28. Act of Valor (F)
Act of Valor
: Don't see this movie at a preview screening full of active duty Navy SEALs where it is impossible to emit the uproarious laughter this movie deserves. Actually, let me amend that: just don't see this movie. Apparently, the film began life as a short propaganda piece to encourage Navy recruitment, and as a feature film that remains its primary function. Unfortunately, the film is so poorly made that I doubt it will even succeed on that level for many viewers.
Let me explain. The film (at least, at the preview screening I attended) begins with a short introduction by the filmmakers explaining that they cast real life Navy SEALs (and their families) because real actors couldn't approach the genuine emotions of the SEALS and their families. How real Navy SEALs were supposed to express genuine emotions in a ridiculously made-up movie like this one is anyone's guess. Suffice it to say, they possess so little acting talent that the evil terrorists (and the film has them indiscriminately killing dozens of children and/or engaging in plenty of extramarital sex so that we know they're evil) are the only people in the movie to possess actual charisma. Propaganda fail.
(As an aside, apparently the lead character's voice over was deemed to be so terrible that an actual actor was brought in to re-record it for the movie's advertising; having heard the voice over in the movie, I can attest to this decision being the only one to make from an advertising perspective. It's worse than Harrison Ford's lamented delivery in the theatrical version of Blade Runner
And make no mistake -- this is nothing but propaganda. Although the action is often shot and cut so poorly (with a 1-2-3 combination of poor lighting, shaky, hand-held photography, and frenetic editing) that it is incomprehensible, our heroes never ever make a mistake. There is no such thing as friendly fire, and they would never shoot a civilian by mistake. They're equipment (always state of the art, and always working correctly) never, ever malfunctions. And unless they're heroically jumping on a grenade to save their buddies (seriously), they're invulnerable. One of them gets shot in the face, another gets shot repeatedly in the torso at point blank range, and another gets shot at point blank range by an RPG (it's a dud, of course). They all make it (okay, the RPG guy may be the one who jumps on a grenade later on, but they're so interchangeable that it doesn't make a difference).
They're also perfectly mixed when it comes to race (and not a single inter-personal conflict arises). Of course, the guys in charge are all white dudes.
The movie possesses no virtues, and makes you long for the days when right-wing propaganda was at least slickly produced, like Dirty Harry
or even Rambo: First Blood Part II
Theatres: 11 +1
Home Video: 16