The U.S. Navy-approved multi-bucks recruitment film features actual SEALs (Sea, Air and Land) teams going through the motions in ways that would impress Superman. The guys who got Osama bin Laden are so effective, it makes you wonder why we have thousands of our troops fight the world’s wars. Why not leave it to these few good men to do it all?
The problem is that filmmakers Mike “Mouse” McCoy and Scott Waugh decided to use the real SEALs rather than Bruce Willis-Tom Cruise movie actors. Whether you like them or not, the Hollywood hunks can make even dopey lines snap. Such snapping is unfortunately left to the bad guys, Jason Cottle as Chechen terrorist Abul Shabel and Alex Veadov as Christo, a slick Russian smuggler. Between eye-popping explosion-shoot-out sequences and the villains roaring at each other, we’re left with dead-air dialogue from the poor SEALs, who reportedly would rather step in front of an AK-47 than a camera.
Still, global hunts to save a captured CIA operative (Roselyn Sanchez) and halt a 9/11-level atrocity involving undetectable ball-bearing suicide vests are non-stop thrill rides. Also fascinating is the SEALs’ extraordinary strategic and logistical skill catching and killing the baddies at lightening-fast speed anywhere and everywhere. Our heroes can even walk underwater across a river without scuba gear and prevent a just-felled sentry from making a splash.
If this SEAL military magic is true, the free world is safe. Yet, “Act of Valor” does not forget that the good guys have personal lives. Death hits hard for their wives, children and beloved brother SEALs. The final funeral scene of a key character who sacrifices himself on a grenade to save his buddies is a big-time tear-jerker.