Michael Totten

Act of Valor

I don’t know about the rest of of you, but I don’t need Hollywood war movies to be pro-American. I just want them to be more or less accurate and to not be anti-American. I can provide whatever pro-American opinion or feeling is appropriate on my own. The best recent war movies, Black Hawk Down and The Hurt Locker, tell their stories straight and are rightly hailed for that reason. Self-generated emotions—not just of patriotism, but also of love, hate, compassion, and anger—are more powerful than artistically manipulated emotions anyway.

Most of Hollywood’s Iraq movies bombed because hardly anyone wants to pay ten dollars to see their own country insulted. The films weren’t bad just because they were insulting, however. They were also bad because they were inaccurate, sometimes grotesquely inaccurate. Most were Vietnam War movies set in a desert and written by people who did not have the faintest idea what was happening over there.

I haven’t yet seen Hollywood’s latest offering Act of Valor and I don’t know if it’s any good, but it seems very different indeed from most of the dreck produced lately. It might be slightly cheesy for my tastes, but after the viciously axe-grinding Redacted, I’ll take it.