Sunday, May 3, 2015

Movie Review: "Act of Valor"

Mr. P.'s Movie Review Grade: A/A-

Act of Valor (2012)

I rarely give out A- let alone A grades.  Act of Valor definitely merits a well-earned A/A- rating.


A young SEAL Lieutenant with a pregnant wife gives his life for his platoon Chief Petty Officer.  He is killed in action in order to prevent Filipino jihadists led by an Arab national from entering the United States border to set off a new type of weapon against civilians.  It is a life and death for which Medal of Honor recipients are honored. 

Earlier in the movie, the lieutenant and his chief spend time surfing where the young lieutenant teaches the chief how to surf.  This is artistically and morally significant in that at the end of the movie, as the chief writes a letter to the lieutenant's newborn son, the movie closes with the chief returning to the beach to surf giving a death and resurrection motif to the movie.  The military details and professionalism are evident as active duty Navy SEALs are used in the movie. 

There is a torture scene of a captured female CIA agent by enemy forces and the understandable typical war vulgarity, but it should be noted that the principles of Just War Doctrine particularly jus in bello (i.e., proportionality and discrimination) are respected by professional soldiers/sailors in the movie.  The events of the storyline span in Africa, the Philippines, Europe and the Americas.  The battle scenes reflect the extraordinary team work reflective of the Navy's motto: Honor, Courage, Commitment.

For moral and literary content, the movie earns a A/A- rating, but no rating can ever capture the gratitude of a citizenry cognizant of what SEALs and other military do to lay down their lives for others in real life, even at great personal cost to themselves and their families.

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