TESTOSTERONE filled Act of Valor, certificate 15, has enough guns and explosives to rival even Sylvester Stallone’s Expendables. Sadly though with its cliché ridden script and blatantly pro-American agenda, the film feels more like a glorified recruitment video for the US military than a credible addition to the action movie genre.
Directed by American directors, Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh, the directorial duo work on screenplay written by Kurt Johnstad, who previously worked on the script for the 2006, fantasy adventure, 300. The film has the endorsement of the US military, who have praised its interpretation of the operational capabilities of its armed forces. The film’s events are inspired by true events.
The plot focuses on the covert operations of American Seal Team Seven, what starts out for the team as a routine operation in Mexico to recover a kidnapped CIA agent, soon escalates as the team unravels a terrorist plan to launch an attack on American soil. The film soon becomes a globetrotting hunt to apprehend those behind the plot and prevent the attack.
The unique selling point of the feature is that serving American servicemen star as members of the seal team, this decision has mixed results. The untrained actors are wooden and unconvincing when delivering their dialogue, but they competently hold their own during the films gripping action sequences.
The films’ action set pieces are its greatest strength, the sequences are tense and realistic and played out at a frantically fast pace. The hostage extraction operation in Mexico early on in the feature is particularly impressive.
Overall the film ticks all the boxes within the action movie genre, but the decision to use unprofessional actors in the leading roles is a misguided mistake. Their poor acting drags the film down and with it its overall cinematic credibility. At times the feature feels more like a TV drama, similar to Sky’s drama Strike Back. The film feels like a reboot of the 1990 feature Navy Seals, for the Call of Duty generation, which sadly misfires but is still worth a watch for fans of this genre.
Review by William McClean