Having just finished off another year of the Sundance Film Festival, another independent film getting released at the end of February doesn’t lend itself to high hopes. Add to that the fact of having two directors (Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh) making their big screen debut, you hope that they at least have the passion to pull off the project.
With the decision to cast their film Act of Valor with active duty Navy SEALs in a plot to stop an act of terrorism against the United States, you hope things don’t turn into a live action version of Team America. Unfortunately, however, as unintentionally hilarious as that would have been, it might have actually helped things out in the long run. The biggest culprit may be Kurt Johnstad’s obnoxious script. Why these SEALs won’t shut up and shoot somebody constantly runs through your mind during a way too long 111 minute run time.
Act of Valor opens with a monologue from monotone main character Dave (none of the SEALs real names are disclosed in the film’s credits). He’s writing a letter which sounds an awful lot like foreshadowing. Soon enough, we find out that his friend Rourke has a baby on the way (bom bom bom). Meanwhile, in the Philippines, a U.S. Ambassador has just been assassinated, and CIA officer Morales (Roselyn Sanchez) has been taken hostage by Christo (Alex Veadov), our token Russian bad guy. Now Navy SEAL Team 7 (including Dave and Rourke) are sent in to rescue Morales, after which it is discovered that Christo is working with another terrorist to bring suicide bombers into the U.S. undetected. Christo hollowly points out that it will make “9/11 look like a walk in the park, Central Park,” unless Team 7 can stop them first.