Act of Valor - Blu-ray Review - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 13 Old 06-11-12, 01:28 AM Thread Starter
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Act of Valor - Blu-ray Review

Title: Act of Valor
Starring: Jason Cottle, Roselyn Sanchez, Alex Veadov
Directed by: Mike McCoy, Scott Waugh
Written by: Kurt Johnstad
Studio: Bandito Brothers
Rated: R
Runtime: 110 min
Blu-ray Release Date: June 5, 2012

Movie
Video
Audio
Extras
HTS Overall Score:
73



Movie:


Act of Valor defines its subject matter, terrorism, early on during a scene when Chechen terrorist Abu Shabal (Cottle) drives an ice-cream van onto the main courtyard of the International School of Manila when classes have just finished, parks it and walks away. The kids flush with excitement run over for a cold treat. To keep them huddled around the van a shaking scared girl doles out the scoops. When Shabal is out of harmís way a hidden bomb in the van explodes wiping out the area. In a cool-guys-donít-look-at-explosions manner Shabal keeps walking leaving the massacre in his wake.

In Costa Rico undercover CIA agent Lisa Morales (Roselyn) is kidnapped while staking out the whereabouts
of cocaine and arms smuggler Christo (Veadov). Itís believed Morales was taken, on Christoís behest, because she was getting too close in discovering a link between Christo and Shabal. Moralesís kidnapping prompts an elite Navy SEALs team to assemble for a secret recovery mission. The extraction is nearly twenty minutes of jungle action involving watercraft, parachuting, under water tactics, the art of the stealth approach, and other methods used during actual rescue operations; itís also a smorgasbord of precise technical jargon (going completely over my head, yet still interesting), and weapons display. The result is information revealed regarding Shabalís plan of a multipoint attack on US soil - strapping sixteen untraceable vests lined with explosive gel-filled ceramic ball bearings to suicide bombers who will enter the US, disperse to predetermined high-populace areas and cause massive deaths and economic instability. The SEALs must now travel the globe to hunt down Shabal, Christo and the would-be-martyrs who will be donning the vests.

The scope of wanted destruction is pretty vast and in cases like this you have to figure the impending doom will not be realized because how to do you end a movie after sixteen suicide bombers take their lives in postcard spots in the US, plus what would it say about the capabilities of the respected SEALs? The bad guys are going to get a bullet through the head, itís just a matter of time, and itís that time leading up the victory that counts and has to provide the entertainment viewers are expecting; in that regard Act of Valor is semi-successful.

There is a lot of action in the movie and contained within the 110 minute running time thereís a wide
spectrum of combat situations. The variety of places the SEALs venture into and how they are able to adapt to each environment gives the viewer a sense of their diverse training. This is all demonstrated during a jungle car chase culminating in a group of watercraft with mounted miniguns firing at the enemies, riddling their vehicles with golf-sized holes. The overhead shot of the tracer rounds being fired did look spectacular and sort of made you want to in an exuberant manner yell out ďYAH!Ē Infiltrating a terrorist compound frogman style and dodging baddies in shantytowns are a couple more examples. Throughout the action the SEALs show off their gear and guns and how their intense rigorous training has made them experts at handling an array of powerful tech. Itís all very nicely integrated into the action. Act of Valor many times resembles a first-person shooter when the camera shifts over to an over the barrel point of view. The point is to put you in the moment, but I found the effect nauseating and a step down from the other filming angles.

Family life, personal time and the camaraderie between the SEALs is also highlighted in the film. There are shots of families gathering before deployment, SEALs making calls to home from satellite phones and generic shots of the SEALs bonding over a campfire. The acting is very simple with dialogue in most cases delivered without emotion and in wooden fashion. This I suppose is the downfall of casting the key roles with non-actors. Thereís also a running narrative by one of the SEALs that over time becomes intrusive and takes away from the experience. The character development is lacking which isnít a surprise because the focus lies in what happens in the field of battle.


Rating:

R for strong violence including some torture, and for language.


Audio


Act of Valor is laden heavily with a definitive, imposing and nearly ever present score that
through its volume, tempo and pace nudges the viewer to feel a certain emotion. There are sentimental slow orchestral numbers during family scenes and more familiar energetic numbers during times of preparation. There are no subtleties in the soundtrack; almost everything is loud and very evident.

Explosions reverberate even at mid volume and the sound of high caliber artillery being fired is very satisfying. Jungle scenes sound great with insects in the distance popping up from every speaker sporadically. Every sound is elevated to enhance the moment. Rotor blades utilize lots of low end bass that makes your chest vibrate. Quality directional effects are used during parachuting, gunfire exchange and explosions. The rear speakers get a lot of love pumping out the score and assisting with nearly every other aspect in the sound field. The soundtrack in Act of Valor constantly bombards you with some type of noise or sound.


