I grade movies hard, kids. I try to support films and undermine them depending on what side of the political spectrum that I know they are on. For example, I won’t be buying Leonardo DiCapricock’s “J. Edgar” liberal gravepissing off Instant Demand any time soon.
Act of Valor is something else though. Currently, the liberal critics sampled at Rotten Tomatoes are scoring it 31% while the users are rating it 85%. Quite a disconnect.
No, these critics want Hurt Locker-ish nuance. The kind of nuance that wins Oscars. Deep thoughts that portray our military as mindless adrenaline-fueled killbots who gleefully abandon their families and risk the lives of their fellow soldiers for the thrill of murdering some brown people because life so is like so pointless in America because we have 250 different kinds of breakfast cereal to choose from.
Seriously. Hurt Locker blows a syphilitic donkey named Pedro.
They need a film where the good guys swim in the gray and the bad guys really are justified in their hatred of us – like they are. Moreso, that they would prefer Real Actors ™ faking Real Soldier action rather than Real Soldiers pretending to be Real Actors ™. Because that’s just degrading to see the kind of people Obama handpicked to kill bin Laden prostituting their profession this way:
It’s undeniably reverent of the real-life heroes in its cast, but Act of Valor lets them down with a clichéd script, stilted acting, and a jingoistic attitude that ignores the complexities of war.
What? Some of the acting and script is a bit stilted. No more than say the script and dialogue of Aliens. But for a first outing, the directors did a fine job of addressing the complexities of war albeit from a vantage point traditionally ignored by Hollywood.
As far as “jingoistic attitude” goes, critics are correct that Act of Valor did not produce such heroic nuance like Matt Damon’s “Green Zone” where the audiences were supposed to be cheering when US soldiers were killed. The critics loved that one and the people left it like an ugly baby on the steps of every movie house it played.
From the Damning With Faint Praise Dept., Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers, frags:
And it’s hardly the fault of these commandos that their acting deserves no salute. In truth, they’re a lot better than Charlie Sheen was in the 1990 crapfest that was Navy SEALs. I don’t know what to make of Act of Valor. It’s like reviewing a recruiting poster.
Frankly, I’m surprised Travers can claim to have seen this movie at all given his field of vision at his advanced age from that far down the end of his nose. This isn’t a recruiting poster any more than “Alive” makes you want to join a Uruguayan rugby team.
This offering isn’t Apocalypse Now, it’s Apocalypse Eventually. Kick in the door waving an M4. A first person shooter with some of the best action sequences I’ve ever seen. At moments, the tension is as tight as a tourniquet. While the scenes between the Seals and their families isn’t as bad as anything Michael Bay has ever done, the Tom Clancy-like attention to technical details makes up for the lack of Delta Strike Force diaperchanging at home.
There were moments in the theater that were so silent you could hear a shell casings drop.
Definitely worth a look.
7.5 out of a possible 10 sausage links.