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Act of Valor

Real Navy SEALs co-star in Hollywood's action-packed take on their courageous lives

The producer/directors, Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh, could have done a better job of delineating just who is an actor in the movie and who is a newbie — the real SEALS are uncredited and the thespians are virtual unknowns, so it doesn't help much to read the credits. There are only a few memorable performances: Alex Veadov is deliciously cold-blooded as the murderous Russian villain (happily, the producers did not enlist real killers to play the bad guys). A fellow who appears as a Navy interrogator is unexpectedly funny — he may be a real SEAL, because I can't find him on the cast list. I was impressed with the way the wife of a departing SEAL collapses in tears the moment he's out of sight — until I discovered on the cast list that she was a ringer (Ailsa Marshall). This is the kind of guessing game you end up playing while watching Act of Valor, and while such ambiguity presumably protects the identities of these undercover operators and their families, it's a bit distracting.

The producers would like us to think we honor our troops by buying a ticket to Act of Valor. That could be true, I guess. Like its predecessors, the film certainly throws a light on the sacrifices associated with military life. As for this particular group of SEALS, I do hope there are no military rules that prevented them from picking up a paycheck for this movie — their one assignment where, for once, the only people sniping at them are out-of-shape, overfed movie critics.

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