Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.
I'm going to level with you: I have spent the past hour or so sitting in front of this computer trying to type out an intro paragraph for my review of Act of Valor. I've tried numerous stories about my family's history with the military or the delicacies of expressing an opinion on a topic that could possibly alienate your audience but nothing seemed to work. Eventually I put my fingers on the keyboard and I just froze. I couldn't find the right words to say. No matter what combination I used, I just couldn't create a suitable introduction. Then it hit me. You want to know the reason I'm struggling to find the right words to say?
Act of Valor is not a good movie.
It's not like I expected a lot. The jingoistic, near propaganda levels of overly enthusiastic patriotism that seem to bother a lot of critics was always going to be evident. Honestly though that doesn't bother me. I'm proud to be an American and I respect each and every member of the military that risk their lives so that we're safe. Whether or not you believe in war doesn't matter, they're still out there protecting your right to believe whatever you want to believe. Sometimes it's nice to be reminded of all the hard work that they do and that is one of the ways this film excels. That said, it fails in so many other ways it's really hard to recommend it.
That's basically the plot in a nutshell. There are some intricacies to it, mostly between the two main SEALs that this film focuses on, but really it doesn't get much deeper than what I have already mentioned. For a reference, it's about as deep as a Call of Duty game. Sadly, for anyone who has played these games, they know that the stories in them are quite thin. There is enough substance to justify going into battle and doing what they do best, but don't expect any hard hitting, thought provoking writing in the down time between battles. If you don't care about that then this is the perfect movie for you, but for me I like a little more substance than just a means to an end. In fact I dozed off a few times during the quiet scenes. Never actually fell asleep, because that would be disrespectful to a movie, but I came close on a number of occasions.
Where this film shines, and honestly the only reason to see this movie if you MUST see this movie, is in the action. Tight, well shot, gripping and intense were words that came to my mind when I was watching these scenes. They can be quietly powerful and explosively hectic within the span of a few minutes. IF you must see this film, see it for the action because that ALMOST makes it worth the price of admission.
Overall Act of Valor is a poorly written, poorly acted film with great action. If action is all you want then by all means see it, but me I'd rather spend my money on something with a little more substance.
MY VERDICT: AVOID IT (1 Star)