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The North Wind

The North Wind

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Amelia Kashian
Amelia Kashian
Features Editor

Being passionate is one of the best parts of being human, and I am glad that writing has helped me recognize that. I have been writing stories since I was a little girl, and over...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

‘Valor’ boring yet accurate in SEAL life

“Act of Valor” was very heavily advertised before its release and the theater was nearly full as a result. The trailers pitched this film as an unprecedented one because it used real, active-duty Navy SEALs instead of actors, and it portrayed likely (although fictional) situations that these men are faced with.

Because of this, right off the bat I had a hard time figuring out how to gauge this movie. If the acting is bad, then there must always be the consideration that these people are not paid actors, but soldiers.

Then, when I considered that the movie is actually about Navy SEALs, I had to grant a little leniency toward these “actors.” Despite the fact this is a work of fiction, these men are not acting in the traditional sense of the word, because this is loosely based on their actual job description.

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Within the first few minutes, there is an extremely violent and gut-wrenching scene involving the lead antagonist of the movie, Abu Shabal (Jason Cottle). While this scene definitely instills viewers with the type of evil these guys are dealing with on a daily basis, it also felt a great deal like propaganda to me.

The SEALs featured in “Act of Valor” go by fake names, so it’s tough to describe any of them in great detail. These men are first seen in action when a young CIA agent named Lisa Morales (Roselyn Sanchez) becomes abducted by a group of ruthless thugs.

The bad guys torture Morales in an attempt to make her tell them what she knows about them, while the SEALs prepare to extract her from the site.

I had my hand over my mouth quite a bit during these scenes, partially because of the fact that there was blood flying everywhere and also because this is what these guys do for a living.

The second section involves the SEALs trying to stop a group of suicide bombers strapped with ceramic ball-bearing vests from entering the U.S. through a series of underground tunnels.

If these vests explode, it makes the person wearing it not only a human bomb, but the ball bearings act as a massive shotgun firing in every direction.

Although “Valor” definitely felt like American propaganda at times, there were plenty of other qualities that allowed me to see the film as more than that.

The action scenes were surprisingly effective. Even though the directors of this film (Scott Waugh and Mike McCoy) are relatively inexperienced behind the camera, I was very impressed by the clarity of their more brutal scenes.

Another thing I enjoyed about “Valor” was the lack of sugarcoating. They didn’t make it appear like being a SEAL was easy work, nor did they tack on a happy ending at the end. I’ve never been in the military myself, but I believe this is a fairly accurate portrayal of what life is like for these guys.

There are a few cheesy parts in this movie, which I guess is to be expected in a film without real actors.

Another thing that kind of sent me for a loop was all the code names and military talk that was used.
Overall, “Valor” was an engaging disclosure of the life of Navy SEALs. It was not, however, the ground breaking motion picture that it was made out to be.

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