Act Of Valour Movie Review
Long-time friends and colleagues Rorke and Dave assemble their team of experts to rescue an undercover agent (Sanchez) who's been kidnapped by a Central American gang. After decimating the baddies and rescuing the hostage, it becomes clear that the gang is linked to a vicious Chechen terrorist (Cottle) who's working with a notorious arms dealer Christo (Veadov) to attack America in a way that makes "9/11 seem like a walk in the park". While the clock ticks, the Seals travel the world and deploy all kinds of whizzy military gadgetry to stop the nefarious plan.
The film is shot with hand-held urgency that really captures the precarious nature of each action set-piece, often with exhilarating results. Watching these efficient soldiers get where they need to be and then get out again really gets our pulses racing, and since these are real operatives, the scenes have an usually visceral resonance. But this only makes the dramatic scenes feel all the more ridiculous by comparison.
Not only does screenwriter Johnstad ham-fistedly pack every conceivable international threat into one story, he fills the down-time with silly melodrama, such as the fact that Rorke's wife (Marshall) is newly pregnant.
These scenes are earnest that the non-actor cast doesn't have a chance. Rorke and Dave only get through it due to their inner charisma, while Van O adds an impressively bristly edge to an interrogation scene. But mostly if someone's talking we wish they were speaking with their guns.
Although the action isn't without problems. The film's slick urgency can't make up for a dubious premise in which self-proclaimed good guys are justified in shooting anyone who moves (except unarmed women of course). It certainly doesn't help when the filmmakers say they used live ammunition on set, or that the project started as a recruitment film, which explains why macho camaraderie is laid on with a trowel. And the assumption that America's holy war is more honourable than anyone else's might be too much for international audiences to swallow.