User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 130 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 89 out of 130
  2. Negative: 19 out of 130

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  1. Feb 25, 2012
    3
    As a action film fan, my expectations were very low... And I was disappointed. The editing made the action boring, killing pretty much all of the suspense; the few interesting action sequence looked like a video game promotional video... And were way to short.

    It's been said a few time, but the bad acting kill all the attempts at humor or camaraderie. It would have been more interesting
    to just watch the guys not acting, documentary style.

    Watch the preview of the movie a few times, while you wait for the movie to come out as a DVD if you absolutely want to see it.
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  2. Feb 25, 2012
    3
    This movie explains why the United States is hated throughout the world and what is wrong with these type of movies. The villains are given zero definition, we're suppose to hate them because they're Muslim and they want to attack the United States. Their backgrounds, their morals, their motivation are not examined at all. I'm not going to touch upon the acting ability since it is subpar but I understand that they're Navy Seals, not actors. The actual combat was decent of course, but that can't solely carry a movie.

    Also I have to cringe of how jingoistic this movie is, I hope the audience knows that most of the actions taken are borderline unconstitutional. Also blackmailing people by threatening their families? Not very classy America. We're better than this. Stay away from this movie if you don't want to almost vomit by the blatant over the top patriotism shown. If you want a better portrayal of modern warfare check out the Hurt Locker.
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  3. Feb 28, 2012
    4
    This movie's gimmick: the men playing Navy SEALs are real Navy SEALs. Their mission involves rescuing a CIA agent, then saving the US from a terrorist invasion. They may know how to pull off special ops, but they sure can't act and the lame dialogue makes their interactions even more embarrassing. Basically, they end up being a group of men with no discernable personalities and the bad writing would mortify real actors. Instead of competent storytelling, the filmmakers used jerky camerawork and overbearing music. There's lots of shooting, explosions and running around, but the action is poorly-staged and confusing. It felt like a Steven Seagal straight-to-DVD production. Expand
  4. Feb 26, 2012
    0
    Looks like my review was deleted... So I'll post it again. This is s horribly blatant piece of propaganda, just in time to prime us for the coming war with Iran. An extra long recruitment video. The acting? Laughable. Silly uber evil bad guys, cookie cutter caricatures of evil, "they hate us for our freedoms". So insulting that it has no entertainment value what so ever. Skip this one, and don't even bother renting the video... Collapse
  5. Feb 25, 2012
    0
    An action film that has no thrills, character development, or any underlying meaning. Its just propaganda farce to recruit more people to join the army.b
  6. Jul 28, 2012
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. First off, I'd like to state that this is not a propaganda piece. What it is, however, is a cynical ploy by the studio to cash-in on a highly polarized yet energized conservative movement and a large number of returning veterans now that the wars overseas are being brought to a close. It is also a ploy by the DoD to boost recruitment for the military, but it is not a propaganda piece. For it to be propaganda the film would have to say something, anything, with more depth than "Jihadis bad; criminal networks who support Jihadis bad". That's something that everyone barring a few radicals on both ends of the political spectrum can agree on. It's like saying "rape bad," everyone agrees already you don't need to release a film to convince us. Hence, I don't feel the film was attempting to convince us of anything other than, maybe, join the military? There's nothing to really be said about the film; in about an hour and a half (feels like four) blank-slates will go around shooting dark-skinned people in exotic locales until they go someplace else to shoot dark-skinned people in exotic locales. No, I'm not attempting to push some claim of racism or anything as daft as neocolonialism on the part of the movie. Just think about that premise for a moment -- it's every first-person shooter released between Call of Duty 4 and now. Let's talk about those blank-slates; my primary criticism of nearly every war film I've watched is that each character is essentially the same as the character before him. When you create a character and give him one defining characteristic, he or she is that characteristic. When you're making a film and you give a group of people that same characteristic they're that single characteristic. At the end of the film I had to ask my father who died. His response was "the LT," yes but who is the LT?" The guy who is having a baby" still, who the hell is that? These aren Expand
  7. Apr 22, 2012
    4
    While the action sequences are realistic and near flawless, everything else is an absolute mess.The acting is ridiculous. Really, really bad. Even if they had passable actors, the script would still bog them down. Probably my favorite part of the movie is where an interrogator randomly throws everything off his desk and then yells "do you think this is a game?" Most of the film is cheesy little action cliches like this. If you're going to see this movie, see it in theaters. No reason to see this movie on anything other than the big screen. Expand
  8. Feb 22, 2013
    4
    Act of Valor is a refreshingly new and ambitious idea, that takes the stories of active U.S. Marines and turns them into one big story, which is then played out by the very Marines who experienced them. I loved the concept, but this film falls way short of expectations. I believe the purpose of military is the service and protection of our nation, but in Act of Valor the Marines are portrayed as trigger happy Americans. We see the Marines, following up on CIA Intel, going into four different foreign countries, shooting first and asking questions later. Is this really the image of our military that we want to portray to the rest of the world? Regardless of what's real and what's not, these Marines come off as ruthless, with an attitude of you we're American, we'll do what we want.' As expected, the action scenes were some of the best and most realistic I've ever seen. I would except nothing less, being that the film features men who have been in actual combat and know what it looks like. The acting, also as excepted, was really awful, but for the first time in the twenty month history of this blog I won't blame the actors for it, since after all, they aren't really actors. The action sequences alone more than make up for the acting job, but again, I have a real problem with the message this film is sending out to the world. Chronicling the heroism and every day life of a U.S. Marine is admirable, but portraying them like Bruce Willis in Die Hard isn't doing them any favors, in fact it's making an already difficult job harder. Expand
  9. Mar 17, 2012
    3
    Like Call of Duty/Battlefield? Go watch this movie. Don't like them? Then stay away from it. Shot partially from a first person angle and mixed in with horrible plot and acting, the whole thing feels like a cliche recruitment effort. This is why the world hates the U.S. Are we supposed to hate the enemies because they're muslim? They put the baddies in front of us and tell us to hate them.
  10. Sep 12, 2012
    3
    Act of Valor, an action film starring actual navy seals, may have worked as the recruitment film it was originally intended to be, but as cinema? Not so much. My expectations for the standard of acting I was to see was pretty low and that expectation was met, with barely any pull dramatically from the men on screen. I can't really blame them, though, but filmgoers shouldn't have to forgive anyone for anything. It is basically the film equivalent of something that would come from the group that brought us 'Courageous', but in regards to the military rather than Christianity. Both films are sufficient technically, but are only for a specific group of people. The worst aspect of Act of Valor is that it never once comes off as genuine. The banter between the navy seals is just unbearably unauthentic and the action seems to be stylized like a POV shot from a Call of Duty game. There is one breakthrough cool moment near the middle of the film where a guard is shot in the head, then as he falls to the water, a pair of hands reach out to catch him from making a splash so as to alert the other guards. But the rest of the movie is dull, filled with unintentional funny moments ('this film is based off of real acts of valor' Bwahahaha!!) and populated with wooden characters. Expand
  11. Dec 5, 2012
    3
    Honestly, this was a pretty weak film. I appreciate the realistic missions and action sequences, but the plot got muddled after a while and the poor acting and mediocre script didn't help.
  12. Jul 1, 2013
    2
    More of the same generic action movie that you see in Michael Bay's films than a realistic war movie. The action sequences, just like many action movies, were enjoyable to watch and the way the soldiers move in silence is really intense, if at times it makes you feel like you're playing a FPS game, but some of the action sequences, such as the chase scene, feels too Hollywood.

