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Act of Valor: Rotten Tomatoes Gets It Wrong
February 28 2012

As many moviegoers, I came to rely on Rotten Tomatoes to guide my decision on which movies I will spend my time and money. While far from all films hailed by professional critics featured on the site fall into my category of must be seen, I like to see the consensus on those that might potentially be good candidates for a cinema trip or a digital rental. With very rare exceptions, productions that get bellow 60 percent of positive reviews, that places them in the “rotten” category, tend to be time wasted. So it is with great disappointment I occasionally find myself anticipating a film only to find that it got 30 or 40 percent, meaning I will have to skip it. After ignoring these warning a few times I realized that the critics were right and despite a great director or a famous actor’s best efforts a movie disappoints just like the Rotten Tomatoes predicted.

That is until the case with “Act of Valor”. I saw a preview of the film about a month before it opened. The SEAL Team 6 operations responsible for Bin Laden assassination and later, a rescue of Danish and American aid workers from the heart of Somalian pirate territory were fresh in my memory. Seeing that the Act of Valor was based on real SEAL operations sparked my curiosity. However, the critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a poor review. Some of the deficiencies mentioned were lack of character development and video-game-like action scenes that supposedly were compensating for a meaningful dialogue. On the other side the audiences on Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an overwhelmingly positive review praising its realism delivered by real SEALs acting in the film.

I decided to see the movie and went for a matinee screening to avoid the crowds.
The auditorium had about 30 guys, and not a single woman. The time went by in what seemed like one breath. The action, interactions between the characters, the everyday sacrifice endured not only by the soldiers but their families who face high risk of losing fathers, husbands and sons every day while life around them goes by ‘normally’ depicted with outstanding poignancy. Makes one think what it takes to protect our life as we know it. But it is also clear that the choices made by these warriors are their own and, despite the risks (or because of them), they wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, should you see it? Absolutely, 100%. The critics got it really wrong this time.

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