Act of Valor: Movie Review

"Act of Valor" is not a bad film but neither is it good. What you get is a mixed bag of lifeless and dull characters mixed in a rehashed terrorist plot with a heavy dose of hands-on action. In essence, "Act of Valor" feels like a "Call of Duty" game and the first-person perspective adds more to our sentiments. And like a video game, the story and characters take a backseat while the action takes center stage. That's not a bad thing at all but when you consider that the film touts to be a deep reflection of what it likes to be a soldier and the patriotism it entails, the film flounders to capture any emotion or connection to those two things. That in itself is a measure of total failure.

When the U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines is killed in a bomb blast and a CIA agent is kidnapped in Costa Rica, the members of SEAL Team Seven are called upon to exfiltrate the CIA operative. When the mission proves to be successful, they discover that the terrorist Abu Shabal is planning to bomb America - the exact details of the terror plan still unknown. Now, SEAL Team Seven is tasked to find and stop Abu Shabal at all costs.

If we can judge "Act of Valor" on its action elements alone then it would get a perfect score. This is its best and only asset that is worth looking at. It presents a different feel into the battlefield action with a creative and unique approach. We especially loved the first person perspective shots in which we can even see the gun's reticle being aimed at things. It also showed a lot of gore in our opinion which gave it a more realistic feel. Unfortunately, everything else feels like elements of a made-for-TV movie. The biggest culprit would be the actors themselves who felt dull and lifeless. We couldn't feel a close attachment to whomever the characters were. Heck, we even have a hard time remembering who was who and why we should care if they survived or not. It's this disconnect that bothers us most. This should be a film about patriotism, about sacrifice - a deep reflection on what makes some humans go beyond the the call of duty. Sadly, this is far from what we got. It was only a generic action film with cool elements.

Rating: 2 and a half reels

Why you should watch it:
- the action is fast and furious and the gore adds to the realism

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the story is generic and the characters lacking any depth
- feels like a game and a game can never be a good film

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