By John Delia
Feb 24, 2012 09:01 AM EST

Act of Valor Theatrical Review

An Act of Valor is a must see!
Act of Valor Theatrical Review
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They're not actors, directors Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh did not want them to be.  The main characters in the movie Act of Valor are real Navy SEALs and they perform like one of the best freedom fighter units that the United States could ever produce.  The film does more than entertain; it gives Americans a chance to see what the armed forces are doing to protect their freedom up close and personal.
Act of Valor puts the audience inside one of the most amazing military units in the world. The Navy SEALs are a specially trained military outfit that gets assignments in various aspects of the defense of our nation.  Whether a secret mission behind enemy lines, capturing enemy targets, or collecting intelligence at impossible odds, this unit of the Navy is always ready. 
In this story we find a squad of the SEALs with names like A.J., Dave, Ray, Lyons and L.T. being dispatched on a manhunt to track down extremist after discovering a deadly terrorist plot against the United States. From the moment the movie begins to the heartfelt ending McCoy and Waugh set a rigorous pace involving every aspect of a real military strike that would be needed to take down these terrorists. The outcome if they do not succeed has been deemed more treacherous than the attack on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, so the bar has been set very high for this dangerous challenge.
The production shows a chilling account of the mission with the SEALs in action under live fire, jumping out of airplanes, walking though difficult terrain, breaking into buildings and firing thousands of rounds of ammunition.  The close-up of the action produces so much realism that I could ‘feel' the explosions and ricocheting sounds of the bullets off the walls.  The relentless attacks create an aura of being in battle under extreme conditions.  Breathtaking, mesmerizing and courageous, the work this group of men performs far outweighs anything I have seen on the screen.
McCoy and Waugh keep the story realistic never missing a beat or moving off the relentless path that the two directors create.  Once they set the mission in motion it's non-stop action, stealth invasions and firestorm attacks. They move their cameras into the action in ways that made me shudder.  Looking down the barrel of a sniper rifle gave me chills knowing the next sound would be the thud of the bullet hitting the human target.  Although the story borders on Hollywood fantasy don't think for a minute that it couldn't be real as this heart-pumping operation showing the tactics, techniques and bravery of our men under fire isn't far fetched.
The military used in the film are not polished actors, but that makes the production even more realistic.  I like that orders and signals between squad members are succinct, direct and probably the way they would really be delivered. In Act of Valor you are witnessing how an attack really goes down, proper use of weapons, the quick reactions to peril and the valiant bravery, it's not Stallone and Stratham in The Expendables. 
Act of Valor has been rated R by the MPAA for strong violence including some torture, and for language.  The film gets very intense and may be scary for immature viewers so use caution in your decision to take anyone under 17 to a showing.  The movie was filmed in Cambodia, California, Florida, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Mississippi and Ukraine.
FINAL ANALYSIS: An Act of Valor is a must see.  To the Navy SEALs your film gets an A for Aggression (invasion with power), an A for being Adept (an expert warrior), A for Able (being crafty and intelligent), A for being Absolute (perfection in your unquestioned duties), A for Ability (the skills you show against the enemy), A for Alertness (always prepared), A for Assault (always covertly attacking), A for Audacity (facing the enemy with bravery), A for Autonomy (keeping our country free), and most of all an A for Amazing (because SEALs are incredible, remarkable, and extraordinary).
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MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 101 minutes
Distributed By: Relativity Media

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About John Delia

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John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business over his lifetime from writing for newspapers to film making. He has been a film critic for many years and earned his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Florida. John is also a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) which is comprised of more than 40 journalists working in the print, radio and online media. Read more reviews and content by .

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