Action & Valor
Looking at the cast list for "Act of Valor" may leave you perplexed; who are Dave, Sonny, Weimy and Ray as these are not names of Hollywood stars. These are the names given for real Navy SEALS as this is what the hook is for "Act of Valor", we have real Navy SEALS appearing in an action movie. It is an interesting hook because on one hand it makes this a far more real experience with action which feels both natural and brutal but it also comes at the expense of story telling making "Act of Valor" not the easiest movie to follow or to be honest to get into.
Now what we get in "Act of Valor" is two stories and the first of which involves the capture of a CIA agent somewhere in Central America. Her kidnappers are terrorists who are not prone to beating the crap out a woman, as I said this movie is brutal. What we watch in this first story is the work of the Navy SEALS to rescue her taking us from the debriefing through the actual rescue and so on.
Now in fairness we have a storyline but we don't have characters, we have a group of tough SEALS who rib each other and risk their lives on this machine which sees them parachute in. Because we don't get to know the people there is no real connection to the characters, no sense of depth of emotion just a group of highly trained and highly patriotic men doing their duty. It is what lets the movie down because with out characters to truly connect with the storyline it self is not always easy to follow although at the same time the characters act in a more believable way.
But whilst "Act of Valor" has some very clear issues which unsurprisingly also includes the acting the action will blow you away. Put simply the action feels very real, be it the slow swoop into the target area, the gathering of intel through to the actual violence and escape. If only they could have combined this level of authenticity with characters and a narrative which doesn't feel out of control then "Act of Valor" would have been both immense and intense.
What this all boils down to is that "Act of Valor" is very a much for fans of action movies but it is also an interesting experience with the hook of it featuring actual Navy SEALS rather than actors adding something extra to the mix.