Act of Valor Is Glorified Recruitment Ad
Reviews not kind for movie shot with real Navy SEALs
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Feb 24, 2012 1:20 PM CST
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(Newser) Act of Valor certainly has an attention-grabbing premise—it's a fictional war movie, but it stars real Navy SEALs, was shot using live ammo, and says it is based on true events. But critics aren't exactly lining up to salute. Here's what they're saying:

  • "The film began as a recruitment video for the Navy and more or less wound up that way," writes Kyle Smith of the New York Post. "I'm not going to say Act of Valor oversimplifies manly bravado, but Sylvester Stallone just called to say there's more to war than square-jawed warriors shooting villains in the teeth."

  • "The villains come across as individuals rather more compellingly than do the film's ostensible heroes," writes Nick Pinkerton of the Village Voice. The SEALs don't get any individual characterization, and their dialogue "has, one suspects, the same relation to the real thing as the network-television mic'd talk of football players does to an actual, unobserved huddle."
  • Roger Ebert couldn't help comparing the movie to the documentary Hell and Back, which features real combat scenes, and focuses on a soldier actually wounded in Afghanistan. "If you asked Sgt. Nathan Harris what he thought about using live ammo in a Hollywood movie … my best guess is, he would say they were damned fools."
  • But Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe liked it. Sure the acting is wooden—"When these men speak, you suddenly realize how uniquely good those Ents were in Lord of the Rings"—but the action is thrilling, and, thanks to the grace of the SEALs, "there is beauty in this movie that you’d never experience in any film starring Chuck Norris or Michael Dudikoff."

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Showing 3 of 25 comments
Mar 7, 2012 5:27 PM CST
pssst..... its just a movie....... psssst.......don't get all worked up over fiction......
Feb 25, 2012 5:46 PM CST
I must admit, I'm not sure comfortable I feel about marketing "real" war stories as fictional movies. How long until we just strap a camera to someone's helmet and cheer as he or she goes off to kill some people? Documentaries are one thing (Restrepo, for instance, was amazing), as they actually have some sort of message or educational value, but mindless war is not entertainment, and if we are starting to see it as entertainment, then perhaps we should do some inward contemplation as to where we are going as a society.
Feb 25, 2012 8:00 AM CST
Here is a much better review of this movie: