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All-action drama is lacking in emotion.

THE post-9/11 era continues to challenge Hollywood in terms of how it can make war movies that are no longer as simple as ''them and us''.

The wheeze here is to use real Navy Seals to try to make the action seem even better than it can be when trained actors are asked to make us think they are in life-threatening situations.

The directors even pop up before the BBFC certificate to explain the nature of their film.

Such thinking brings to mind the famous apocryphal story from the set of Marathon Man in which Laurence Olivier is said to have told a deliberately tired-looking Dustin Hoffman: ''Try acting... it's much easier''.

The on screen result is, of course, a curious hybrid.

It does have some good action sequences shot using modern, lightweight digital cameras to get you into the heart of the hi-tech violence.

But, without the skills of some bigname actors, the type whose magnetism has drawn generations of cinema-goers into cinemas, it's all curiously empty and uninvolving.

The motives of the Seals are clear enough.

And there's nothing wrong with trying to do the right thing.

But Act of Valour is a relatively black and white study of one half of the same coin.

Clearly made to entertain the Call of Duty video game generation, even gamers will probably tire of not being able to have any control of the shootouts with their thumbs.

The featured stories requiring heavily armed combat are convoluted and illexplained on screen.

Some scenes might even give terrorists ideas or inspiration for causing mayhem - the opening scene of a terrorist killing children with a bomb is not exactly what I wanted to see in cinemas this week after the shootings in France.

The directors of this film mean well. But in seeking to pay tribute to 50 years of Seal service, more subtle forms of discretion might have been the better form of valour.

GRAHAM YOUNG

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READY FOR ACTION: Act of Valour.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Mar 23, 2012
Words:333
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