Last year, around the same time that the buzz was rising for the FPS's Battlefield 2 and Modern Warfare 3 the trailer for Act of Valour (Australian spelling) was released that promised to show you real US Navy SEALs in action in the film. It looked thrilling and perfectly suited to fans of those previously mentioned games. Produced for a very modest $US12 million the movie was a major success in America taking $US70 million, but struggled outside that territory with only a further $US10 million. Still, with solid previews and a premise that will interest gamers we were keen to check the Blu-Ray out. So here we go.
When a mission to recover a kidnapped CIA operative Lisa Morales (Sanchez) unexpectedly results in the discovery of an imminent, terrifying global threat, an elite team of highly trained Navy SEALs must immediately embark on a heart-stopping secret operation, the outcome of which will determine the fate of us all.
Our biggest problem with this film is actually the pacing with the early hostage recuse sequence being the films highlight which far outshines the films finale which, while action packed, lacks the "coolness" of the hostage rescue, and subsequent escape, sequence. Also bogging the film down are some of the dialogue sequences. We loved the mission briefings (Which were apparently re-written by the actual solders to be more authentic then the script) but there were some other dialogue based scenes that bogged the pacing down.
In the last couple of days rumours have surfaced that Relativity Media are shopping this franchise around to create an Act of Valour TV series, and we'd be very keen to check it out, if only to see real US Navy SEALs doing their thing. As a standalone film the plot is ok, and the action sequences superb, but some of the slower dialogue moments bog the film down a little too much. Still, action fans will likely enjoy this film.
There aren't too many other audio options on this Blu-Ray other than An Audio Description for the Vision Impaired which is encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224kbps. Disappointing it's not in surround sound but it gets the job done. It must also be noted that the back of the Australian case says a Dolby Digital 2.0 track is included - that is not the case (unless you count the audio descriptive track).
Director's Commentary: This audio commentary, with directors Scott Waugh and Mouse McCoy, is an in-depth discussion about the films creation including shooting locations, the actors and soldiers involved and plenty of production details. It's definitely worth a listen however I feel more could have been added by one of the SEALs in the commentary providing technical information about their tactics and equipment (obviously within limits of what they can say).
Interviews with Active Navy SEALs (30:44/HD): Here we have interviews with real SEALs including "Rourke" (4:20), "Dave" (5:36), "Mikey" (2:31), "Ray" (4:29), "Sonny" (2:34), "Ajay" (5:02) and "Weimy" (6:12) in which they share some stories about their careers. I have the utmost respect for these guys, as well as armed forces in Australia and many other countries, and hearing from them directly is inspirational, and they tell some amazing stories.
Making Of (5:23/HD): While this is the "Making of" documentary it's actually more a 5 minute trailer for the film with some brief comments from various crew.
Real Bullets (2:09/HD): Another promotional piece but with some interesting elements about using live ammunition in the film. Seeing the truck after being peppered with 4,000 rounds is amazing.
Silent Warriors (2:47/HD): Yep another promotional piece, again with more repetition.
"For You" Music Video by Keith Urban (4:23/HD): Here we have the video clip for the song used in the film with clips from the film.
Making of the Music Video (3:58/HD): Isn't it somewhat sad that the best "Making of" on this disc, isn't for the film itself but rather than music video clip. Sad, but true.
Director's Intro (3:12/HD): A brief intro from the directors about creating this film. Apparently this played before the film in cinemas (I can't personally verify that though).
Review By: Dave Warner