I saw Act of Valor this afternoon. A pretty good action movie on the surface. Nice set pieces and some good gun play. When the boats show up to exfil them on the first mission it is pretty cool. The banter is authentic and they do a good job of not making us follow too many characters. The movie centers around the leadership, and everything sort of filters down from there. They try to do a little character development at the start on a pretty contrived beach party scene. I can see a few of them getting together, but not the whole unit. These guys are going to live on top of each other for the next several months. The last thing they want to do is spend time together on their last night.
But I am nitpicking…
The movie has some great “first person” camera work. Kind of a mix between combat camera style footage and what you see on some of the extreme sports shows.
The plot comes from a story Richard Clarke wrote for the Atlantic a couple of years ago. A very real scenario, especially using Filipinos and the threat from the Pacific rim.
The bad guys are great and menacing. Nothing like throwing in some former Russian gangsters into the mix and the best villian out there is the Chechnyan Jihadist.
But my favorite scene was the interrogation on the yacht between the Russian gangster and the master chief. From the time the Master Chief steps on the deck of the yacht to the end, the movie was perfect. The dialogue was crisp and the way the Master Chief carries himself was beyond authentic. I know and I’ve talked to dudes just like him. By far my favorite part.
A couple of other quick observations…
1) The suicide vest stuff parts are scary and all to real.
2) The fact that this SEAL unit gets tapped to do some of the things they do in this movies stretches reality. I think some of these missions would likely go to JSOC and some of the other skilled operators in the military.
3) The idea that a team works because of a love of home and for the fact that guys fight for their brothers to their left and right was spot on and is stuff I’ve heard from units throughout the military.
4) I think for not being actors, these guys did a good job with the drama part of it. I know they didn’t have any problems with CQB or any of the jumps or diving. But some of the quiet scenes were good.
5) I don’t think the Navy recruiting office will be slow tomorrow. They are going to have a glut of dudes wanting to join the SEALs. From the parachute jumps, to the dives, to the action, the theater I was in was full of dudes who all talked about joining up as they walked out.
Two things to leave you with…
1) People clapped at the end.
2) When do the Green Berets get their turn?