I was deciding whether or not to yammer on about this movie. I saw it over the weekend… on the whole: meh. The plot was vacant, the acting was often just plain *bad.* But the combat scenes were all kinds of awesomesauce.
As I said, I was pondering whether or not to post anything about it… until I read a Fark.com thread about how in its first weekend it made twice its budget. And one of the commenters there *nailed* the perfect review for this movie:
I saw it. What were critics expecting? This was originally supposed to be a “direct to DVD, shown on cable” type of movie until they got Bin Laden. The acting was (to put it politely) mediocre, the plot was almost an afterthought, and the lines themselves were fairly stupid. But, since the SEALS were the ones who designed them, the action scenes were top notch, and insanely realistic. It was, as a friend called it, much like Battle: Los Angeles, “Moto Porn”. You don’t watch it for the plot or the dialogue, you watch it for the money shots. In regular porn, that might be two blonde twins, an Asian midget, and a redheaded cheerleader who are “studying in their dorm room” when a pizza guy and the psych professor stop by. In moto porn, it’s when you lead the terrorists on a wild car chase before they run headfirst into a patrol boat armed with miniguns.
Critics looked at the movie and said “my god that was terrible”. Audiences looked at the movie and went “holy shait, that was awesome”
What impressed me the most about this movie was the choice of villain: in this era of astonishing political correctness, the bad guy here is a Chechen jihadist, leading a group of Philipino jihadists on a quest to sneak into the US, by way of Mexican drug cartels, in order to suicide-bomb a bunch of public events.
Back in the 1990’s, I was on the side of the Chechens in their fight against the former Soviet Union. That crap started to unravel on 9-11-2001, accelerated on 23-10-2002, and came to a freakin’ end on 9-1-2004. So it’s refreshing to see ’em get whacked on the big screen. And whacked the villains do get in this movie. My favorite scene had a couple of boats open up on a couple truckloads of central American drug cartel fighters. Specifically, the boats opened up on ’em with *miniguns.* With tracer rounds, it looked like the US Navy had started equipped brown water craft with frakin’ phaser cannon.
I have previously blathered forth about how when Hollywood makes an “America sucks” war movie, it doesn’t do so well, but when they make a “yay, America’s awesome” war movie, it generally does well. Since “Act of Valor” made twice it’s budget in *two* *days,* it’s safe to say that this one fits in with my hypothesis fairly well.