It's really not all real.
By John DeSando, WCBE's "It's Movie Time," "Cinema Classics," and "On the Marquee"
Reality is the coin of this realm: Act of Valor uses real Navy Seals to propel an action story, cobbled together from real incidents. Although professional actors stand in stark contrast to the Seals, the sequences involving the latter have an authentic feel. Then, I don't know how much I'm influenced by the prologue where the idea of using active seals is explained.
A very bad billionaire, Christo, is plotting to bring jihad right to American shores with undetectable suicide vests carrying ultra-lethal ceramic balls. The Seals have a number of violent actions that move toward the final confrontation, including rescuing a female agent from the jungle prison and breaching the factory where the vests are made.
Until later episodes, it looked as if the Seals were invulnerable, so I felt better about the "realism" because the deaths were "realistic." Because the solemnity of the send off ceremony and the funeral ritual have been seen before both in fiction and fact, the real strength of the film is in the precise execution of the Seals' activities, making them heroic in a real sense.
Act of Valor reinforces the now-understood greatness of the team that took down Osama bin Laden. That's real.
John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5's It's Movie Time, Cinema Classics, and On the Marquee, which can be heard streaming at http://publicbroadcasting.net/wcbe/ppr/index.shtml and on demand at http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wcbe/arts.artsmain
He is also a film critic for Fox TV 28.
Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com