Act of Valour
Are you one of those people who wondered if they were ever going to make
a film based on the hugely popular Call of Duty video game
franchise? Well, if you’re still hanging out for that to happen, why not
pick up a copy of Act of Valour? Directed by
Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh, this action war flick aims to put the viewer
into a real life soldier’s shoes, starring actual U.S. Navy SEALs and
crewman, in a race around the world to stop a dangerous terrorist
mission. Judging from the trailers, I was expecting to see an extremely
real and honest film about the struggles of war. After viewing Act of
Valour however, I can easily say that it is one of the most cliché,
predictable, and poorly made films I have seen this decade.
The one thing the film gets wrong right of the bat is the bizarre choice
to cast real Navy SEALs as the main characters. The acting on display
here is nothing short of awful. Dialogue is delivered flat and dry, even
by some of the trained actors, and symbolic messages are extremely
obvious and pointless in some scenes. I can’t really blame the SEALs for
their acting though, the blame should be targeted at McCoy and Waugh,
who while filming a production for use by the Navy SEALs thought that
using them in a multi-million dollar budget would be a good idea. Sadly,
the idea doesn’t work. The sense of realism they attempt to execute
through using real soldiers can be seen done right in films where no
real soldiers were seen on screen, such as The Hurt Locker.
The quality of the
footage looks fairly decent; various filters are put to good use to make
swampy marshes look dense and claustrophobic, and equatorial regions
feel hot and barren. The camera work is a different story though. Nearly
every scene contains a first person view of the scenario, from breaking
into the enemy’s hideout to riding a bike through the city. It’s an
obvious attempt of immersion, however from someone like me who
frequently plays first-person shooters like previously mentioned Call
of Duty; it feels more like the film is solely appealing to that
audience. The film is a messy product because of this, an editor’s
nightmare that turned out for the worse.
The surprise feature
about the release of Act of Valour on Blu-ray is the special
features included on the disc. As well as having access to a digital
copy of the film, there is commentary, deleted scenes, interviews with
the Navy SEALS, trailers, music videos and more. There’s some definite
value here if you’re a fan of the film.
Action films have
every right to be mindless and cliché, but a film like Act of Valour
cannot have this privilege, as it insists that it gives a true
insight into what life as a Navy SEAL is; it’s far from it.
Unintentionally cheesy and far too familiar, this is one “act of valour”
no-one should take credit for.