Screening Room: ACT OF VALOR

(KTSF by Sean Au

A  fictional film using  real Navy SEALS.

A U.S. ambassador killed in the Philippines. A kidnapped CIA agent, tortured  in the hands of terrorists. A plot to smuggle suicide bombers through a tunnel under the U.S.-Mexican border. America faces an impending threat from a new wave of terror attacks. A team of Navy SEALS is assigned to rescue the hostage and thwart the terror attacks. Given that ACT OF VALOR comes  as  a Hollywood production, one can only imagine which party wins in the end, albeit not without a few lives sacrificed in the process.

The movie boasts of using real SEALS to portray the action protagonists. They are excellent in the action sequences, commanding our respect and admiration. It becomes somewhat trying when we get to to the dialogue scenes, making viewers appreciate the works of professional actors in Hollywood movies. Yet, we know very well that the movie is not sold on acting . It  is the action sequences that the filmmakers spare no expense in re-creating and bringing the action so close to us. A couple of sequences such as the river rescue and boarding a submarine emerging from underwater in the middle of the ocean, are especially impressive. At times, it feels like we are watching a  long-form recruitment video for the Navy SEALS, which is where the idea of the film originates from in the first place.

I have a serious bone to pick with the filmmakers though : The choice  of  shooting the film using the medium of video instead of film. While I can understand the fluidity and effective cost control in a multi-camera set up to capture the best of the action sequences, video exposes the medium’s shortcoming especially in paranomic scenes.

The film contains some cliches about valor, of course, and  the courage of these men. It is hard not to be moved by the risks they take and the sacrifices they make on a daily basis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Video courtesy of Relativity Media.

(Copyright 2012 KTSF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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