REVIEW: Appalling Act of Valor is Having a War, And Everybody's Invited

Movieline Score:

Well, it finally happened. The line separating America from America: The Movie found a way to arrange itself into a stick figure and walk off the scene in disgust. In Act of Valor, an elaborate branding exercise for the U.S. Navy SEALs in the form of a Hollywood action blowout, the two mingle freely and openly at last.

The movie opens with a statement from directors Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh. They describe the importance of casting real Navy SEALs — “the greatest action heroes of them all,” according to the film’s press notes — to give the film that much-desired feeling of “authenticity.” It was all for us, McCoy and Waugh agree. They wanted to show the audience what it really feels like to fire an automatic weapon and burst someone’s head open from 50 feet away.

And so they dragged two chiseled specimens (uncredited, they appear as “Dave” and “Rorke”), out of active duty and in front of the camera and had them perform in a really bad war movie. Act of Valor was produced with an unprecedented level of Pentagon cooperation. Four years ago, when the film was conceived, the Navy was looking for 500 new recruits, and a movie seemed like just the thing. Top Gun famously boosted recruitment by 500 percent, and the military now uses popular entertainment vehicles to make its pitch as a matter of course. America’s Army, the 2002 video game created by the military to mimic war games like Call of Duty, now seems like a strategic part of the run-up to the Iraq war.

So by “the audience” McCoy and Waugh mean American boys. And the goal of showing them how it feels to be a SEAL means combining the aesthetics of war they know from movies and gaming with the exhilaration of showing off actual American might. And yet there is a larger “us” addressed by the thickly written narration (the script, by 300 screenwriter Kurt Johnstad, gives new meaning to the phrase “fog of war”). All of Valor is designed to emphasize the direct impact of military action on American safety, from the opening rescue of a female CIA agent (Roselyn Sanchez) who is being tortured to within an inch of her life (and the integrity of her tank top) in the Costa Rican jungle to the interception of high-tech suicide vests making their way to major American cities.

The plot might be summed up this way: America’s having a war, and everybody’s invited! Everybody, oddly enough, except Iraq and Afghanistan. After an unexplained explosion kills an American diplomat and a whole mess of children in Manila, we meet a SEAL platoon on a San Diego beach, where they are preparing for deployment. “Chief Dave” has already passed his Tom Brady genes on to five kids; “Lieutenant Rorke” is about to have his first child. Being a dad comes up a lot. They never turn to each other between kill shots and swap parenting tips, but if they did it would fit right into the script’s awkward attempt to jam characterization into these two beefy avatars. You can’t help thinking these guys got hosed: All that lethal know-how and they’re bested by dopey dialogue.

A lack of continuity, both within and between scenes, makes a fairly simply set-up weirdly difficult to follow. The bad guys are childhood friends Abul Shabal (Jason Cottle), a Ukrainian convert to Islam who is mad about Chechnya, and Christo (Alex Veadov), an arms dealer with unclear motivations. But they are desultory villains, there to provide minimal narrative hinge action. The bigger story is that we are battling a global enemy with weapons connections and no respect for their own lives or the lives of anybody else. From the Philippines and Costa Rica we stop in Somalia, Mexico, and parts of Eastern Europe, and they hate us everywhere. We also have a couple of enemies within our borders: “the media” and “the economy” are cited as key allies in any terrorist plan to take down the United States.

Each location provides a stage for some serious military peacocking: The opening rescue has some thrilling shots of an amphibious operation — boats dropped from helicopters! — and the surfacing of a nuclear submarine is so colossally breathtaking it’s hard to believe it’s not an act of nature. Much gadgetry is wielded to no discernible purpose, and at almost every stop live ammunition discharges like a five-cent slot machine on somebody’s lucky night. But there is little sense of how these teams work and strategize together, all the stuff that might actually make for an interesting story.

The finale is a first-person-palooza on the Mexican border, a crescendo of incoherent carnage that requires one of the SEALs to perform his own death. The sacrifice and ceremony of that performance is most unsettling when it penetrates the protective layer of numbness that builds up over the course of any movie with a body count this high. It's nearly impossible not to respond, but the casual blending of reality and Hollywood cliché finally feels ghoulish, a disservice to those it is meant to honor. Yeah, it’s just another movie with things blowing up in highly realistic fashion, and yet it embodies the insidiousness of a culture seduced by sensation and jingoism. Because although the last decade of war has done much to convince us otherwise, this country is not a movie we are watching, and people really do die in the end.

