It is a good time in this country for heroes. As the economy bounces back, spring is on the horizon, even Jeremy Lin has helped invoke some sort of new pride and emotion, we are certainly looking for and can use inspiration of all kinds.
Some of that national pride and inspiration can be found this weekend when the latest offering from the Bandito Brothers, “Act of Valor,” hits theaters nationwide. The film is a fictional account and a look inside the lives of Navy SEALs, with a twist never before seen in an action film…it stars real SEALs, on active duty, who choreographed the scenes and contributed to the 90-minute script. The result is an action movie with a solid plot that feels more like a documentary, and has none of the fake action hero feel that you would get when big name stars take to the screen.
Now is it the best-acted film you will see this year? No. After all, these guys are soldiers, not actors (their families are in the film as well). Is it the most compelling film you will see this year? Maybe so.
The Bandito Brothers and co-directors of the film, Scott Waugh and Mouse McCoy, spent over two years working around the deployment schedules of the SEALs in the film to pull together the story line and shoot the scenes. The SEALs themselves choreographed the action, making sure that the film is as true to life as the actual missions they have gone through, and the Navy provided technical support to give the viewer the best look into the life of SEALs, both professionally and emotionally, that has ever made it to the screen. The directors even used real ammunition, the first time real bullets have been used in a film since the 1920s, to create even more realism.
Waugh and McCoy are no strangers to the action genre…they have done scores of thrill shorts, video game spots and action sports projects, but they both admit that the filming of “Act of Valor” is probably a once in a lifetime project. “To get the access we received and to work with these true heroes to play out a true to life story was an honor, and something that will be hard to ever come close to again,” Waugh said recently.
Now there is some recent question as to whether all this access is good for national security. Critics have argued that exposing details of SEAL missions will detract from their ability to act covertly and with stealth, which is what makes the SEALs so legendary and effective.