Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Act of Valour ★☆☆☆☆

Featuring a cast of active-duty Navy SEALs and based on 'real life acts of valour', former film stuntmen Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh's 2012 directorial debut Act of Valour is an adrenaline-soaked action adventure fuelled on tired clichés and a simplistic grasp of world politics - a banal and incredibly manipulative piece of military recruitment with all the charm and charisma of an 18th century press gang.

The assassination of an US Ambassador in the Philippines illuminates a potentially devastating plot to undermine the integrity of America's democracy. The extent of these activities isn't truly understood until a team of highly trained Navy SEALs rescue an informant from a heavily guarded terrorist base. What they discover is every honest American's nightmare scenario – with a team of corrupt Russian arms dealers in cahoots with Muslim extremists to use the secret tunnels built by the Mexican drug cartels to smuggle suicide bombers into America. The SEALs must then navigate through a treacherous series of shoot-outs, nautical assaults and dodgy European accents if they're to save their country from the duel threat of 'terror and tyranny'.


Unedited Ending:

It's the film's unabashed call to arms which is perhaps the most repulsive element of Act of Valour, with the film's atrocious reliance on the popularity of video games only match by its ideological depravity. From its pre-deployment beach party where we're introduced to these elite soldiers and informed of their tragic pasts and previously directionless lives (one was a shelf stacker whilst another was found 'dirt poor' in Trinidad) this heavy handed depiction of the army as a redemptive and educational career choice becomes painful to endure. If it wasn't for the film's complete lack of subtly then it might have been considered a dangerous piece of governmental propaganda, luckily though even the most impressionable minds should be able to see past Act of Valour's aspirations to be a clever piece of promotional filmmaking for the continued army recruitment drive for the ongoing battle against terror.

With an ethical code evolved from a foreign policy built on fear and paranoia, watching Act of Valour's Seal’s defend such stalwart American ideals as freedom and democracy is a hilarious, yet often painful experience. With its villains perceived as little more than the same stereotypical, one dimensional malevolent enemies of liberty and independence we've been subjected to time and time again, it becomes easier to see why America's foreign policy is often viewed with such contempt across the globe.

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