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  • Pietro says:

    Yep. It was god awful. What was originally a brief training video that would have been used within the ranks turned into the longest and most ridiculous recruitment ad of all time.

  • Gabe says:

    "the insidiousness of a culture seduced by sensation and jingoism."

    Wow. You really don't like America, do you?

    • Wake Up says:

      this is what you idiots dont get. the movie just sucked. period.

      as far as the author's perspective...wake up folks. shes making the connections you all are too blind to see.

      conspiracy theories ? lol. its called analysis. look at the recruitment techniques. look at WHERE FUNDS ARE BEING allocated towards. Call of Duty and the armes forces ARE IN BED together. Its all right there. ASK yourself, in what other countries does the MILITARY have any roll with ENTERTAINMENT industries? And why in god's name are those two linked together in the first place?

      • sotrue says:

        Activision and US Military...VERY interesting stuff there. Especially to draw from the article, the ending scene of the movie that switches to a FIRST PERSON VIEW. Hmmmm...wonder why that is? Ill tell you what first popped into my youthful gaming oriented of fucking duty. hell yea. But then it just became obvious.

        This movie presents itself as reality. When in fact, it is FAR from it. Anyone whos experinced war, or seen first hand what it is all about, would agree. You dont see the pain, you dont see the fear, you DONT SEE the blood and piles of bodies. You dont SMELL or TASTE the odor of rotting burning flesh that traumatizes you for life. Instead, what you get is what they WANT YOU TO PERCEIVE AS WAR. Bad ass, ultimate soldiers, who fly around the globe to SAVE THE WORLD.

        not really relevent, but ill add this. Activision, its all published, their connection with US Military (nothing with allies) exclusively. All the charity work, and exclusive perks (free mw3) for military personnel. The game itself, is exclusive mainly because of its contracts with the military to use the "real" in game things. insignias, uniforms, weapons, equipment, everything is authentic to US Military, and that s EXCLUSIVE to the series.

        It IS the LARGEST game franchise in all of video games. It makes more money than the top grossing movies in history. its is literally worth billions. And no surprise its linked heavily with the US Military

        Now as a gamer,I have these perspectives because ive been of fan of gaming for a long time. Look at Activision's MAIN competition. EA. EA publishes the 2nd best military fps in the industry with their Battlefield franchise. They dont get teh exclusives from the US military...hmmm. Nor do they have any active benefits for military personnel such as free games, or advertisement plugs...any of it.

        But this I found was extremely interesting a while back. No surprise it was dismissed by many of the ignorant masses. MW2, was released it featured a pretty controversial level, in which you as a US soldier infiltrates a group of Russian Terrorists. In doing so, you are required to go through a mission where you literally walk around and gun down (massacre) an airport full of russian civilians, it ends when the Russian bad guy betrays you and shoots you at teh end.

        Anybody put up a fuss with that? Sort of, but nothing huge. The military still openly endorsed and supported Activision. the game went on to make BILLIONS.

        But not soon after, EA the rival, published its own new military FPS Medal of Honor. But with this, something different happened. This time, it also featured a "controversial" element. You could play as the dreaded TALIBAN (oh no!).

        Immediately guess what the military did? It BLACKLISTED the game. It banned it from its bases and stores. And military personnel were essentially told it was anti-american garbage. All of this before the GAME WAS EVEN RELEASED. The game flopped and struggled tremendously.

        so reallly...i dont think i have to explain HOW thats an obvious tactic of alliance. In CoD, you CAN play as bad guys and terrorists. You can even guy down civilians. To the US military, that is perfectly acceptable. If you happen to make a game thats not supported by the military, you will simply lose. wonder why?

        • Antoine Flemming says:

          How the HELL does this have anything to do with Activision or Call of Duty? It FUCKING doesn't!!! You want to criticize and rage against Activision?! Go to the fucking IW or Treyarch Forums!!! Stop Fucking critiquing the movie based off of something unrelated to the movie! Critique the movie for the movie itself!

