Act of Valor’s screenplay was based on the actual experiences of eight active-duty Navy SEALs, and the directors — Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh — were so impressed they decided that these elite warriors had to play the characters themselves. The result is a very honest, authentic-feeling depiction of operational procedures and the warrior-brotherhood ethos of the SEALs. The initial mission (the rescue of a CIA operative kidnapped by a weapon-and-drug-smuggling mastermind) rapidly develops into an investigation of a plot to smuggle terrorists across the border and send suicide bombers all over America.
Some scenes are near-dark, so quality can be variable, but generally the picture is bright, sharp, and detailed with good contrast producing deep black uniforms, bright white caps and tombstones, and a richly colored funeral flag.
The soundtrack is clear, full, and open, the mix incredibly loud and aggressive to put audiences “in the boots,” allowing them to jump out of a plane with the team surrounded by roaring winds, creep through marshes of rustling reeds and creatures cries, or get caught in the middle of a fire fight with drumming bullets ricocheting all around. An adrenaline-pumping koto drum score is well separated into each channel and there are endless accurately-placed panning effects as vehicles, boats, and bassy choppers tear by or massive explosions boom and rumble across the room. Intense.
Video: 2.40:1. Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Extras: directors’ commentary, deleted scenes, interviews with the Navy SEALs, “Real Bullets, Real SEALS Real Tactics” and “Silent Warriors” featurettes, making-of featurette, music video by Keith Urban, making of the music video, directors introduction; DVD and UltraViolet digital copy for streaming/downloading. Studio: 20th Century Fox.
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