The Act of Valor movie is a modern war story produced and directed by Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh and written by Kurt Johnstad. The movie follows a U.S. Navy SEAL team as they embark upon a black operation to recover a kidnapped CIA agent. It stars Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sánchez, Nestor Serrano and Emilio Rivera, as well as active duty U.S. Navy SEALs and U.S. Navy Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen. The film was released by Relativity Media on February 24, 2012. The film grossed $81 million worldwide and was nominated at the 70th Golden Globe Awards for Best Original Song.
In a scene that could have jumped out of a Michael Bay movie — or, in the Obama era of surgical warfare, a video monitor in the White House Situation Room — a team of U.S. Navy SEAL operators boards a sleek yacht, populated with bikini-clad women, to track down and interrogate a dangerous international smuggler.
As Act of Valor developed with the SEALs on board as advisors, the filmmakers realized that no actors could realistically portray or physically fill the roles they had written and the actual SEALs and SWCC were drafted to star in the film. The SEALs and Special Boat Team members would remain anonymous, as none of their names appear in the film’s credits.
The above-mentioned sequence is indeed from a movie: the new release “Act of Valor.” But the SEALs are real-life active-duty operators (the babes and the bad guy are actors), and the episode is an authentic training maneuver, although the yacht was provided by the film’s producers. That mix of fiction and realism is just what the filmmakers bet on to draw audiences to “Act of Valor”.
But the surprising, if not unprecedented, use of so many active-duty military personnel, as well as the filmmakers’ embedded access to training missions and material (including a nuclear submarine) have put “Act of Valor” in the crosshairs of critics who question whether the movie crosses the line between entertainment and propaganda, and whether the military should be in the movie business at all. The relationship between the Pentagon and Hollywood has raised eyebrows before, even prompting an occasional congressional investigation.