IN 1962, in response to escalating hostilities between North and South Vietnam, allies of Russia and America respectively, President John F Kennedy authorised the creation of the Navy SEALs.
This elite maritime military force proved vital, venturing behind enemy lines in Vietnam to sabotage supplies and destroy ammunition caches.
More recently, the SEALs carried out the covert mission in Pakistan, which culminated in the death of Osama bin Laden.
Every year, 1,000 sailors begin the most mentally and physically-demanding training in the military to be considered for the unit. Only a quarter of recruits complete the 30-month course, covering all aspects of unconventional warfare.
Directors Mike “Mouse” McCoy and Scott Waugh honour the SEALs with Act Of Valour, a fictionalised account of real-life operations starring active servicemen and women.
Fantasy and reality collide head-on: combat sequences are festooned with the latest battlefield technology and the film takes to the air with pilots and aviators and dives inside a state-of-the-art submarine.
The veracity of McCoy and Waugh’s film sadly doesn’t extend to the narrative or dialogue.
Following the assassination of the U.S. ambassador to Manila, CIA agents Lisa Morales (Roselyn Sanchez) and Walter Ross (Nestor Serrano) investigate a drug smuggler nicknamed Christo (Alex Veadov) and his links to the bomber, Abu Shabal (Jason Cottle).
The agents are ambushed – Ross is killed and Morales is spirited away to the jungle to tortured for information.
An elite team of Navy SEALs under the command of Senior Chief Van O is scrambled aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard to extract the stricken agent.
The seven-strong unit including Lieutenant Commander Rorke and Special Warfare Operator Chef Dave infiltrate the enemy compound, unaware of the level of resistance that awaits them.
Act Of Valour is energised by McCoy and Waugh’s hyperkinetic direction, which often switches to the point of view of the SEALs and uncover an impending attack on home soil that will “make 9/11 look like a walk in the park”.
There are neat flourishes – the camera whirling as agent Morales’s body is rolled up in a carpet – that quicken our pulse.
Unfortunately, snazzy visuals cannot compensate entirely for deficiencies in the script or the wooden performances.