Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Act of Valor

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong violence including some torture, and for language
Profanity:Some strong language (f-word)
Nudity/Sex:Mild references, skimpy bathing suits
Alcohol/Drugs:Social drinking, drug dealing
Violence/Scariness:Constant military peril and violence, guns, bombs, terrorism, hand-to-hand combat, and torture, characters injured and killed
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters
Movie Release Date:February 24, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 6, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence including some torture, and for language
Profanity: Some strong language (f-word)
Nudity/Sex: Mild references, skimpy bathing suits
Alcohol/Drugs: Social drinking, drug dealing
Violence/Scariness: Constant military peril and violence, guns, bombs, terrorism, hand-to-hand combat, and torture, characters injured and killed
Diversity Issues: Diverse characters
Movie Release Date: February 24, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 6, 2011

The Navy SEALS approached the Bandito Brothers film-makers about telling their story, years before they became headline heroes by finding and killing Osama Bin Laden.  After spending time with the SEALS and learning about their extraordinary missions and their extraordinary devotion to their families, their country, and each other, it became clear that even the biggest stars in Hollywood could never do them justice.  And so they made “Act of Valor,” a thrilling action/adventure film starring active duty U.S. Navy SEALS re-enacting some of their most dangerous missions, with live ammunition.  Every person in uniform you see in the film is currently serving in the U.S. military.  More than once, shooting had to shut down so that the SEALS could get back to work.

Advertisement

The story is pure fiction but the situations are real and the filming includes footage of training missions with live ammunition.  According to the story, a CIA agent has been kidnapped and is being tortured.  Terrorists are trying to enter the United States to detonate suicide bombings that will murder thousands of civilians.  The SEALS get little notice and less background briefing and they have to save the day, using a combination of the most cutting edge technology in weapons and communication and the oldest and most basic forms of technology (hand-to-hand combat) and communication (hand signals and just knowing each other and the mission objectives).  Most of all, they rely on training, integrity, and trust.  What they don’t rely on is anything going as originally planned.  In one exciting chase, the bad guys are closing in and shooting at them with automatic weapons and one of the SEALs has been critically injured.  What is even more fascinating than the pulse-pounding action is the way the Seals keep adapting their escape plan and updating their team with remarkable economy and precision.  “This will be a hot extract,” they say crisply into the walkie-talkies as they return fire.  “Moving to tertiary extract,” they continue.  All may be chaos around them, but you get the feeling that they could keep going with another 20 thought-through options for pick-up if the first 19 can not work.  “Prepare for a bigger fight than you were expecting,” they are advised in one operation, but the SEALs are always ready.  One of them quotes the moving words of the Native American leader Tecumseh that concludes, “When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.”

Advertisement

The guys (their names are not used for security reasons) are not actors, but that just adds to to sense that we are watching a documentary, albeit a documentary that sometimes plays like a first-person shooter game.  When we see the SEALs with their families and with each other, it is clear that there is not an actor in the world who could convey the humility and honor that is fundamental to their natures.

The storyline is thin and generic but there is plenty of drama in the operation of the missions, each like a movie of its own and well staged to make us feel at the center of the action.  Country greats like Trace Adkins, Wynonna Judd, Sugarland, and Lady Antebellum provide a stirring soundtrack.  We see operations on land, sea, and in the air.  There are fights and shoot-outs but one of the most mesmerizing scenes is all talk as the master interrogator shows the master criminal just enough respect to keep him cooperating, making clear how much power he has over the other man’s life to make that cooperation meaningful.  “I’d rather bring a gun to a knife fight than be interrogated by him,” one of the Seals says proudly.  The support of their families and, at least in one case, a family history of sacrifice creates a clarity of priorities that creates a context for excellence.  In a world where ambiguity and partisanship make it hard to find heroes, the biggest thrills in this film come not from the shoot-outs but from seeing real-life commitment, courage, and what valor truly means.

Advertisement

 

Parents should know that this film features active duty Navy Seals re-enacting some of their most dangerous missions using live ammunition.  It includes constant peril and violence with guns, hand-to-hand combat, and explosions, with many characters injured and killed.  Graphic and disturbing scenes include the torture of a female spy.  It also has some strong language and some social drinking.

Family discussion:  Why was it so important to resolve issues at home before leaving on a mission?  How do the Seals support each other?  How many different ways do they have to communicate?  How does clarity of the mission objectives direct their evaluation of their options?

If you like this, try: “The Dirty Dozen” and “Navy Seals: Untold Stories”

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cstanley1028

    I can’t wait to see this. My 14 year old son has talked about nothing but being in the Navy for years and has been begging us to take him to this.

    I know it’s a Hollywood version of what the SEALS really do, but we’re so blessed to have them continually sacrifice their lives, time, families, etc. to protect and serve. Thank you for what you do, Navy SEALS!

    • Nell Minow

      Thanks cstanley1028 — when you see it, let me know what you think!

Previous Posts

Interview: Rachel Hendrix of "77 Chances"
Rachel Hendrix plays Mac in the faith-based romantic film "77 Chances." It's a "Groundhog Day"-style story about a young man who feels lost ...

posted 3:39:15pm Aug. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Tribute: Oliver Sacks
We mourn the passing of neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks, who illuminated the workings of the brain and set an example of grace and compassion that extended to the way he shared his thoughts about his terminal diagnosis. I first learned ...

posted 9:17:46am Aug. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Three Hundred Year-Old Actors Are Still Working
Scott Feinberg talked to three actors with a combined age of 302 for The Hollywood Reporter. Patricia Morison (age 100), Norman Lloyd (age 100) and Connie Sawyer (age 102) shared memories and offered tips. All are in good health. “I ...

posted 3:32:48pm Aug. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Youth with Michael Caine
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T7CM4di_0c[/youtube] Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel play friends on vacation in an elegant hotel at the foot of the Alps. Fred, a composer and conductor, is now retired. Mick, a film director, is ...

posted 3:25:22pm Aug. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Worst Accents in Movies
Thanks to Indiewire for including me in this great rundown of the all-time worst movie accents. Critics vented frustration and fury, many picking Quentin Tarantino and Dick van Dyke, but I went with two actors who played Robin ...

posted 2:13:18pm Aug. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.