A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Act of Valor is a fact-based action movie about the Navy SEALs -- who are mostly played by real-life active-duty SEALs. Strong violence includes a brutal sequence of a woman being kidnapped, beat up, and tortured, and a scene in which many children are killed by truck bomb. There's also tons of guns and shooting, blood, graphic shootings, injuries, and death. Language isn't constant but includes occasional uses of "f--k" and "s--t," as well as some brief innuendo. The movie's message is mixed: On the one hand, the characters are unquestionably brave and selfless team members who value family, country, and sacrifice; but on the other, their job is violent and requires injuring and killing others. The values that viewers bring to the movie will affect how they ultimately perceive its messages.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
An international smuggler (Alex Veadov) has reunited with an old friend (Nestor Serrano) who has become a terrorist. A CIA agent (Roselyn Sanchez) working undercover has collected information on the two men, but before she can do anything with it, she's kidnapped and tortured. It's up to the Navy SEALs to rescue her. The daring operation also yields a terrorist cell phone, which leads to yet another discovery: The bad guys are working on secret bomb vests that can't be picked up by metal detectors. What's more, 16 of them are headed to several major U.S. cities. Can the SEALs stop them in time to prevent mass destruction?
Is it any good?
Only pre-existing fans of the SEALs are going to get much out of this underwhelming movie. Co-directors Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh begin ACT OF VALOR with a filmed introduction explaining why they chose to cast real-life Navy SEALs: because actors couldn't convey the proper realism. And to some extent, that idea works. In one terrific rescue scene, viewers see the skill and precision of the SEALs at work, including surprising details that might have been overlooked by a traditional Hollywood production.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the Act of Valor's violence. Is it justified? How does it compare to what you've seen in other action movies?
Was it the right decision to cast real-life Navy SEALs in the movie? Does it make the movie more realistic? How else does it work? In what ways doesn't it work?
How does the movie reflect the military? How does that compare to other military depictions you've seen in movies and on TV?
- In theaters: February 24, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: June 5, 2012
- Cast: Alex Veadov, Nestor Serrano, Roselyn Sanchez
- Directors: Mike McCoy, Scott Waugh
- Studio: Relativity Media
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong violence including some torture, and for language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.