By Hemanth Kissoon
“Trust me, we’re always trying to get home.”
Do you enjoy BATTLEFIELD 3 or games of that ilk? If so, you might see some techniques and motifs carried over. ACT OF VALOUR could be joined together footage that links game play. Cinema borrowing from its video game sibling is nothing new – RESIDENT EVIL, SILENT HILL and PRINCE OF PERSIA to name a few, though they were established properties. Here, we have filmmakers who seem to have combined that sensibility of kinetic action without characterisation, and a recruitment video for the army. Luckily the movie is patriotic without being jingoistic. We watch active navy seals mixing it up with professional actors in a film “based on real acts of valour”. Is that the loosest “based on” ever?
Navy seals are sent into Costa Rica on a rescue mission, which evolves into a wider hunt for terrorists. That’s really all the plot is. The dialogue and acting are woeful. ACT OF VALOUR is devoid of shades of grey, or internal conflicts, or complications; contrast THE UNIT television show. The baddie is comical – he uses an ice-cream van to blow up school kids. We get it. He has no morality.
On paper a straight-to-home-rental release wouldn’t have surprised me. However, why the three stars for entertainment? I am an action film junkie. The set-pieces are fantastic. Many filmmakers can learn from the energy, pacing, choreography and camerawork. There are stunts and sets, refreshing in the cacophony of drab CGI. The budget is utilised remarkably. Reportedly $15 million, it looks far more expensive. And that’s purely where the three stars for entertainment comes from. Avoid if you don’t care about action flicks.