          • KevyB says:

            SOTRUE plainly DOES give a review about how unrealistic the movie is, then states VERY PLAINLY that the Activision stuff is "not really relevant". So what's with the pissy fit? It was more interesting than most of the posts on here, and about 1000% more interesting than yours!

      • "ASK yourself, in what other countries does the MILITARY have any roll with ENTERTAINMENT industries?"

        I asked myself the question you requested me too. And here's the answers I gave myself: China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, several countries on the continent of Africa. You need more? Let me know cause the list is quite long.

      • michal says:

        Im sorry, but im from europe and what i was looking for was a more-than-usually realistic war movie with no unnecessary emotional hollywood shit and complicated background life stories, and thats exactly what i got. I dont understand why you're criticizing the movie for being a recruiting ad. In that case every single war movie ever produced is a recruiting ad because the teenage boys that wanna join the army will be inspired by any war hero movie and they don't give a shit about the usual messages in the last 5 minutes of these movies expressing that war is bad. Maybe there shouldn't be any war movies at all hm?
        So instead of this nonsense conspiracy critique of the whole system, you should focus on the movie, the scenes, and the adaptation. What ure saying, and the whole critique above are both jokes. Why would u even watch it if it's so obviously trying to recruit and this way promote the war all over the world?? The connections your bright mind sees are obvious to everybody. But look at me. Im 21, i enjoyed the movie, and i don't give a shit about the army and maintain my opinion that war sucks (the movie didn't give me any incentive to think otherwise).
        And why are u people criticizing the movie by talking about call of duty will remain a mystery to me...

  • jerebo says:

    The folks at Big Hollywood are having orgasms over this film.

  • John "Ratty" Arbuckle says:

    I just bet the negative reviews from the overwhelmingly liberal critics are about to roll in! How predictable. But I think I'll pay to see - and make up my own mind about - this one, thank you. The fact that my admission fee won't be going to a member of the America-hating crowd is just icing on the cake!

  • Chris says:

    What the reviewer failed to take away from this movie is that this was filmed with REAL SEALS DOING WHAT THEY DO BEST! There are bad people in this world. TRUE EVIL and these are the guys who step up and do bad things to bad people. There was a hostage rescue a few months back, performed by the SEALS. THIS IS HOW THEY DID IT! Michelle, next time shut the fuck up and just say thank you.

    • AS says:

      Yes, "true evil," like women and small children... very scary indeed. For every "rescue" mission you hear about, there's about 10 black ops missions involving the torture and assassination of perceived "enemies of the state"... innocent or otherwise.

      • Froggy says:

        Congratulations, you may have already won! The award for the most predictable leftist trope comment of the hour. "10 black ops missions involving torture.." What a furtive imagination you have. I don't know how some with your level of paranoia leaves the house in the morning.

        • KevyB says:

          More than 100,000 civilian Iraqis died since the beginning of the war. Is it your oh-so-educated opinion that all of those civilians were terrorists? That none of these civilians were tortured or assassinated? Because anyone that believes that shouldn't be commenting on somebody else's vivid imagination.

          • Well, the Iraqi War lasted much longer than 9/11. So lets compare apples to apples. What was it, 3000 innocent victims in the 9/11 attacks? Yes, women (even pregnant ones), died in the attacks. Many still mentally tramatized, families having to live without their loved ones, children growing up without ever seeing their fathers, the list goes on. Now multiply that by the length on the Iraqi War, and guess what? you are now comparing apples to apples. True, the Iraqis had nothing to do with 9/11. But the people who died in the attacks of 9/11 had nothing to do war either. Not anymore than any one of you reading this. Use your head and think more thoroughly please. Because if you're an American, you're making the rest of us Americans look stupid, and we don't really appreciate you taking the job of representing us when we didn't ask you too. Thanks!

