Thanks to the good folks at 5.11 Tactical (you know, the guys that make pants) Chris and I just saw the upcoming film Act of Valor in its entirety. Well, us and about 300 of our closest friends. Here’s what I thought.
Before the movie started Scott Waugh, one of the directors, came out and spoke to us for a bit. Among the nuggets of knowledge that he imparted to us audience members were two things that really struck me.
First, everyone in the film who appears in uniform is actually an active duty member of a military (typically ours). These aren’t actors — these are the actual guys with their toes on the line. And while their lack of acting pedigree does shine through their performance from time to time, for the majority of the film these guys are rock solid. Probably because to them, it’s just another practice mission. But this time there’s some goddamned civvies hanging about filming them.
The second really interesting nugget of information was that they used LIVE AMMUNITION on set to get the guns to look right and act right. So when one of the characters fires a M110 SASS on screen, the recoil is real and not him trying to make it look real…which really only looks even more fake. Live ammo hasn’t been used on a movie set in over half a century (I thought Cross of Iron was the last movie to do so, but it turns out I was wrong) and the ability to use it without any injuries or fatalities in this film is really a testament to the abilities of those pulling the triggers.
I’m no movie critic (just a gun critic), but I personally really enjoyed the film and if the thunderous applause it received as the credits rolled is any indication so did the rest of the audience. The film gets a little bogged down at points and the plot seems like it was ripped from the next Call of Duty game, but the action sequences make this movie shine brighter than anything produced in the last decade.
I’d give it two solid thumbs up. But then again what the hell do I know about movies?