Act of Valour is an action movie with a twist – a fictionalised account of real US Navy SEAL operations to counter global terrorism, starring a group of real life, active US Navy SEALs.

The largest part of Act of Valour is pure action. There are three related missions including a hostage rescue, reconnaissance and invasion of a Mexican cartel, to prevent a terrifying terrorist assault on the US. Directors Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh together with director of photography, Shane Hurlbut, create convincing and precise action sequences demonstrating the cutting edge technology used by the SEALs. For the most part, these are intense and adrenaline pumping but, over-reliance on an array of action movie cliches – particularly the over use of slow motion – leaves some scenes feeling cheesy and out of date.

 

As for the film’s sub-plots, a number of threads (a pregnant wife left waiting at home, for example) feel too obvious to generate any real depth of emotion. And, although patriotic and heartfelt, the use of an unoriginal voice over to tie the missions and home-life together, cheapens the film’s messages.

None of this is helped, of course, by the fact that the characters are played by real life SEALs, making the plot driving, dialogue based scenes feel not dissimilar to an episode of The Only Way is Essex. Before the film even begins the audience is treated to a preface by the film’s creators explaining their decision to use real SEALs but, as the movie progresses, this increasingly feels like the wrong choice. Although they put in a good effort for non-actors, the cast fail to convey genuine passion, missing out on an opportunity for a real emotional connection with the audience.

The inclusion of the ‘making of’ preface, telling its audience Act of Valour’s messages before they’ve even seen it, feels something like an excuse, or an apology. Indeed, if the film doesn’t deliver these messages on its own, then something is sadly a miss.

Strong on action and short on substance, see Act of Valour only if you love modern warfare sequences, but don’t expect to be moved.

VERDICT:   ✪ ✪

For more information see the official website
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