Act of Valor Blu-ray Review: Better Than You Might Expect

The very thought of an action film starring non-actors can send chills up your spine. Imagine what might have happened if Clint Eastwood positively sucked at the fine art of performing whilst cast in Dirty Harry, or Kurt Russell had no clue whatsoever when he was bringing Snake Plissken to life in Escape from New York. Or, for the full effect of genuine horror, think of any film starring Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, or Steven Seagal wherein the aforementioned B-Movie icons weren’t even as proficient at their legendary, individual brands of chuckle-inducing stiltedness as they are. Pretty scary thought, isn’t it?

So, when you see that the action flick Act of Valor stars actual active duty Navy SEALs and SWCC as somewhat fictionalized versions of themselves, you might be prompted to pass it by. Strangely enough, however, the lack of experienced leads here somehow makes it ultimately bearable. While the non-military personnel (e.g. the bad guys, undercover operatives) depicted in the film are brought to life by slightly seasoned performers (read: actual actors), the filmmakers who assembled Act of Valor — stuntmen Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh — wisely chose to focus more of the onscreen events on the action itself.

Most of the (uncredited) SEALs in the movie are given a reduced amount of dramatic dialogue, with the exception of a hoard of narration provided by one of the main soldiers. But what really makes Act of Valor worth checking out in my opinion is the option the film’s makers went with to use live ammunition. Yes, with the exception of a few CGI effects in the beginning of the film, most of the bullets and shells that are fired in the film are completely genuine — and the holes they leave and the explosions you see going ka-boom are the real deal. Even the likes of Clint Eastwood would have a hard time competing with that — no matter how great of an actor he is.

So, therefore, I say: “Give it a whirl and enjoy the genuine action.” Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings this enjoyable B-Movie to your television screens with an excellent transfer that really shows off how great a film shot entirely with Canon 5D Mark II cameras can look in High-Def, and the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is a first-rate homage to all things roaring in itself. The Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo also includes an audio commentary, deleted scenes, interviews with the filmmakers and their non-professional performers, several featurettes about the making of the movie, and a music video for an overly-patriotic Keith Urban country tune (ick) — the latter of which makes me want to fire off some live ammo myself.

Oh, well, I still enjoyed it.

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Luigi Bastardo

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