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Act of Valor | 2012 | R | - 2.8.6

Action film starring active-duty Navy SEALs and reportedly using live ammo in order to make the violence seem real: US soldiers are deployed to rescue an undercover CIA agent, who uncovered an international conspiracy started by a drug smuggler working with a jihadi agent to bring explosive-vest wearing terrorists into the United States. With Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez and Nestor Serrano. Directed by Mike McCoy & Scott Waugh. [1:41]

SEX/NUDITY 2 - We see a man and a woman kiss. A man hugs a woman and they kiss as the man holds the woman's head in his hands.
 A man uses a crude phrase to signify heat, saying it is hotter than two rats having sex in a wool sock. A man jokes that he had tried to get a man in bed "years ago."
 We see two men shirtless with their bare chests and backs visible. A small baby is seen without a shirt. We see women wearing skimpy bikinis (they are seen through a surveillance shot) and a woman wearing a skimpy bikini (her cleavage is exposed) serves a man a drink.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 8 - A woman who had been kidnapped and beaten is seen with her hands tied above her head, one of her eyes is swollen shut and we see dried blood on her cut lip and coming from her nose, a man punches her in the nose (we see a fresh stream of blood come from her nose) and the man then drags her body into another room (we see a trail of blood behind her); the woman is later seen sitting on the ground with her hands tied to a table, a man with a power drill approaches her and we hear screaming as it is implied the man drills a hole through her hand (we later see blood covering the woman and a large bloody wound is seen in the middle of her hand and it is implied to be from the power drill).
 During a prolonged firefight between soldiers and three men we see the following: A man opens fire on the soldiers, we see blood spray from a wound in a soldier's face and he drops to the ground, a sniper shoots a man as he tries to run and blood sprays from the man's neck as he hits the ground, we see shots line a wall and a man grabs another man and shoots him in the throat (blood sprays over the wall).
 Soldiers storm into a room after using an explosive to knock a door down; the man behind the door is thrown through the air, a soldier shoots another man standing against a wall (we see the spray of blood hit the wall), and a man throws a grenade on the ground as soldiers walk through a room; a soldier throws himself on top of the grenade, we see the grenade explode, the force bucks the soldier's body into the air and it collapses on the ground (we immediately see a large pool of blood under his torso and we later see the soldier's graveside service and casket).
 A man shoots a soldier when he enters a room, we see the shots hit the soldier's wrist (blood sprays from the wound), he is also struck in the torso and continues to be shot multiple times as he slumps against a wall, he appears to be dying and blood is seen on his face, torso and arm, but he fires and kills one of the gunmen as he turns to run; a second shooter approaches the dying soldier just as a second soldier appears and fires, point-blank, into the man's head (we later see the soldier recovering, in a wheelchair and has his hand bandaged).
 A sniper shoots four armed men: One man is shot in the stomach/chest; a man is shot in the head and blood sprays against a wall as his body drops to the ground; a man is shot in the forehead and blood sprays from the back of his head as he drops to the ground; and a man standing on a dock is shot and a pair of hands appear from under the water to catch the body before it hits with a splash.
 Soldiers release an injured woman, covered in blood, from a bed (we see one of the soldiers snapping zip ties from the woman's blood-soaked hands) while another soldier grabs an injured soldier that appears to be dead, the soldiers drive away and are chased (we see dead bodies on the ground as the soldiers drive away), the soldiers and the men following them exchange fire and we hear the soldiers inside the truck shout that the injured soldier is dead (later, the injured soldier sits up with blood covering his face but he is alive); during a prolonged firefight between the soldiers and the men chasing them, an SUV swerves off the road after the driver is shot through the windshield, and gunfire hits the windshields of the soldier's truck and one of the soldiers has to kick the broken windshield out of the car.
 Three trucks filled with men holding various weapons bares down on a truck with six soldiers, an injured soldier and a dying woman: the soldiers' truck crashes into a river, and the soldiers pile out, unharmed and are pulled onto two large boats; the boats open fire on the men in the trucks (we see massive artillery shells fired and see bodies drop to the ground as the boats speed away).
 A man is shot in the head as two men charge through a doorway (we see the bullet hit the man's forehead and blood sprays on the wall behind him), a woman in the room reaches for a gun and fires a shot into the ceiling as the two men rush her, one kicks and punches her and the other knocks her unconscious with the butt of a rifle (her nose is bleeding, her lip is split and bleeding and her eye is starting to swell); the two men then cut the carpet out from around the unconscious woman and roll her in it, and throw it in the back of a truck (she is later seen held hostage but alive).
 A soldier shoots a man through the windshield of a car; we see the blood spray and hit the glass as the body slumps over. A soldier from a helicopter shoots a man standing in front of the glass door of a yacht (the glass is sprayed with blood and it breaks behind the man's head as he drops to the ground). A soldier on a boat fires at a man standing on the deck of a yacht and the bullet strikes the man in the middle of the forehead (we see blood spray from the back of the man's head).
