I’m a sucker for anything related to the U.S. Military. Remember those “Army of One” commercials? Those could easily leave me in tears. While I find it incredibly difficult to articulate the raw appreciation I feel for our country’s service men and women, Act of Valor does it pretty well.
The film portrays a team of U.S. Navy SEALs on a mission to rescue a CIA prisoner, which ultimately turns into a mission to stop the greatest terrorist threat since 9/11. The cast is mostly nameless, as they are active-duty Navy SEALs. Along with that comes some questionable acting and poorly delivered lines. But what is truly incredible is the stark reality the casting provides to the audience. It’s not some pampered Hollywood celebrity pretending to be a disciplined, fearless soldier; these guys are actual badasses. This is what they do every day. While our 9 to 5 jobs might seem stressful sometimes, these SEALs go into work by running, outnumbered, towards machine-gun toting bad guys, jumping out of planes in the dead of night over unknown jungles below, and risking their lives to save the innocent.
Act of Valor portrays these SEALs as they are: the most professional, highly-trained soldiers in the world. If the sweet action scenes and the cool technology aren’t enough for you, you might find inspiration for your everyday life. The SEALs show how trust and communication are essential for a successful mission. If a team is made up of uniquely-skilled individuals working together to achieve a common goal, then this is the best performing team I’ve ever seen. And if all else is lost, the best thing you could take away is a moving quote from Tecumseh, a Shawnee mystic and warrior. Because sometimes we all need a little perspective.
“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”