Act of Valor

Navy SEALs are America's warriors du jour. Remember that spectacular demonstration of marksmanship when three of them, standing on a tossing boat, felled three hostage-holding Somali pirates with simul- taneous shots? That was followed a year or so later by the end of Osama bin Laden, so these elite fighters are the ones we look to for military prowess.

I can only hope this film's regular release contains the introduction by the two principals behind this project. They were embedded with a platoon of Navy SEALs in hopes they would get enough material for a movie. It quickly became obvious to them that there are NO Hollywood actors who could approach the calibre of the men they were with, in terms of fitness, devotion to their families, intelligence, and skill levels. Consequently, they cast a group of active duty SEALs! (Shooting was occasionally de- layed when cast members were briefly deployed.) We know those guys up there on the screen have actually done the things we see, so it adds immeasurably to our involvement; plus, many of the scenes were shot using live ammo!

Even though the Bandido Platoon is a fictitious one, this story is based on feats of the most elite, superbly trained group of effective warriors in the modern world, using up-to-the-minute technology under extremely chal- lenging circumstances. Because of artistic license, we see the same seven men off the coast of Somalia, in the Ukraine, in the tropical forests of Costa Rica and just south of the Mexican border. They are trying to stop a chilling plot that uses ceramic pellets in suicide vests. Ceramic doesn't set off metal detectors, so terrorists plan a coordinated attack in crowded areas: football games, shopping malls, concert arenas and airports. When explosives kill and maim hundreds, the economic impact will be devastating (like 9/11).

This film starts with the rescue of a kidnapped CIA operative, which leads to the terrorists, who are linked to drug cartels in Mexico (they know how to penetrate America's borders). The domino effect of international terrorism and drug trade is compelling stuff. How can the American drug consumer ignore the down-range impact of his or her folly! Expect lots of gunfire, SCUBA diving, some really satisfying blowie uppie stuff, and stealth warfare (when these seven guys silently break the surface of that stream... goosebumps!).

I found this far more involving than your average run-of-the-mill action film. It's clear that these guys are SEALs, not actors, but there wasn't a moment when anyone's attention strayed; we were rooting for them to complete their mission so they could all return home to their families. As the tag line says: The only easy day was yesterday.
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