This is a story based on the valor of eight active Navy Seals fighting for the freedom and safety of our country. They are real Navy Seals, not actors that share the big screen with not only their fellow comrades but with their actual families, wives, children and a blend of actors. These men live their lives by a code and ethos always trying to find their way home.
When a terrorist known as Abu Sabal (Jason Cottle) enters an international school in Manila he not only murders a United States Ambassador and his son but many other children playing in a school yard. Doctor Morales (Roselyn Sanchez) is in Costa Rica working with children and keeping a close eye on a man known as Christo (Alex Veadov). There is a tie that binds between Christo and Sabal and Morales and her associate (Nestor Serrano) are trying to find out what it is. That is until they themselves are found out by the enemy and Morales is taken away, beaten and held captive for information. The Navy Seals are called in for a rescue mission to retrieve their package before it is too late. Parachutes later and a run through the jungle the men find their target, Morales, swiftly completing their mission although not without a bloody, explosive battle that kills many and highlights just why these men are truly worthy of the title, Navy Seals. There is definitely some superb camera work in this and all the scenes throughout the film as the directors and crew take two years to follow these actual Seals, not actors, using live ammunition and no props, detailing from their eye point of view of what they see, hear, feel and breath every moment of the day they are on a mission.
After the rescue of Morales they were lucky enough to retrieve some evidence that helped lead them to their next targets. In the Ukraine Sabal has developed the technology of explosive vests that are planned to murder thousands of Americans in such open venues as sports events, theatres, restaurants and since these vests are undetectable to any type of scanners another target might be the White House. Christo is a true smuggler and Sabal is a terrorist out to kill Americans with the use of suicide bombers but when the Navy Seals get a tip of their plan and whereabouts they are soon on their way to the United States / Mexico border to eliminate their targets, Sabal, his men and the sixteen bombers before they make their way into the tunnels of Mexico and eventually into the United States to start their killing spree that promises to be larger than 9/11. When the battle begins not all the Seals return the same way they left but rather one dies like a hero going home to their family and friends.
The film is brilliantly shot giving the audience an up close and personal view of the life of a Navy Seal; in this case several of them. Even though the story jumps around a bit leaving some missed dramatic moments of film making it doesn’t matter since in the method they filmed this story it kept in real. The writers tried to side line several scenes involving the Navy Seals families but it seemed a bit empty even with their attempt of the relationship between the chief and his pregnant wife. It was hard to feel her pain every time he went on another mission, grant it the pain was understood but just not projected enough, possibly due to limited character development, maybe because the characters were real people rather than actors. The score is spot on, matching up well with the phenomenal cinematography in the film. Whether the shot of a spider in a web, the falling sun, the foreign country or the bullets propelling from machine guns each scene has its moments of pure genius. I’ll say one thing for sure these men are in shape and focused with one thing in mind during a mission, fulfill their goal and return home. I absolutely loved the originality of using the actual Navy Seals in the film and they may not win an Oscar any time soon for their acting skills but in regards to their true professions they are all truly worthy of our deepest respect and admiration for helping to keep this great country of ours safe and secure. A mission that is true to this story, true to life now and ever more so to our future. If you accept the idea of real Navy Seals mixed with actors, which works well, along with a factual and interesting story line albeit a slightly bit documentary at times than you will really love this “Act of Valor”. Written and respectfully appreciated with two and half paws out of four by Jon Patch.