SEAL: Jason Cottle in Act of Valor.

DIRECTORS: Mike McCoy, Scott Waugh

CAST: Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano, Emilio Rivera


RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes

RATING: 2 stars

Theresa Smith

WOODEN acting meets overblown cinematography in a movie designed to persuade you that the American armed forces are amazing.

They may even be amazing in real life, who knows? But this film is clichéd, stilted and a load of chauvinistic flag-waving of the lowest order.

The film is billed as an adrenalin-fuelled fictional account of real Navy Seal operations. Well, TV series drawing on non-fictional accounts are more adrenalin pumping than what you see here. It draws on all the hackneyed screen images created by war films and seems less real for it.

It turns the act of war into a glossy adventure and in no way delves into the complexity of people at war.

We follow a group of soldiers as they prepare to rescue a kidnapped CIA operative, rescue said operative, and then follow up on information gleaned from this operative.

The actors are a mix of unknown non-actors and almost-knowns who make a living out of playing B-grade stock characters.

So… Nestor Serrano? Nope, the name means nothing, but say he’s one of the cops in ‘Bad Boys’ and you’ll get a knowing nod. Roselyn Sanchez? She’s officer Delgado from TV’s ‘Without a Trace’ and here she plays the kidnapped CIA operative. Ssso, look Ma, a woman needs rescuing from the guys carrying guns by guys carrying guns.

The bad guys are all from the Middle East or Russia and have terrible accents (as in, badly done) and are totally anti-American because America being the land of the brave is just such a target for democracy-hating Muslims – at least that’s what this film seems to be saying.

There’s no characterisation, no shades of political shenanigans, no depth, no analysis, no meat. It’s twilight on the beach scenes, followed by “dramatic” let’s catch a submarine moments and then we’re off to the jungle because if you’re not American, you clearly live in a jungle. And then they start on a Doom-style role player game first-person mode, I kid you not.

The funny thing though is, as one-dimensional as the bad guys are, the good guys are just as one-dimensional as they torture the bad guys and swear in unimaginative ways.

If this film was meant to recruit people to the American army, we can only hope that this particular army doesn’t exist in real life. Give me ‘Top Gun’ and ‘The A-Team’ any day.

The real Navy Seals, frustrated by how they were being portrayed and invited to take part in the filming (according to, did not realise that a film is not real life, that’s what documentaries are for.

Still, it is isn’t a total dud because it turns the screen Taylors (Kitsch and Lautner) into amazing actors and films like Transformers into masterpieces of propaganda for truth, might and the American way.

If you liked… ‘Top Gun’ or ‘The Hurt Locker’… don’t watch this.