      • Please argue your case with the family of the little girl who died as a passenger on the first plane to hit the WTC. She was under the age of 10 I believe and it was her first time ever riding in a plane. Oh, and she wasn't the enemy of anyone. hatred knows no innocence. It's sad, but a fact of life. And America certainly isn't the only ones who do it as you'd like to have us all believe. If you live in a war zone, that's your choice. Yes, these innocent people who died in Iraq, Afganistan, Egypt, Syria, where ever, had a thinking brain and the ability to make decisions. They chose to stay. If you stay to fight and defend what is yours, then you also risk the possibility of being killed. Hell, kids die in the crossfire of gang shootings right here in America. And it doesn't even take guns to kill a person. I'm sure you've heard of people beating others to death? An evil mind is an evil mind. No weapons needed. Hitler got his brainwashed minions to do his deeds. For that matter doctors quite often kill their patients during surgery on accident. I know of a couple personally. Does that make doctors "evil"? By your definition, yes. Way to be judgmental.

    • Pietro says:

      Say thank you for, what, making a movie that isn't entertaining? Let's not even mention the countless documentaries about military members (To Hell and Back being the most recent, only coming out last month) that truly depict our emotional and physical struggles, but people are quick to forget that almost every major motion picture that tells stories of Special Operations soldiers and sailors utilizes REAL troops for stunt work and tactical maneuvers (i.e. Tears of the Sun, Black Hawk Down); they just leave the acting to, you know, actors that can deliver good performances.

      • I usually find that " actors that can deliver good performances.", aren't very accurate when compared to people I meet and know in real life. But I guess Hollywood really helps keep you in your "dream world", and I'd rather see that than you doing drugs. Cause you know, where you come from (in your mind), a woman slaps a man, he slaps her back, *pause* they kiss, and next thing you know there's babies everywhere! 🙂 They just couldn't find a way to put that in Act of Valor where it would make you happy. Maybe they'll do Top Gun II for you, where Tom Cruise has an affair with another pilot in the locker room.

  • asher says:

    @Gabe - He's just telling it like it is.

    @Ratty - So just because we don't like bad acting, dialogue and don't want to see people get shot or blown-up, no matter how "bad" they may be, we hate America?

    • No I wouldn't say that. You're American, you just failed to realize (even though it's clearly stated at the beginning of the movie), that these weren't actors. They were the real guys. Like I said to someone else below, I find that actors poorly portray people I know in real life. People just aren't that dramatic in real life unless they watch alot of movies and actually believe that's how everyone is. William Shattner is nothing like real police officers I know, but T.J. Hooker had a long run as a t.v. series, because folks like enjoyed it. Lets say you don't paint cars for a living, but I had you repaint the family set of wheels. And lets say you did a very crappy job. Knowing that you don't paint cars, I would find it hard to complain about your work. But by your arguement lets say you ask me to rebuild the roof on your house (knowing full well that I don't build or repair roofs). I do it and it's a terrible crappy roof job. You would complain about it. O.K.

  • The Winchester says:

    Why does every knee jerk, "you don't like this movie so you hate America" response fail to recognize the fact that this is a review of a MOVIE, not of NAVY SEALS jobs??

    That it fails as a movie falls on the shoulders of the directors, not of the Seals, and therefore criticisms of aforementioned MOVIE should not be equated as such.

    Why does anyone come to a movie site to chastise a reviewer for doing her fucking job and reviewing a movie? Where were all of you defending the CIA when the pan of This Means War came out last week?

    • McAbriel says:

      It isn't the review of the movie but the other issues she addresses, her clear political opinion, and what she tries to imply--that have nothing to do with the quality of the movie.

    • Gabe says:

      I didn't say that just because she didn't like this movie she didn't like America. It's the lines like"military peacocking", "passed on his Tom Brady genes" and "You can’t help thinking these guys got hosed: All that lethal know-how and they’re bested by dopey dialogue."

      That's what really ticks me off. She couldn't review this movie as movie without inserting her "I hate America" rhetoric.

    • S.T. VanAirsdale says:

      Forget it, Jake, it's just the fringe right.

    • Did she think the acting in "Bowling for Columbine" was great? Just wondering, because Act of Valor isn't using real actors for the Navy SEALs. You could almost call this film "a documentary" really. And a damn great one!!!

  • McAbriel says:

    Part 1. (McAbriel)
    Wow....Really….That is a movie review?
    I bet if this movie had stared Brad Pit or George Clooney or any of the other Hollywood liberals this review would have been just the opposite. It would have been praised for its courage and realism; it's true painting of the horrors of war and the reality we live in today.
    Every situation in this movie is plausible and if you have been paying attention at all; may even be probable. Unless you believe in the preposterous notion that we can all get along. There are irreconcilable differences in this world and always will be as long as humans inhabit it. To think that you can just be nice to everyone and not prepare for war and be willing and able to execute it with a vigor and truculence greater than your enemy’s is foolish ignorance.

