Valiant effort: SEALs shine in 'Act of Valor'
Act of Valor contains hard-hitting combat footage, relentless and effective. There is a story behind the film that is no less engrossing. In an introduction at the beginning, its co-directors, Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh, speak directly to the audience, describing how they got involved in a film about the Navy SEALs, how they were embedded with an actual SEAL unit – and how, when that project grew into a fiction film, they determined to use real SEALs and not professional actors.
The early version of the film, according to reporting by Rebecca Keegan of the Los Angeles Times, was variously intended as a training film or recruitment film, and was made outside the usual Department of Defense guidelines for motion pictures. It now emerges as a thriller involving two (non-factual) scenarios, one about a SEAL mission to free a kidnapped CIA operative (Roselyn Sanchez), the other about a plot to smuggle terrorists into the U.S. through tunnels from Mexico constructed by drug cartels.
The details in both of these scenarios seem realistic – although how would I know? The co-directors and their team have produced an accomplished, riveting action movie. I am reminded of the initial impact of films like Oliver Stone's Platoon and Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, which both told convincing and authentic stories. Act of Valor, however, centers more on action and much less on the human elements involved.Read more on: act of valor