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Act of Valor: movie review

Using active-duty US Navy SEALs boosts 'Act of Valor' beyond being a garden-variety action flick.

By Peter RainerFilm critic / February 24, 2012

In this image, a scene is shown from the film 'Act of Valor,' starring real, active-duty US Navy SEALs.

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Much has been made of the fact that the new war movie “Act of Valor” features real-life active-duty US Navy SEALs. As it turns out, except for the curiosity factor, there is no difference in the end between using SEALs playing SEALs and Hollywood actors playing SEALs. All things being equal, I suppose I’d rather see the real deal than, say, Charlie Sheen or Bruce Willis. But things are rarely equal in movieland, and besides, the SEALs here have been encouraged by their directors, Mike “Mouse” McCoy and Scott Waugh, to be as blandly stalwart as any garden-variety Hollywood counterpart.

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The movie is essentially a series of reasonably good action sequences involving wipeouts with Filipino jihadists, Chechen rebels, and Mexican drug cartels interspersed with buddy-buddy badinage not of the first freshness. The bad guys, who specialize in funny beards, funny accents, and shaved heads, would feel right at home in an “Austin Powers” movie. Grade: C+ (Rated R for strong violence, including some torture, and for language.)

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