in a battle scenario, the way the scenes are recorded seem to provide the concept without seeing everything.
Like the military GPS used to provide the location of the battles, the movie does lean on some of the classic genre tools; however, they aren’t too invasive as you generally focus on the oncoming action. Also smartly done, was the minimal use of music. The low bass thump on a HALO jump highlights both the risk of the jump and the importance of successfully completing the mission without turning into Jay-Z’s newest hit single.
These men are warriors. This movie portrays that without the slightest sense of glossing over it. It shows how these men steps directly into the line of fire and how so much of our military is used to support their actions and how brave those men and women are also. Go to this movie, and if your son or daughter can take the violence, take them too. Then have a long discussion about what people in the military do for us daily. Man, I’m feeling patriotic right now!
You Time – B+
She Time – C+
We’ll be honest, it’s still a war drama but without the acting.
They Time – B-
This is spotty. There’s a lot of killing in this movie. But if they can, this is a great discussion starter. Plus kids aren't worried about the acting anyway, you've watched the Disney Channel, you know what I mean.