‘Act of Valor’ Blu-ray Review
The Navy SEALs pride themselves on being tough, courageous, and daring. One of their mottos boasts “the only easy day was yesterday,” and I don’t question their skills one bit. To me, the SEALs have every right to brag about what they do for this country. In fact, I would generalize this statement to any military personnel for that matter. Each one of them is tough, courageous, and daring in a way I can’t personally imagine.
Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh’s action hit Act of Valor tries to tell an authentic story about what it means to be a coveted Navy SEAL. The story is still fictional, but the movie’s core doesn’t really care about the plot. Instead, Act of Valor is all about showing the crazy tactics, awesome weaponry, and ultimate sacrifice that goes into being a SEAL.
The Blu-ray version is just another example of selling this message. The Blu-ray (+ DVD + Digital Copy) came out this past Tuesday (June 5) with a lot of the same marketing that made the film a box-office success (it grossed close to $80 million). Promotionally, the purchase comes with a bunch of extra material about the real life SEALs who actually starred in the movie. There aren’t a lot of movies that can brag about this kind of authenticity. The actors aren’t the only “real” part of the story either – the filmmakers shot with live ammo and minimal CGI.
Opposing critics describe Act of Valor as the Call of Duty movie. I really don’t have a huge counterargument here, as the film does feel a lot like a video game. However, with the way video games are presented today, is that necessarily a bad thing? Call of Duty has never prided itself as a campaign-first game, making a plot comparison more of a dig. More than that though, part of the movie is presented in a first-person view looking right down the barrel.
Picture quality wise, Act of Valor looks spectacular. Sometimes I forget why I love Blu-ray so much. Then, I catch a film in High Definition, and it completely blows DVD and streaming qualities out of the water. When a movie spends most of its time running, gunning, and exploding, picture and sound quality are essential. They hit the nail on the head here.
Besides the high quality picture, the Blu-ray release includes the following features:
Directors’ Commentary – It’s kind of cool that there are two directors with a hand in this film. I’m always a sucker for commentary tracks because they are full of “did you know?” information.
Deleted Scenes – There are six different deleted scenes (although a couple I’d consider shots more than scenes). However, there is at least one that I’d argue should’ve made it into the movie.
Interviews with the Real Navy SEALs – Yes, this movie stars the real guys. Here, you can meet the real ones (not the dramatized ones) as they explain their military career and how it’s changed them. There are seven interviews, totaling over 30 minutes.
Featurettes – There are five shorter featurettes highlighting what I’ve already mentioned in my review. The five titles are Directors’ Introduction, Real Bullets, Real SEALs, Making of Act of Valor, and Silent Warriors. They’re pretty self-explanatory.
“For You” Music Video – The official video for Keith Urban’s song titled “For You.” There’s also a Making of the Music Video featurette for those more interested.
Theatrical Trailer & Sneak Peek – A look at some pre-release promotional materials.
Standard Definition & Digital Copy – There is a separate disc and insert to make the movie compatible with other formats.
When it comes down to it, Act of Valor is not a movie you see for a mind-blowing story. It’s a type of movie you can turn on at any time and enjoy it for what it is. It’s visually-stimulating, fast-paced, and adrenaline-boosting. For lots of people, that is enough. If you agree, find a copy near you!
Act of Valor is available on Blu-ray on Amazon.