  • McAbriel says:

    Part 2. (McAbriel)
    So I am glad that there are these jingoistic, many of them fathers, men motivated by chauvinism— in this instance defined as a prejudiced belief in the superiority of one's own kind and kind being defined as men of war.
    Michelle Orange even suggests to us that there is a conspiracy theory here; which, started with the Army producing a "Call of Duty" like video game to recruit young men prior to the current conflicts— all because they were preplanned. I can assure you that the America's Army video game, while it was meant as a recruiting tool, was an idea that developed well before and without any conflict in mind.

  • McAbriel says:

    Part 3 (McAbriel)
    To attack the writers and creators of the movie is one thing but to attack the service members and their patriotism is another altogether and inexcusable.
    I do however agree that the movie could have been written better and shown more depth of the characters. But all the other trash written is nonsensical.

  • Max Renn says:

    I've lost that loving feeling...

  • Antoine Flemming says:

    Uh, you're just a liberal, anti-American critic who hates anything that actually says something good about our military and their service. Yes, we understand that you're one of those who thinks that America is the worst, most corrupt nation on Earth. You're one of those people who tries to justify Iran or Syria because they're enemies of the U.S. (and so to be enemies of a "corrupt nation" is to be innocent and benevolent). You should have never even brought up Iraq or Afghanistan. This movie is about the SEALS, not about the politics of the past decade. If you're going to be a film critic, be a film critic. If you're going to be a political critic, then be a political critic. Critique the movie based on what the directors aimed for. Their goal wasn't to present some action flick with some crazy story that kept you on the edge of your seat. It wasn't to produce some conspiracy-theorist movie making America out to be some corrupt nation, whose military personnel are nothing more than murderers. It was to present an accurate view of the SEALs. And if the SEALs say it's the most accurate and authentic portrayal of them and what they do, who the hell are you to criticize that? Your issue, even judging by your title, is that you don't like a movie that doesn't say something bad about war. If it's about war, then it should be negative in your opinion. The military should be portrayed torturing and murdering innocents. That's your idea of a realistic military movie. You don't like the accurate portrayal of Islamist extremists who actually do kill themselves and others, without regard to their own lives. You'd rather have a movie that justifies their actions, downplaying their constant killing of many innocent people while trying to say that military personnel have an agenda of doing just that. If a movie glorifies killing those damn terrorists, then I'm all for it. Because, regardless of what the hell you think, it was a damn good thing that Osama Bin Laden was killed. Thank God that murderer is dead.

  • Jake says:

    I'm not a liberal. Not a conservative. But I think anyone who is a free thinking individual would find something that glorifies war in such a hand in hand way with the actual military is pretty suspect. I am thankful this reviewer sat through it so I don't have to.

    And might I remind all you people that these amazing SEALS went into the operation to kill Bin Laden with two helicopters and came out with one. That's right. These SEALS who can make all these amazing single bullet headshots couldn't make it out with both of them and had to destroy it.

    Our military isn't the amazing power it was back in the 80s due to the prolonged cold war. We have a volunteer army which means those in the army aren't the best and the brightest (something an ex-marine once told me). They have a few bright folks, but they mostly made up of the slackers and losers who barely graduate high school and can't get a job.

    Let me be clear... I LOVE AMERICA. But I also can think for myself. And propaganda is pretty easy to recognize. This is a military recruitment video, plain and simple. Like I said the other day, it couldn't be more of a propaganda movie if it was a documentary by Michael Moore.

    • sfranger9 says:

      "They have a few bright folks, but they mostly made up of the slackers and losers who barely graduate high school and can't get a job" Jake Says. This quote is the one thing that is really wrong with people in this society of disrespect and ignorant attitude toward the military. I know that we have freedom of speech in this country but wait that is a freedom that if there was no military we wouldn't have that freedom but you can thank god in this country that we have people that would gladly serve this country in the military due to their commitment to this country and its values and standards but dont you worry you can sleep safe at night knowing there are those type of individuals out there willing to give their lives for someone as anti military as you are.