Video

Act of Valor
has a noticeable glossy and polished finish. Appreciably there is little to no grain in
darker scenes. When SEALs enter dark rooms black levels rise quickly washing out images at times, but it gives an authentic look because things look dark when you enter an unlit room. Texture detail in the clothing and weapons the SEALs use is very high, along with the different environments the SEALs enter. Water reflections are crisp and shine and dense jungle foliage is natural looking. Colors in the daytime are vibrant and pop. Fireballs look gorgeous, sometimes encompassing large areas of the screen. Act of Valor because of its subject matter could have been purposefully made to look gritty, but sometimes this intentional look takes away from the pleasure of watching a movie so Iím glad that wasnít the case here.



Extras


1. Deleted scenes
2. Directorí Intro
3. Interviews with Active Navy SEALs
4. Making of Act of Valor
5. Real Bullets
6. Real SEALs
7. Silent Warriors
8. ďFor YouĒ Music Video by Keith Urban
9. Making of the Music Video
10. Directorí Commentary
11. Theatrical Trailer


Overall:

When Act of Valor trailers hit the theaters and TV screens the marketing touted the film as
being cast with active-duty US Navy SEALs for a sense of true realism, unfortunately it doesnít make any difference in the action department. Real SEAL or actor, the same precautions are taken when filming any instance involving the possibility of someone getting hurt. Act of Valor gives the viewer an idealistic look at whatís itís like to be a SEAL without delving into the raw dirty aspects of being part of a covert elite team. Many people have stated that the movie is merely propaganda and an extended advertisement for the US Navy SEALs, of which I have no comment on, but there does seem to an air of bravado throughout that transfers into a sense of accomplishment if you actually join the US Navy.





Recommendation: Rent it!
Watch the Official Trailer
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post #2 of 13 Old 06-11-12, 02:02 AM
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Though there are some very cheesy moments and the acting is less then desirable I enjoyed the movie. When the action and pace was fast I was engrossed. It's when things slowed down and during character development that I found myself wandering mentally. The audio and video were outstanding and worth a rent. Good review and thanks.
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post #3 of 13 Old 06-11-12, 08:52 PM
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Re: Act of Valor

Thanks for the review, Peter. I am still actually curious to see this movie as I love modern war movies, well I like any war movies... but the modern ones get my favor.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
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post #4 of 13 Old 06-13-12, 03:19 PM
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post #5 of 13 Old 06-13-12, 03:35 PM
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Re: Act of Valor

I'm thinking about putting this one in my queue for now, or borrowing from a friend. If I like it, a purchase may be in order.

Either way, thanks for taking the time to review Act of Valor for us, Peter!

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post #6 of 13 Old 06-13-12, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Act of Valor

Thanks for the compliments guys.
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post #7 of 13 Old 06-22-12, 07:41 AM
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Thumbs up Re: Act of Valor

Purchased the BluRay on sale the other day. My wife is not a fan of action movies per-se. I popped it in last night and she was drawn off the internet and texting to watch the movie. We really enjoyed it. Yes at times the acting is campy however the action, video and audio are far superior to many other options out there. The fact that this was done with non-actors is another plus, IMHO.

Highly recommended as a rental and if a good price presents itself; this will be a multi-view action war flick for many.

I concur on the review about the feeling of a FPS during some of the engagement scenes. Again just another plus in my book.

For all those who go "Downrange" I salute you.

God Bless the USA!

I would have written less but I didn't have the time.
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post #8 of 13 Old 07-13-12, 10:07 PM
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Re: Act of Valor

I have watched this movie probably 20 times and I just cant get enough of it...I spent quite a bit of time in Central and South America and I have to admit that the terrain looks like Panama or Hondo...the extraction scene in the first part of the movie is awesome and swift boats are capable of doing exactly what they did..I loved it and will watch another 25 times...
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post #9 of 13 Old 07-13-12, 10:30 PM
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Re: Act of Valor

Man, mini guns, 50 cals and boats. Done.
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post #10 of 13 Old 07-31-12, 10:35 AM
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If you haven't given your system a run with this flick, you are missing out! Not a bad movie and the extraction chapters near the beginning of the movie are grade A certified AWESOME. It will give just about everything from great video/shots to loud thunderous LFE and both subtle and intense surround activity. Great stuff!!!!!!

Last edited by Todd Anderson; 07-31-12 at 04:47 PM.
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