    That's
    about the only thing the movie gets right and the movie casts real SEALs as leading actors. You don't have to like the movie to support the troops for their services and fighting for their country, it's just a movie. They can't act, it's almost laughable when they talk, they don't even sound American, and the lame dialogues makes it more embarrassing than it already is.

    The plot is so cliche, soldiers rescuing a kidnapped CIA agent and then save America from terrorists. You don't have to cast active duty Navy SEALs to make a war film more realistic, take Saving Private Ryan for example. A film, worthy of Best Picture, that defines the genre of war films featuring realistic battle scenes and a winning performance from Tom Hanks, he's not a SEAL.

    This film would be more realistic if the actor's performances were more natural, it's not just about explosions and shooting with real ammunition. A film that's based on actual events doesn't always classify a movie as good, take J. Edgar and Amelia for example. If it does, more films should be based on true stories which would take away many creative ideas.

    Act of Valor shows you what it's like to be a U.S. Navy SEAL but the film completely ignores the complexity of war, the soldier's attitude doesn't help the movie to try and show it either. Their extreme patriotism makes them feel so positive as if they'll complete their mission, without worrying about the consequences, and they'll return home safely to their families simply because it's America.

    There's no character development, they end up being a group of soldiers with no discernible personalities, so it's not emotional when one of the soldiers, predictably, dies in the end or when Rorke leaves and his wife is upset to see him go.

    This movie would probably be better if it were a documentary instead. It would be an intense and a gritty insight on the missions conducted by SEALs that would really capture it realistically, if well-made. In the end, the plot gets muddled as the movie goes on. The action sequences can't lift the movie above bad with it's mediocre script and poor acting.
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  13. Dec 15, 2013
    4
    However, as cool as that all is, it doesn't excuse the fact that it's still a pretty forgettable movie in the long run. Yes, there are some decent action scenes particularly near the beginning but their entertainment value slowly declines as the film trudges along. All in all, Act of Valor never becomes anything more than a feature length recruitment video touting shameless jingoism that never feels quite genuine enough, despite its undeniable good intentions. Expand
Metascore
40

Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 34
  2. Negative: 9 out of 34
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Mar 22, 2012
    20
    The gimmick behind this excruciating propagandist movie about the US special forces' war on terror is that it features not actors but actual Navy Seals.
  2. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Mar 19, 2012
    20
    Another reason to avoid films endorsed by the US military, this is sub-propaganda tosh that inadvertently plays like Hot Shots: Part Trois.
  3. Reviewed by: Matt Glasby
    Mar 16, 2012
    40
    This voiceover is one of many perplexing elements in this ridiculously pumped-up military recruitment video, which intersperses brilliant and immersive combat scenes with excruciating comradely banter.