Entertaining Platt: Act of Valor

February 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

No talking in this scene. We're good!

Look, I have nothing but the greatest admiration for the SEAL teams who risk – and sometimes sacrifice – life and limb to protect our country. But just as I wouldn’t really want to rely on Leonardo DiCaprio or Johnny Depp to deal with a real terrorist threat, I think it’s a mistake to put the dramatic success of a patriotic action flick in the hands of people who aren’t actors.

The one person in the movie who really can act, Nestor Serrano, is dead within the first 15 minutes. So we’re left to ride out the rest of the movie with the rookies.

It’s especially difficult to pull this off, I think, when the stars of the movie are given rather horrible clunky dialogue to work with. I’m pretty sure Kenneth Brannagh would choke on these lines too. And what little story exists to pull the movie together has no surprises and, in fact, telegraphs the final punch from the first frames.

Act of Valor is at its best when everyone shuts the hell up and gets on with the missions, which is probably when the SEAL teams are at their best too. The problem with the missions, however, is that they play out like we’re watching a video game. It’s especially obvious when the camera goes into first-person “you are there” mode.

The action sequences are impressive, but I’d expect nothing less from a creative crew that did work as stunt men in the past. So, as an extended advertisement for the U.S. Navy SEALs, this movie’s second to none. It’s a great tribute to the soldiers who put their lives on the line in the name of freedom. But it’s rather slim on entertainment value.

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