The new film “Act of Valor” doesn’t accuse U.S. military members of war crimes, nor does it paint them as cold killing machines.
That simply won’t do for many film critics, who cling to the kind of anti-military movies which routinely flop at the box office. “Valor” uses amateur actors – active duty Navy SEALs – and certainly can be faulted for their flat line readings. And the episodic nature of the movie also invites fair critiques, even if it’s remarkable the cast routinely acted around live gunfire. But many critics went beyond the call of duty to smite a film that dared to show SEALs as heroes, and their efforts to stop terrorists a noble endeavor.
Time Out New York’s Joshua Rothkopf calls the film “scary,” with a “ridiculously limited view of American righteousness.”
Tampa Bay Times critic Steve Persall dubs “Valor” “a land mine movie for anyone to review who isn’t a military veteran, who hasn’t bought into the cult of warfare,” later adding “pacifists won’t be nearly as impressed.”
How ’bout audiences who realize terrorists are a legitimate threat, and that military intervention is often necessary to prevent them from wiping out hundreds, if not thousands, of innocents?
Philly.com’s David Hiltbrand seemed upset by sequences in which people responsible for the capture and torture of a CIA agent met their gruesome fate:
You watch as one of our snipers dispassionately and from a great distance lays out these scruffy untrained campesinos one after the other with graphic head shots.
So, as long as you’re a “scruffy, untrained campesino” we should give you a pass for torturing a woman. But Hiltbrand’s moral confusion intensified as the film wore on:
Near the end, the film degenerates into an extended, chaotic firefight. You know who you’re supposed to be rooting for because they’re the ones wearing uniforms, but it’s easy to lose touch with why.
Here’s a clue – the folks who want to commit terrorist acts are the bad guys and need to be stopped. The ones stopping them are the heroes. Now, how hard is that?
Read the rest HERE.