Published Feb 23, 2012Before Act of Valor dives into its unintentionally amusing male supremacy routine, directors Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh offer a little insight on the project to the audience, pointing out that the actors are real Navy SEALs, adding a level of authenticity and true-to-life emotion actors could never convey.
And if by "authenticity" they mean awkward posturing and exceedingly wooden delivery of dialogue with constant "high school play" head bobs to substitute for the gamut of human complexities a real actor might express, then they're bang-on.
Since the premise of the movie is just a flimsy excuse for gratuitous combat action ― the men of Bandito Platoon go on a mission to rescue a kidnapped C.I.A. operative (Roselyn Sanchez), only to discover a bigger terrorist plot ― the inability to convey narrative and character complexity is somewhat of a moot point.
When not focusing on close-ups of Sanchez's bruised face or mangled hands, this ersatz, humourless Team America: World Police follows our knuckle-dragging heroes as they jump from helicopters, participate in sharpshooting and speed around waters with gigantic phallic guns blowing the shit out of anything that stands in their way. Occasionally, the first-person-shooter perspective stops for some exposition about the standard terrorist plot or to re-establish that the main Navy SEAL has a pregnant wife at home, but the impetus is on exploding heads and an endless series of cheesy, '80s slow motion explosions.
In all fairness, a couple of the action sequences are quite propulsive, such as an early car-chase scene and a late Mexican compound infiltration, which is probably all that matters. But does everything in between have to be so laughably clumsy and clichéd? They even go for a heavy-handed, emotional ending, which is just painful considering that everything preceding involves the graphic slaughter of incidental Filipinos and Mexicans split up by an unnecessary close-up of a girl in a bikini.
If I went in blind, I might actually mistake this for yet another brilliant satire of male solipsism and supremacy by Kathryn Bigelow. (Alliance)