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It Pays to Be a Spinner

MOVIE REVIEW
Act of Valor (2012)

Act-of-valor-navy-seals
Relativity Media

Just when you’re safe from the onslaught of torture porn, Hollywood has a new form of sensory assault: military porn. No, we’re not talking about Dirk Yates (googling him would be NSFW). “Act of Valor” is a new drama that proudly boasts a cast of active-duty Navy Seals. Their wooden acting and monotonous line delivery are comparable to those of porn stars. But the dramatic scenes are few and far between amid the “action” sequences, if you catch our drift. So, no, we’re not being facetious for calling the film military porn.

As one would expect, “Act of Valor” plays out like an extended recruitment commercial. It’s slickly put together by stuntmen-turned-documentary/commercial directors Mike “Mouse” McCoy and Scott Waugh, with plenty of hand-held P.O.V. shots. Aside from the cast of Navy Seals, also on display is the pageantry provided by fleets of ships, submarines and helicopters. That, ladies and gentlemen, is your tax dollars hard at work. Seriously, you mean to tell us that some of the $644.3 billion annual budget for Pentagon goes toward props and “actors” on loan to Hollywood?

Screenwriter Kurt Johnstad, who also co-wrote “300,” has cooked up international baloney — involving some Ukrainian drug smuggler living in the Philippines plotting to send jihadists across the Mexican border into America — so outrageous that the film barely registers as simulated warfare for training exercises. Mr. Johnstad occasionally attempts to invoke 9/11 but to no avail, because “Act of Valor” ultimately comes off like some “First Blood” rip-off that’s been sitting on the shelf for three decades. But that certainly won’t deter lip-service patriots from jerking off to it all day long.

ACT OF VALOR

Opens on Feb. 24 in the United States and on March 23 in Britain.

Produced and directed by Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh; written by Kurt Johnstad; director of photography, Shane Hurlbut; edited by Mr. Waugh and Michael Tronick; music by Nathan Furst; production design by John Zachary; released by Relativity (United States) and Momentum Pictures (Britain). Running time: 1 hour 41 minutes. This film is rated R by M.P.A.A. and 15 by B.B.F.C.

WITH: Roselyn Sanchez (Agent Morales) and Jason Cottle (Abul Shabal).

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