Most Anticipated: Act of Valor

34. Act of Valor (PG-13) - Runtime: 110 minutes
Starring: Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano
Director: Mike McCoy, Scott Waugh

It's completely understandable that some executives saw the Call of Duty video game franchise and decided that they should cash in on this craze and make a movie exactly like it. Unfortunately, this is all the movie is - a cash grab. Sure, it stars real Navy SEALS and is based on actual missions, but everything rings hollow with this movie.

Take for instance, the opening monologue. It's filled with chest-thumping AMERIKAH! rah rah bullshit and honor and duty and all those cliches. And it lasts for fucking ever. Seriously this movie is supposed to be about the SEALS taking names and kicking ass, but you don't get to that until twenty or so minutes into the movie. They're trying to get us to sympathize with the soldier with all this exposition, but instead of providing us with character interactions and decisions and letting the context shape how we see these soldiers, the movie decides to dump all this information either in the monologue or on these annoying HUD-like screens that pop up with useless army jargon that normal folk wouldn't possibly comprehend.

And this is the major fault with the movie - I don't care about these guys at all because I really didn't know them. Sure there's a guy who's going to be a father and another guy who is a father of 5 or something. There's even a token black guy! But despite the buttload of information they give us, I had no idea who was who during the whole movie. One of the guys dies (Not Spoiler Alert! We all saw this coming) and I really didn't know who it was! And forget about the plot - what a mess. Supposedly I cared about the jihadists who were going to wreak havoc on American soil with this new suicide bombing technology, but honestly the movie was poorly edited.

The movie jumps from a bunch of information/dialogue dumped upon the viewer to these big action set pieces. But even the action wasn't all that stunning. Maybe it's because I've played most of the Call of Duties and they've all had way better, more well-choreographed action sequences. So I was kind of yawning throughout. This movie tries sooooo hard to be Call of Duty: The Movie that they even integrate the first-person perspective almost too much. It gets really annoying because it doesn't add anything special to the movie nor does it enhance our immersiveness into the world of a Navy SEAL. It just made me want to fire up a video game.

And that's too bad - this could have been a really cool movie with just balls-out action. But the mixture of terrible dialogue and plot with ho-hum action just doesn't add up. It's one of the worst movies I've seen all year and it's best you avoid this one!

Rating: Avoid Like the Plague!

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