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SEAL of Approval 

A government-backed movie can't deliver its boastful claims

United States Navy SEAL teams are many things: tough, focused, and cool under pressure. What they would freely admit they are not are Hollywood actors.

Perhaps that’s why Act of Valor co-directors Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh appear in a brief prologue not so much to disclose their employment by the U.S. Navy but to couch their decision to utilize actual Navy SEALs in the filming of this glossy, flag-waving bit of nonsense in vérité terms. They know why this isn’t a “Hollywood” film as much as we do; it’s a propaganda film.

The soldiers and the movie hop around the globe, from Ukraine to Cambodia to Mexico, with each new mission bringing a new set of challenges, all of which equal roughly the same thing: shoot everyone in the head.

Still, some battle sequences are elegantly choreographed, but by the time a foreshadowed death is memorialized in an endless military funeral sequence, the whole endeavor starts to feel more like a hot-box pummeling than a rallying cry. --Justin Strout

More by Justin Strout

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