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American values trumpeted in 'Act of Valor' Phillip Brents | Fri, Feb 24 2012 02:30 PM

Opening in theaters this Friday from directors Scott Waugh and Mike McCoy comes an action film with a twist in “Act of Valor.”

This film tells the story of an elite United States SEALs team. The government has discovered that CIA agent Morales (Rosalyn Sanchez) has been kidnapped by terrorist Shabal (Jason Cottle). Shabal is about to make his way into the United States, bringing with him a new weapon more dangerous than has been seen before.

The team must first rescue Morales and then go across the globe to find the one man who can lead them to the terrorist – a man names Christo (Alex Veadov). It will take all their skill and training to track down the man who has the potential to hurt thousands of Americans.

Final word
As this film has very few Hollywood actors, it is important to focus on the SEALs team members. Waugh and McCoy realized during the conceptual stage of the film that it was important to tell real stories with real people. They wanted the complexity of it all: the husband side, the brother side, the father side, the warrior side and the sacrifice.

Cpt. Duncan Smith, an active duty U.S. Navy SEAL, termed the film “truly unique in every way.”

“I don’t think Hollywood has ever gotten the SEAL ethos or SEAL persona right,” he said. “The goal is to allow somebody to see who we are, understanding the men themselves and the sacrifices they and their families contribute every day.”

Putting this unique story together was writer Kurt Johnstad of “300” fame.

“Everything that happened in the film has happened at one time to a team member,” McCoy pointed out. “It is so accurate to the stories these men tell (that) we incorporated them into the film. The moments are sometimes so profound.”
Waugh and McCoy hoped each person who sees the film will walk away with a sense of what the concept of an act of valor signifies. For the American public, they said, that means doing heroic things for the sake of one’s brothers and sisters.

“There are people all throughout the military and first responders who risk their lives on a daily basis for the person next to them or people they don’t know,” Waugh said. “We really think that that’s an important idea to grab hold of in America right now.”

Tubs of popcorn
I give “Act of Valor” three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. Although the SEALs themselves will be the first to admit they are not actors, it doesn’t stop the film from being watch-worthy. It is definitely filled with action that is not CGI induced but with live fire.

During a recent screening, the audience broke out with cheers. The film is a personal look at the lives of people who tackle a job that requires much intensity and dedication. In the end, they must balance their commitment to country, their team and families who wait back home

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