Movie review: “Act of Valor”

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From the February 23, 2012 edition

In casting active-duty Navy SEALs in its major roles, “Act of Valor” pretty much announces it’s going to function as a celebration of military heroes. It’s just not a very good one.

That the actors aren’t professional is acceptable, but what’s the excuse for the directing and screenwriting?

“Valor” cobbles together action sequences like they’re the levels of a video game. This is likely not a coincidence. There are tons of shots in “first-person shooter” mode, and it even lifts the globe-hopping graphics familiar to “Modern Warfare” players. And it has plenty of bloody “headshots.”

It tugs at the patriotic heartstrings — an intro from the filmmakers is particularly heavy-handed — and has endless action, but it doesn’t really offer the insight into these elite warriors I hoped this access would grant.

But if you have an itch for patriotism and action, it’ll surely scratch it.