    • Uncle Albert says:

      Obviously Jake has no clue about the military or those who serve. And while it isn't a great film in terms of the acting and script and the ops were authentic and impressive. And his comments about the military and the people who serve reflects a profound ignorance. On the assumption that Jake can read (contrary to his statement, I doubt he thinks for himself given his intellectually juvenile comments), I'd suggest picking up The Heart and the Fist by Eric Greitens or SEAL Team 6, The Unforgiven Minute or One Bullet Away or Lone Survivor not to mention dozens more books to get a better understanding of the military and those who serve. I have worked with thousands of military personnel over the years and contrary to Jake, they are uniformly among the best and the brightest. The great thing about the military is they invest in these young men and women barely out of their teens the responsibility for tremendously expensive and complicated equipment and while in any population you have some % that can't cut it, for the most part, those in military are forced to "grow up" fast and most do so quickly (and that is something Jake seems clueless about). In terms of technology, what we have today is infinitely better than what we had in the 80's when we were just ramping up after the Viet Nam War hangover of the 70's. The notion that a lightweight like Jake would even think about commenting on the tactical capability of those who killed Bin Laden (and for the record Jake, the SEALs didn't fly the helicopters) when he obviously knows nothing about military operations, demonstrates child-like self-awareness and an over inflated ego while he stays at his computer playing with his "mouse"! The "slackers and losers" are people like Jake and alas, poor Jake wouldn't last 5 minutes in today's military never mind try to get thru BUD/SEAL or Ranger school. My wise uncle had a saying, better to be quiet and thought a fool, than open one's mouth (or in Jake's case, write)and remove all doubt. Advice Jake should take to heart. As far as his love for the country after reading his ill-informed nonsense, one can only assume that Jake is a high school sophomore somewhere who hopefully, some day will mature. Whether he is liberal or conservative is unimportant, what is obvious is Jake is a nit wit so I realize pointing out this fact is a waste of keystrokes.

    • JL says:

      OK Jake, how long and where have you volunteered to serve you country? Done anything to help this country besides complain about it? Not just military, but in any volunteer way? Until you do, maybe you should give those who do some credit!!. And you think they did a bad job because they had to leave a helicopter behind....ever think it was because it was hit with enemy fire??? Job done, everyone got home safely as well. The people serving today in our military are bright, educated and dedicated..just as much as any time. They do a tough job. Slackers...those are people who do nothing in any form for their country.

  • so what says:

    So what if they use it to recruit soldiers? Many people see joining the military as something you do when you're at a dead end. This could give a feeling of patriotism. I haven't and won't see the movie, so I don't have a comment about it being good or bad. I really liked Black Hawk Down and still think about the unfinished business that we left behind there. Bugs me.

  • Brad says:

    Hey guys- jingoism isn't something to be proud of...regardless of what country you live in. Jingoism is blind patriotism fueled by hatred...something for ignorant fools with double-digit IQs. If you really "loved" America you use your freakin' brain for once. We are all American citizens- liberals, conservatives, centrists, etc. etc. What if I said you were an anti-American terrorist because you hate Obama? That, of course, isn't true...there are plenty of low IQs on this message board but I doubt any of you are planning on blowing something up (rightist or leftist.) I didn't read anything in the review that struck me as critical of the SEALS or America...the reviewer simply stated that the movie sucked and it failed to recognize the real costs of war...which is true. War isn't a freakin' video game and the "bad guys"...regardless of how horrible some of them may be....are still humans like you and me. Is killing them sometimes necessary? Yes. But it's nothing to be taken lightly. So, go ahead, continue your idiotic jingoistic only further prove my point.

    • str8jkt82 says:

      are you trying to convince people that scum bin laden the guy that blew up the marine barracks and homocide bombers that walk into crowded resteurants and kill innocent civilians are on on the same level as not just SEALS but the american fightingman as a whole

      • Elmore says:

        What's a "homocide bomber"? Is that what a stupid person calls a suicide bomber because Fox News told them to?

        And to answer your question: The difference between "homocide bombers" (I love the utter stupidity of that phrase) and drone attacks or night-time raids where accidents happen is not nearly as huge as a simpleton like you would think.

