SEALs display “Valor”

Joe Llorin, Features Editor

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It is not surprising when movie goers, both professional and amateur, criticize movies of today’s age because their lack of credible acting performances. When it comes to certain movie genres, specifically based on actual events, there aren’t many actors who can simply fill those positions. When actors do step up to the challenge of portraying such, these movies turn into nightmares for both audiences and those responsible for producing the film.

It was refreshing for many when “Act of Valor,” directed by Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh, advertised itself as “as real as it gets,” because the movie stars actual active duty United States Navy SEALs and Special Warfare Combatant Crewmen, whose names remained anonymous.

Unfortunately, when the film hit theatres nationally on Feb. 24, movie goers were once again invited into one nightmare of a movie- one filled with a surprisingly cliché storyline, less than bad camera angles, incredibly over-exaggerated action and a soundtrack that screams “America” louder than Thanksgiving football.

A terrorist attack by the main antagonist Christo (played by Alex Veadov) leads to the capture of CIA agent Morales (played by Roselyn Sanchez), which is when the SEALs make their theatrical debut. After making their way through the harsh landscape of a Spanish jungle, they showcase modern military tactics and technology, such as low-profile sniping, using remote control reconnaissance drones, and truly unique fighting techniques that only the SEALs would use.  This mission had not only the highest amount, but also the most intense “action” that the movie offers.

However, this scene also uses the “first person shooter” point of view- where the scene looks as if the audience is playing one big video game. Though this filming method has been used moderately over the years, fans find that it adds little to the intensity of the moment. People often compare first person shooter video games to real life warfare, and the use of this tactic only contradicts what the movie was advertising itself as.

One of the film’s most “intense” moments occurs when a grenade is thrown into a room in which the SEALs regrouped. Instead of doing the smart thing and literally kicking the grenade away from the group, one of the higher ranked SEALs jumps on the grenade, sacrificing his own life.

This death was dragged out too much- to the point where the camera didn’t leave the dead SEAL’s sight until he was laying in his own pool of blood. According to most war-based movies, when a soldier dies in combat, you (as a fellow soldier) aren’t supposed to just stop and mourn the death of a comrade- you press on.

The film’s climax occurs when one of the SEALs, near death after being shot numerous times, pulls out his sidearm and magically musters up the strength to kill the remaining three enemies, including Christo’s right hand man. To many of the gamers in the audience, this scene was very reminiscent of that of the final scene in the popular video game “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.”

Although “Act of Valor” deserves praise for having a more than original cast and genuine combat, the movie is too dragged down by its lack of convincing acting performances, a rather weak storyline, and cheesy filming techniques that damaged the credibility that it could have had.