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Update: Act of Valor

Posted By Froggy • [October 13, 2011]

Let me interject here on this film as I have seen it in its entirity.  My understanding of the evolution of this project is that NSW began working with Bandido Brothers on this as a brief recruiting video similar to this one that they did for the SWCC guys.  At some point, NSW determined that there was potential here for a full length feature film that would essentially provide a "Top Gun" type analogue for the Teams to really juice recruiting, but without all of the gay Tom Cruise histrionics.  I am not completely sure why the Navy let this happen, and my assumption is that there were strong personalities behind this that got it approved.  I am also not sure whether or not it should have been made.  The guys in the film would say the same thing as they all refused to do it for almost a year before the powers that be in NSW impressed upon them that they would be doing something important for the Teams.

It has already been alleged on movie buff blogs (that I started monitoring after watching this last February) that this is a straight up propaganda film made to glorify war, Jesus, and Halliburton (not necessarily in that order).  This meme is going to be more mainstream now that the trailer is out, and people can see just how awesome this film is going to be.  The case will be bolstered (falsely) by the fact that reviewers are going to quickly note that there is no second guessing by the operators about what they are doing and who they are doing it to.  There is no renegade douchebag (Charlie Sheen) character fighting his demons and endangering his comrades.  In fact, what this movie really does well aside from the amazing action scenes is to capture the general attitude and tenor of SEALs in their natural habitat as it were.  That is not to say that guys don't get in bar fights or DUI's or get divorced or whatever, just that this film is focused on a deployed platoon with plenty of work to do.

Let me also add that the cost of doing business in NSW is in no way hidden from view and that includes the cost to families as well.  These costs are shown in explicit detail enough to make a guy like me watching it tear up pretty good.  The SEAL lifestyle portrayed in the film is pretty accurate if not complete, and the considerable sacrifices made by SEALs with respect to their lives and family's lives is hammered home with authority. 

My best friend in the Navy is in this film and he invited me to join his family to screen it last Spring.  I don't think I have ever sat still bursting with pride for such a long time in my life.  I have personally served with three of the "stars" of this film and they are pretty much who they are in real life in the movie.  I don't see any Best Actor nominations in the offing, but my buddy's interrogation scene on the yacht is really quite outstanding.

Nearly all of the action sequences are performed with live ammunition delivered on target by real operators.  The impact of that combination raises the quality of those scenes by an order of magnitude.  You will notice the difference.  Bandido Brothers shot this thing with a lot of helmet cams and from angles and perspectives that I have never seen before.  Check that.  Never seen before in a movie.  I have lived those scenes and watching a movie that is so close to my own recollection of operating is pretty cool, but kind of strange.  Parts of it have a distinct first person shooter video game feel, and I'm sure that gamers are going to love this movie for that reason alone. 

The overall plot of the film is fictional, but the scenario is all too real as we have recent news of Iran using Mexican drug cartels as facilitators.  The individual hits that the platoon performs however incorporate real SEAL Team scenarios from the GWOT that close watchers of the Teams (and every SEAL) will notice.  The one scene in the film that I didn't like also made it into the trailer and I kind of hope it doesn't make it into the movie.  I call it the "Sea Monster" scene where the Platoon Chief catches the bad guy following a sniper shot and pulls him underwater.  That shit doesn't happen.  Aside from that, the TTPs are all very good representations with some things held back for OPSEC. 

While the guys in the film will not be compensated in any way from this film (which I think is bull$hit), there will be some portion of the proceeds donated to military charities certainly including the Navy SEAL Foundation.  Obviously, I am strongly biased to like this film, but the action alone is well worth the ride.  If you happen to identify with the guys and their mission along the way, all the better. 


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