        I'm noticing a gaping chasm in the level of intelligence and insight between the people who love this movie because they "are proud to be real Americans" and people who judge the movie on its merits.

        Of course you mouth-breathers are still going to call anyone who disagrees with you a liberal or a terrorist or whatever, so it doesn't matter what's true and what's made up.

        • str8jkt82 says:

          the person that walks into crowd of innocents and detonates a bomb is comimitting homocide comparing that to mistakes or accidents that happen in war is just ignorant and you are being very foolish to think they are the same oh and by the way i am real proud to be an american and a marine and if that makes me a simpleton so be it

          • Elmore says:

            So if killing innocents by detonating bombs is what makes a homocide bomber, then George W. Bush and all his cronies who oversaw Shock and Awe are the biggest homicide bombers of all.

            And yes, Obama's drone attacks would make him a homicide bomber as well.

            Still, neither of them strap a bomb vest to their chest to commit a suicide bombing.

            Again, I understand that Fox News' thinking is that to call a suicide bomber what he is will somehow humanize him and make him harder to hate. (Look it up, this is literally their editorial policy). It doesn't make it any less stupid or dishonest.

            And there are a number of things that make you a simpleton that have nothing to do with your blind, weak-minded, craven jingoism and obvious xenophobia/racism against Middle Easterners.

  • JSP says:

    I just saw the film with my uncle who is a retired SEAL (Class 143) and served on Team 5 and Team 8. Even he didn't like the movie. The action is real but the movie lacked personality, soul and just doesn't represent the life of a SEAL. He also found the family beach scene hysterical! Unless things have changed, there are never any SEAL family outings. Here's some facts: (1)members of a platoon come from all over the country so it would be hard to get everyone's family together (2)you spend most of the time as a SEAL training for missions and (3)your identity as a SEAL is supposed to be somewhat of a secret.

    As for the movie using real active-duty SEALs, my uncle is a bit skeptical. Given the secrecy of the SEAL program, he doesn't understand how the military would allow those soldiers to be featured in a Hollywood movie. He thinks that they may just be guys that graduated BUD/S, but not yet certified SEALs.

    • Ancle Albert says:

      JSP--My sincere appreciation to your uncle. And I appreciate his perspective and there is much wisdom in it. But they are real SEALs. All of them are too old to be just BUDS or SQT guys.

      In fact, one of the guys was in one of the Transformer movies or so I'm told by reliable sources. I did not see Transformers. Maybe he has a future in films. It worked for Jesse!

  • ThatArmyGuy says:

    If you dont like this country, and it's military who protect it and it's country's people, then leave. Try to voice your opinion about how corrupt, evil, and unfair a country is in another country where you can be shot on sight for bad mouthing the country, and/or it's leaders.

    Your freedom to voice your opinion, act the way you do, and believe what you believe was earned by others who do what people cannot, will not, or choose not to do. There are worse places on this planet to live, and freedom isnt free.

    • Jake says:

      Sorry, thatarmyguy, but if you can't tell the difference between a war that actually protects our freedoms (that I would be in favor of) and a war that doesn't (Afghanistan, Iraq), then you should move out of the country to somewhere that is more appreciative of warmongering. It's sad really, that people are so blind to the reality that warmongering is how empires fail. Every great empire (America is the latest in a long line) ends up running out of money by fighting wars in distant lands in the name of protecting the empire. If only we could learn from history. Need I remind you that another big empire (Russia) recently went bankrupt by fighting an endless war in Afghanistan. Look at the French, the British, the Romans, the Dutch, the Greeks. They all fell by fighting unnecessary wars. The truth is, my willingness to question these endless wars is more patriotic and will ultimately preserve the freedom you enjoy more than your support for military operations all over the earth. If we follow your pro war mantra, America will eventually collapse, something foreseen by Eisenhower. We need to end these wars, and ignore the propaganda that supports them (like this movie).

      Freedom is not free (a true statement), but can be lost through unnecessary wars. You should read some history. It would help you to be more wise. As it is, you dishonor all the men who died to actually gain our freedoms. You want to fight a war for our freedoms? Turn your ire on the TSA, not the wise people who are trying to keep our country together.

