ACT OF VALOR
cast: Navy Seals
Since the cast consists of real life Navy Seals, it’s difficult to follow each character and their part within this fictionalized account of what heroes do while we’re safe at home. There’s one guy with a low voice who narrates. He’s all man – a man’s man yet a tad philosophical. There's a nice guy with a pregnant wife. And the tough leader who, during an interrogation of a seedy millionaire aboard a yacht, provides the best acting overall. But there really doesn’t need much dialog when it’s mostly action (and not too much shaky cam) – although what would have fared better as a climax is put up front: The Navy Seals rescuing an imprisoned woman in the Philippines. This stealthy mission, beginning with a parachuting sequence and winding up a riveting truck chase along a narrow road, puts you on the edge of your seat. After which, while learning about the bad guys – one dimensional goons seeming fresh from a cable TV action flick – the stakes are raised… There’s a group of suicide bombers about to enter through the Mexican border strapped with explosives ala BLACK SUNDAY: once they blow up, a thousand deathly shards fly in all directions. It’s too bad this finale, revved-up as we learn a drug cartel could be involved, results in a rushed and – as far as one tragic casualty goes – predictable conclusion. And yet, since the real men are involved, the calculating missions never seem corny, clichéd, or melodramatic. But for fans of old school war flicks, this might also be a hindrance. After all, who doesn't need a cocky cigar-chomping womanizer or a boisterous comic relief? So next time, spice up that Apple Pie just a bit. Because while it's great to root for America, the individual characters are who we invest in.