Movie Review: Act of Valor

Act-of-Valor

Navy Seals.

What comes to mind when you hear that phrase?
Elite?
America’s best?
The ultimate solider?

Well, those are some word to come to my mind…

This film explores the lives of Seals in a single squad. Their mission? There are plenty. At home, they put their training behind them and focus on the precious moments they have with their family. Abroad, they focus on their mission, to protect the family they love at home.

It is an incredibly tough and dangerous life to be a Navy Seal, to be a good one, would take an Act of Valor.

Things I liked

One key point this film drive home again and again, is it is crucial to have a strong family. Many times buddies in the squad volunteered to send a man home, so he could be with his family during an important time. Act of Valor is a tale of a group of guys who have families just like us, and serve our country in an extraordinary way. The fact they put such a large amount of focus on strong families ties was to me, amazing. One quote I remember was “Guys, if you are having any problems at home, you need to man up and take care of them. We don’t need those distractions when we hit the ground.” There’s a lot of truth in that little statement, and advice to be heeded for any guy with a family.

The Seals themselves are honorable, loyal, and even courteous. Even when the battle ensues, that take care to only attack the people with guns, and negotiate when possible. When men are injured, no one gets left behind. They know when to have fun with each other, and when to buckle down and get the job done. One seal gives his life for the others, and others continually watch each other’s back. There is a brotherhood seen among the Seals, and made me proud to be part of a country that has such men as those serving us in that way.

(not really a spoiler, but does describe a scene in detail)
One scene in particular I loved, was in an interrogation with a head enemy of America. They talked until it became clear he was not going to give information without a more pressing cost.
So the seargent pulls out his iphone, and shows the man a video of him and his seven year old daughter swimming in a pool.
The enemy tears up  and says “you would hurt my family?”
The Sergeant leans in close and says “I would never touch your family, but I want you to think of that little girl, and what her life would be like without her father…..”

This little scene made Seals to me not only ones who are the best fighters in the world, but also the most humane. Sometimes it doesn’t take physical threats… merely imposed self inflection.

There are tons more things I could go over regarding the Seals and their character, but am stopping there. Simply put, they are shown to be soliders of honor and looked up to. Perhaps something we have lost in this day and age in which we live.

The main enemies of America are Muslim extremists. I will say however, this movie did a very good job at making a point not all muslims are like that. In actuality, they are extremely rare.

Things I didn’t like.

The cussing: I know, once again, this is a war movie, but still… hearing the F word, S—-, a– d—, and more over and over… got really painful to listen to. Christs name is used profanely a few times, and some guys make crude references to body parts.

The Violence…
Where to begin? Well, there is person who is tortured in absolutely horrid ways. Hung from the ceiling and punched continually, a power drill used on their hands and feet, (we don’t see this, but we do hear the screams, and see the bloodbath afterwards)…

The rescue ensues, and dozens of men are sniped in the head, with blood splattering against the wall.  One seal gets shot in the head, causing a severe injury. Enemies are blown to bits in a truck pursuit.

Another scene has an offscreen explosion, where several hundred children are killed. It fades out with one child screaming and running with his arm blown off.

A man is shot point blank in the head, blood splatters….

Dozens more enemies throughout the movie on a boat… in tunnels… on the street… are all gunned down, fragged, and exploded. Blood is present in every death, spraying others, walls, etc..

A suicide bomber kills herself. We see the explosion, and the aftermath…

A Seal is killed, and a large pool of blood collects around his body.

So, as you can read, this movie has a ton of violent content. While painful to watch, in some ways I begin to understand more and more, war is not a thing of glory like some movies portray. It is nasty, dirty, and while victory may be won. The cost, even if just one man, is a terrible thing to pay.

There is about a 20 second close up of a woman in a bikini… Totally unnecessary.

Other things you should be aware of

The Seals drink and smoke at times for pleasure.

My Closing Thoughts

Today we are saturated with violent and war movies. To often I think, I gloss over them as entertainment, not giving real thought to people who are affected, or who’s lives are touched when fighting that war.

Act of Valor made me think, long and hard, about what our military has done in the past, but also about the people serving today. This movie shows that, contrary to what the media might say, honor is still present in our military. Standards and rules are still followed. And men still sacrifice everything for the protection of our borders and the people who live inside them.

So if you can wade through the depths of blood, bear the constant assault of cussing on your eardrums, and watch the deaths of hundreds of people…

You will find a movie that brings back a positive light to those who serve our country, men who love and are truly good stewards of their house, and ones willing to carry out the greatest sacrifice one can make for the protection of others.

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