Monday, July 9, 2012

Act of Valor

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Act of Valor - 3 out of 5

It's common knowledge Hollywood is out of ideas--hell, I've said it in several reviews.  They love their prequels and sequels and they fall all over themselves for remakes, reboots, re-imaginings, re-dos, re-releases and re-hashes.  When the movies aren't scraping the bottom of the barrel, Hollywood is finding ways of shoving unimaginative crap down our throats through the use of gimmicks.  The idea is simple:  Take a genre-cliche movie and give it a hook that can--hopefully--be ignored by your average movie goer.  This idea gave birth to the "found footage" genre.

There's surfing in this movie?  Did the FBI pay this man to learn to surf like the great Johnny Utah?

The action genre is no stranger to the use of gimmicks.  Recently, we got a gimmick that looked like it was a fan-edit joke put on YouTube.  The concept was a bunch of aging action stars trying to do battle on arthritic joints begging for a bath in Bengay...and it somehow warranted a sequel where even more past their prime and frumpy looking action stars join it.  However, for Act of Valor, we're not treated with bad one-liners capable of making an entire decade's worth of action films shake their heads in disgust.  Instead, the movie is sold on the premise that the main roles are all played by real life Navy Seals.  However, the film's gimmick--like all movies based entirely on a single gimmick--becomes the film's Achilles' Heel.

I suddenly lost faith in the military as their recon work is done by planes you
buy at those mall kiosks.


Like the "found footage" genre, this movie's gimmick becomes the filmmaker's sole responsibility and the rest of the film suffers.  The story is the first to go as it is about as generic and flat as action stories go.  Ready for this...it's about some terrorists.  That's it.  Nothing deeper.  Nothing more complicated.  Just jihadists out to kill Americans.  It was like the screenwriter was trying to make Patriotic Porn for any Tea Party, Fox News Conservative to jerk off to while waving an American flag with an eagle with a mullet resting on top of it with their one free hand as they drive their Hummer down the road listening to Glenn Beck on the radio talking about how we need to cut teacher's pay before going on a tirade about how stupid our youth is and then ending by popping several dozen beers down their gullet (still driving) and yelling at the "queer" in the Prius to look at his hand written bumper sticker that says Obama is a socialist and completely unaware that the word "socialist" is misspelled.  Basically, using this movie to profit off the irrational and uneducated fears of the Muslim faith due to 9/11 is just a cheap trick to get the Patriotic love in the theater...something Toby Keith loves to do to sell records.  Have you heard his new single?  I think it's called "Let's Beat Our Wives Before We go to Iraq to Kill All the Towelheads (For America)."

This is the most convincing acting done through out the entire film...and it only lasts a single frame.

So, it was obvious they didn't care about the story because they had real Navy Seals in the movie and that'll get the Red Staters' asses to the theaters and they'll be too busy stroking their guns to notice how phoned-in and incredibly generic the film is.  But after seeing these service men in action in front of the camera, I can only hope they served this country better than they act...Yeesh!  Casting real Seals proved to be the film's undoing as their painfully obvious inability to act is more gruesome to sit through than watching The Human Centipede II...it was more painful to experience than having your teeth pulled by a pair of rusty pliers by a 300lbs. transvestite who, for leverage, makes sure to plant a knee in your private stuff so he can get a good yank!

The only real saving grave this movie has--and the only reason it got a "more than it deserved" 3 out of 5 and not a 2 or 1--is the action sequences.  Not only do they provide a break from the laughably flat story and atrocious acting, they are also exciting and look amazing as the directors (Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh--that's right, it took two men to make this generic piece of crap) put you, the viewer, into the battle and even throws in some great looking first-person perspective shots into it--but those made me realize I would have had a better hour and a half playing Call of Duty on X-Box Live than watching Act of Valor.  However, even though the film is sold on the concept it's suppose to be a realistic depiction of Navy Seals in action, the action scenes began to give off the feeling of being over-the-top...or maybe car chases through the jungle while being pursued by hundreds of faceless bad guys with aim that would make a stormtrooper laugh is a typical mission?  I don't know.  I'm weak and tend to get bloody noses a lot so I never enlisted.

Yep...should've played Call of Duty.

Act of Valor could have been a solid action movie if real actors--not real soldiers--were cast in the roles and some semblance of effort was put into the story.  However, like the "found footage" genre, the filmmakers were only playing the short game and were looking for their hook that gave them the most return with the minimum amount of effort.

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