  • PTC says:

    Truth is, Act of Valor is #1. It may be uncomfortable to watch and very hard to grade for a number of reasons... but it has a deeper message even if/ because it is a recruiting and propaganda film. A message about our society, and the men we have ordered to go into harms way for us for over a decade. The power of elite units and this brazen success to manipulate this median and control the narrative to their advantage may make us uncomfortable, but it should not be ignored or belittled. No matter how much critics are uncomfortable about the fact that this is an information warfare strike in which these “actors” are playing a vital role.

    You can feel the critics hesitation as they ponder this encroachment into the public space that feels wrong. These men do not care about the critics, they care about the mission. This mission (movie) will produce the results it is trying to accomplish. It will push an image to a massive audience, help recruit minorities and protect funding, with an acceptable risk of collateral damage to the brand. Mission success!

    If nothing else, you have to admire the skill in this demonstration of raw image control. “Hoo yah” to that! May the “Teams” and the Navy reap the benefits with as little negative image blowback as possible. “The only easy day, was yesterday.” Enlist today!

  • str8jkt82 says:

    served in beruit 83-84 was on station for the twa hijacking in 85 this movie was pretty close to my experiences at some points uncomfortable it just seems that the people who whine and moan about it probably never served or been there or done that

  • str8jkt82 says:

    i bet if this movie portrayed the SEALS as a bunnch of sadistic killers and the terrorists as freedom fighters you enlightened people would think it was the best movie ever made just makes me wonder

    • Elmore says:

      Nice logical fallacy. You just made up a situation that would never happen (no American would want to see a movie demonizing the troops) and used to smear a person you disagree with.

      Here, I can play too:

      "I bet if at the end of The Help, black people were forced back into slavery, Republicans would think it is the best movie ever made just makes me wonder."

      See how easy, lazy and intellectually dishonest that is?

  • So, a few people here say the movie is "unrealistic" eh? Let me ask them this, "were you ever in the SEALs? Do you know what a mission with the SEALs is really like?" Secondly, did you bitch when Top Gun came out in the 80's? Probably not because you were too turned on by men with no shirts playing volleyball. Top Gun encouraged me to actually join the Air Force (not the Navy), and I was already thinking about it years before as a 5th grader. And guess what? I served and did a great job. Got the medals and everything including the pride to know I preserved your right to get on these forums and state your opinions. And I'm glad you do. I just wish you would research reality better and get a grip on the whole picture surrounding your existence before speaking with such a lack of education.

    I think Act of Valor was a great movie. Not about chiseled avatars like the reviewer wishes for (which would really make the movie "unrealistic"), but more about the actual human beings they are doing a job they signed up for. They have families just like you and me. Just like police officers and fire fighters. But yet again I never hear complaints about cop movies being "unrealistic" and we have better access to the reality of their work than we do the SEALs. Think before you speak next time please. You make us REAL Americans look stupid.

  • qman says:

    “Let me clue you in, Tinseltown,” Schlichter writes, “‘Act’ is an unapologetically pro-military movie that doesn’t have to pretend that the greatest threat to America is space aliens. It’s got action – holy cow, does it have action. It’s got emotion – real emotion, not that hacky ‘emotional conflict’ cookie cutter crap that your screenwriting seminars push. And it’s got this thing called ‘moral clarity.’

    He continues, “There’s no bogus back story to the villains about how Americans were mean to them, or how their daddies didn’t hug them enough or how global warming destroyed their petting zoo. … The jihadi/drug dealing villains in ‘Act’ murder little kids with car bombs. They use power drills to torture women. They want to butcher Americans here in our country. Just like in real life. Except – and this is key – ‘Act of Valor’ isn’t afraid to say so. You are. Evil corporations, neo-Nazis, little green men – you’ll have anyone as the villain except the real villains who we are really at war against today.

    “But the American people see through it,” he concludes. “They know who the real enemy is. And, moreover, they love our military and our troops.”


  • shanita says:

    Look advanced to more added agreeable from you!

  • Cid says:

    We have the best military but god is this movie full of shit. I literally saw a troop get shot with a rocket launcher in the stomach and he just brushed it off, might as well throw a toothpick at the bad guys neck afterwards to kill him! Acting was horrible and extremely cheesy. This movie was just made to get stupid teenagers with no lives to join the army. 2/10*.