Act of Valor: Shameless Pro-war Propaganda

US pro-war propaganda reached new heights this weekend as Act of Valor hit the silver screens across America. Unlike other war movies, this one was backed by none other than the US war machine itself.

So how has the glorified recruitment tape fared with the critics? Well, it’s not quite worthy of a dishonorable discharge, but there were certainly no medals earned.

“It’s undeniably reverent of the real-life heroes in its cast, but Act of Valor lets them down with a clichéd script, stilted acting, and a jingoistic attitude that ignores the complexities of war,” writes one Rotten Tomatoes review.

“The villains come across as individuals rather more compellingly than do the film’s ostensible heroes, mostly mouthpieces for warrior credo recited in voiceover,” quipped another moviegoer.

But the box office earnings and the metacritic ratings aren’t why the movie was made in the first place. The objectives are to reiterate the worn idiom of American military supremacy, and to ultimately drive up youth interest for the faltering US Armed Forces.

How well the movie will meet those goals remains to be seen. But for an entity with a long history of blowing multi-billion dollar budgets with nothing to show for it, just getting the production on the market is a resounding success.

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2 Responses to “Act of Valor: Shameless Pro-war Propaganda”

  1. Trebor33 says:

    Unfortunately, you seem to view the large number of men in this country who feel so strongly about the ideals this country was founded on, and the ideals we try to enocurage throughout the world where every person is their own property, and not a puppet or slave to the government in power. Those individuals are willing to offer up their lives to support these ideals, yet you seem to dismiss them as part of a war machine.
    I am a retired SEAL, and can speak from direct experience. The film was originally contracted as part of a recruiting video, but the results were phenominal, and the directors apprached the Navy about partnering for a full feature-lentgh fictional plot video, but the success would depend on participation of real SEALs and their equipment, as the expense for hollywood to try and duplicate would be phenomonal if possible at all. In trouth, it is full lenghth info-mercial for SEAL recruitment. As you can imagine, finding young men with the mental and physical tenacity to apply and succeed in SEAL training is very difficult. There just aren’t that many guys out there who can do it.
    No disrespect meant for those who cannot complete the training. They’re no different than those who do make it through, it’s just that those who quit, reprioritize the need to prove themselves and settle for something easier. SEALS are not super-human, but they are very tenacious and mentally tough, physically fit and extremely reluctant to quit…ever. This is the real secret of our success. We take a lot of pride in being the last one standing in any contest, this includes sports, simple games, and combat. We developand maintain a winning mindset.
    For many years, we’ve maintained a high level of confidentiality about who we are and what we do. That has made growth nearly impossible. So we’re reaching out to a wider audience, or pool of protential SEAL training candidates, and unfortunatle, advertisement is a necessary part of recrutiment. We have to disclose what life is really like as a SEAL. The movie Act of Valor has the distinction of being a win-win, both as an educational tool for use in recrutiment and for the public at large (and any potential enemies as well, unfortunately). We in the SEAL teams view the movie asn a very relistic demonstration of our geneal capability and the way life is “in the Teams.”
    As a SEAl, I get nop special benefit from the movie, and still have to pay to see it in the theaters and/or buy the DVD. I plann to buy a few extra copies to send to my family, so they can see how my time in the Navy was spent.

    So, was the movie proaganda, yes, in part, but is is also fictional entertainment desiged to earn a profit for those who made it. I’ll be the Navy has a share in the rolyalties but that is above my paygrade, and any earnings would go toward the Navy’s recruitment of saliors and marines across all ratings, not just SEALs since the Navy foots the bill for recruiting to the SEAL Teams.

    I disagree with your assessment that the U/S. Armed forces are faltering, as overall, for a volunteer force, general recruitment is strong, and in fact, the services are turning away applicants, since there are more than is legally authorized by congress. Further, with Secretary of Defence’s recent decision to reduced the number of personnel, we’re even booting some out (not in the SEAL Teams, however). These unfortuante few will not be allowed back in the service, have no chance of staying in for a retirement, and will land in a society where jobs are scarce or non-existent further exacerbating the faltring economy by adding to the unemployment line and drain on general funds.

    Just some thoughts from someone in the know regarding the movie. I did however, appreciate your skills as a writer and your display of an above average intelligence. I just wish that you could expand your consideration to include both the pros and cons of the situation, as there are always two sides to every story, and both have legitimate footing, but not both can stand as the best option for the benefit of the whole in the near term, mid term and long term. Would that we could all live in eden again, but just think how many Cains there would be, and who would we empower to hunt Cain down and demand retribution for their slayings of the abels? Even in a perfect world, Eve bit the apple, so Utopia is forever unattainable, and we must determine which ideals we will advocate and live by. I for one, chise to live honorably and for the good of the whole where we are all equals and deserving of respect and protection of self and property.

  2. Terry Washington says:

    Personally as a”Brit” I am no stranger to the hero worship of special forces and their cinematic portrayal( “Who Dares Wins”, “the Delta Force” and “Navy SEALs”). The best advice I can make is to enjoy the action and down check the politics(just as i do when watching “Everybody Loves Raymond”, “Frasier” or Shark” although I am fully aware of Patricia Heaton, Kelsey Grammer and James Woods’s conservative politics(full disclosure here: I admit to a certain fondness for Ms Heaton based on her willingness to stand up for what she believes in)