Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Act of Valor, a review by Al Menconi

Act of Valor
By Al Menconi, Al Menconi Ministries, AlMenconi.com, February 9, 2012

I can sum up the review of Act of Valor in one word.  WOW!  That was the most intense, exciting, and interesting film I have seen in a while. Before I finish my review, I must offer two caveats.
  1. It earned its R-rating because of the killing and intense action scenes.
  2. There were a few profane words that would make it R-rated. 

I normally don’t attend R-rated films, nor do I recommend them.  The last R-rated film I watched and reviewed was The Passion of Christ.  Of course I’m not putting Act of Valor in the same league as The Passion but I am recommending Act of Valor with the above cautions.

Before the credits and title came on the screen, the film started with the two directors, Scott Waugh and Mike McCoy, coming on the screen and speaking directly to the audience.  I hope they keep that segment in the public film as it gave the viewer a different perspective of what to expect. 

Waugh and McCoy wanted to put the audience in the boots of the Navy SEALs, and give them an authentic visceral experience that would take action films to a new level.  They accomplished their goal!  I have NEVER seen a movie like this.  While it did show bloody “kill shots,” they weren’t gruesome nor did they show gratuitous violence that is so prevalent in R-rated films and on some TV crime shows.     

What Act of Valor did show was eight active duty SEALs and on missions compiled from actual US Navy SEAL missions. The result is a pulse-pounding entertainment that never lets you go.  It was filmed in such a way – they must have had mini cameras on their helmets – that I actually felt like I was part of the rescue team.  I knew I was safely seated in the theater, but a number of times I found myself tense and holding my breath in anticipation of an encounter with the enemy. 

I won’t spoil the story but the action sure seemed real with all the side stories connecting into a “ripped from the headlines” story that seemed all too believable.  I can’t tell you the number of times I sucked in my breath and exhaled with an “Oh wow!” 

Not only did it show a very believable inner sanctum of the SEALs, it showed how they interacted with and were supported by their families. They were real family men who have a job to protect and rescue Americans in this war on terrorism.  This is the first “war” movie since John Wayne died that made me proud to be an American. 

Someone asked me if Act of Valor was “balanced.” I don’t really know what she meant by balanced, but it seems that when our national news agencies mention war they are careful to be politically correct so as to not offend “the enemy.”  If you are looking for that type of balance, this ain’t the movie for you.  It is pro American and it identifies the enemy and kills them before they able to kill the innocent.    In fact, the reality of this story is likely to encourage the viewer to become more politically aware. 

I know many of my readers will criticize me for recommending a R-rated movie, but I believe the “take away” is worth it.  This is NOT the normal R-rated movie.  I wouldn’t recommend it for preteens but if your teens have played war video games, they have seen much more violence and profanity than this movie shows.  If you don’t want to see killing in time of war, do not attend this movie.  You are free to choose.  And this movie shows how the Navy SEALs are helping America maintain that freedom to choose. 
Official Trailer for Act of Valor

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