Act Of Valour Review: America, F*ck Yeah!
That Act Of Valour is being used in an initiative by the US Navy to recruit more troops it’s somewhat unsurpising that it features lashings of patriotic gung-ho action, borderline jingoism and less subtlety than Flavor Flav’s wardrobe.
When an undercover agent (Roselyn Sanchez) is kidnapped and tortured by an unscrupulous Central American gang, Navy SEALs Rorke and Dave are sent in with the rest of their team to rescue her. After recovering a mobile phone from one of the kidnappers they find that they’ve been working with Christo (Alex Veadov), an arms dealer with ties to Shabal (Jason Cottle), an extremist who has plans to destroy the US mainland with a brand new type of super-explosive hidden inside suicide bomber vests.
Act Of Valour is the kind of film that has to be enjoyed ironically as there really isn’t any other way. The dialogue is dreadful and as all the SEALs are played by real-life soldiers the delivery is so wooden that it’s often hilarious – straight-faced voice-overs musing on the nature of duty and sacrifice; stilted expository exchanges and scenes which could have been lifted from the intentionally tongue-in-cheek FMV sequences from the Command & Conquer videogame series. Half the time there’s the expectation that Team America’s “America, Fuck Yeah!” will start playing in the background.
What don’t disappoint are the action sequences. The rescue mission is genuinely hair-raising – truck convoys rumbling through the jungle while they take heavy fire – and culminates in a gunboat-assisted fire-fight on a beach which is frankly awesome. It’s frequently shot through point of view through gun sights and could frequently be mistaken for the next instalment of the Battlefield or Call Of Duty series – its target audience is never less than perfectly clear. Given a bit more thought, equating real-life soldiering with video game fantasy is rather sinister, especially considering the film’s intent.
Analysis of the plot is almost pointless. Its characters are saddled with such black and white morality that they’re impossible to take seriously. The American soldiers are whiter than white with not even a dissenting thought or political comment between them. Similarly the bad guys are portrayed as so unfathomably evil (an early sequence has Shabal blow up a school of children using an explosively-armed ice-cream van for Chrissakes), that they’re reduced to caricatures.
For balls-out action Act Of Valour certainly gets a pass, it just falls flat on its face in every other aspect.