 An ice-cream van pulls into a crowded schoolyard, many children approach the van, a man and his son walk toward the van as the van's driver walks away and a massive explosion is seen (the force throws a security guard through the air and we see a boy run from the flames, screaming); we later hear radio and television reports that over a hundred children had been killed, as well as the man and his son (we learn he was an American ambassador).
 A woman wearing an explosives-filled vest depresses a detonator button and two soldiers drop for cover as a massive explosion rips through a building; the flames consume a man holding a rifle and the heat causes the man's gun to explode and we see bullets fly through the air.
 Soldiers holding large guns walk through an outcropping of buildings and trailers, the soldiers silently enter homes, and we see a man and a woman sleeping; a soldier with his gun drawn enters a home and a woman holding a small baby shouts at him while a man on a bed is shot three times (blood spray covers the wall and bed and the woman screams). As soldiers go through a series of buildings we see a sniper shoot four men sneaking out of the building; we see the shadow of the bullets hitting their bodies as they twist and fall to the ground.
 An explosion rocks a small ship following a large yacht and causes the yacht to sway (we see the burning ship following behind the yacht). Soldiers storm onto a yacht, and we see two soldiers in a speed boat following a boat as it quickly sails away from a yacht and one soldier shoots the boat's driver (we see the body slump over).
 Two soldiers enter a room, and a man inside the room fires a rocket-launcher into the stomach of one of the soldiers but it does not detonate; the other soldier shoots the man multiple times (we see blood pour from the man's head and chest as he falls to the ground) and the two soldiers joke about how lucky the soldier had been that the rocket was a dud.
 An undercover police officer drives a dump truck filled with hiding soldiers through a crowded city street, men holding machine guns run toward the dump truck, the driver steers through two cars blocking the street and the soldiers pile out of the truck and start shooting; a man falls backwards through a skylight after being shot on a rooftop by a soldier on the ground. Soldiers jump from a helicopter and sail through the air unharmed (we do not see them land, but know they land unharmed).
 An ice-cream van drives through a crowded city street, and we see scooters and people swerve to avoid being hit; the driver of the ice cream van looks in the back, where there's a young woman that appears frightened and it is implied that she has been kidnapped.
 A man screams at another man and knocks objects off a table. Two men shout at one another. A man shouts at another man, saying that he had sacrificed men's lives in order for him to meet with the man.
 During a debriefing, a soldier tells other soldiers that a drug smuggler had kidnapped a woman, who might be immobile due to the amount of blood found at the scene of the crime; a soldier adds that a man had been killed when the woman was taken hostage. A soldier tells other soldiers that they are tracking a man believed to be responsible for a lethal bombing at a school; they watch a video of the man as he explains that he believes that US Soldiers are responsible for genocide and he is going to have revenge. A man tells another man that a vest is filled with explosives that are "very deadly" and "truly devastating," explaining that the damage would be similar to 500 bullet wounds and an explosion. Two men discuss how the damage caused by a series of people wearing explosive vests would be more devastating than 9/11 and that damage would be greater because there would be explosions all over the United States, not just one city. A soldier warns a man that he will be "sitting in a box" (implying prison) and makes a vague threat against the man's family, warning him to do what will "protect" his family; the man makes the soldier promise not to harm his family and the soldier agrees. Throughout the movie a man's voiceover narrates a letter to an unseen boy, discussing how the boy's father had died during a war and how the boy's great-grandfather had also died during a war. A man warns another man over the phone to keep a woman alive. A police officer warns a soldier that an area of a city is very dangerous because it is run by a drug cartel. Three soldiers discuss how a soldier had been wounded during a firefight and will lose his eye but will recover. A soldier mentions that a kidnapped and tortured woman who had been recovered was still alive and on the mend. A woman warns a boy that a shot will not hurt him, saying he will only feel a pinch; we see the woman holding a syringe but he boy walks away before receiving the shot. A voiceover explains that a man had received a Silver Star for assisting an injured man during battle. A man uses the phrase: "I'd rather bring a knife to a gunfight." A man jokingly tells another man that he should "beat up" the person who gave him his haircut. Before the movie the two directors briefly discuss how they had used active-duty Navy SEALs and live ammo while filming in order to make the violence seem real; one of them says that he had asked a man what it would be like to say goodbye to someone "you may never see again" before being deployed.


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LANGUAGE 6 - About 12 F-words and its derivatives, 1 sexual reference, 9 scatological terms, 10 anatomical terms, 6 mild obscenities, name-calling (Scrabbler hustler, Dominican Mr. Clean, jihadis, Crisco, savages, boring, old school jihadis), exclamations (shut up), 6 religious exclamations.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - The US military, Navy SEALs, Special Forces, jihad, terrorism, drug smuggling, revenge, danger, valor, courage, death of a family member, sacrifice.

MESSAGE - Real military operations are essentially indistinguishable from movies with special effects.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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