Starring Active duty U.S. Navy SEALs and U.S. Navy Special Warfare Combatant Crewmen, Jason Cottle, Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sánchez, Nestor Serrano, Emilio Rivera, Drea Castro, Keo Woolford, Thomas Rosales Jr., Marco Morales, Ailsa Marshall

Directed by Mike McCoy & Scott Waugh

Expectations: Low, but the action will probably be OK.

While you could easily write off Act of Valor as simple recruiting propaganda, it’s actually a very accomplished action film that excites as well as it inspires. The action scenes play out like a live-action Call of Duty game but with a focus on realism, with neat overlays and instances when night vision or other cool tech is used. In some ways, I’d say it’s more akin to Rainbow Six (if we’re relating it to a video game), as that game’s measured, static pacing is mirrored beautifully in the way the Seals carry out their first mission on-screen.

In terms of story, you’ve already heard this one before. A terrorist hellbent on sending suicide bombers into crowed areas is on the loose and it’s up to our special forces to take him out. There’s nothing new or fresh here, but the way it is presented to us doesn’t try to sell it as such. In fact, a lot of the plot plays out visually as opposed to being dialogue-driven, so it’s as if the filmmakers knew they were treading deep into cliché territory and sought the quickest way possible to keep the film moving without bogging it down with needless dialogue. For this, I am incredibly thankful and it makes Act of Valor a breeze to watch.

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