I had a cool day on Friday. A bit of range time and then caught Act of Valor with a DevGru buddy of mine, and about 20 other guys that shot with us (he owns a training company, so it was a little company event). I wanted to give you guys a Marine’s perspective on the flick.
First off, I have to say that the movie was kick ass. Great action, realistic effects and tactics, and enough of a story line to feel a connection with the operators. I think one of the cool things about a movie like this, is that even though it was SEALs, it could have just as easily been another SOF unit. Especially a unit from the Marine side of the house, since we’re also tasked with VBSS and other maritime missions. With these wars, SOF has been working together like no other time in our military’s history. The lines are blurring between units and we’re all truly focused on “one team, one fight”. The friendly rivalry is still there, of course, but when it’s real world, the mission trumps all else. We’re all well aware that Team Guys get a lot more publicity and recognition than the rest, but who really cares. A movie like this serves a very important purpose … highlighting the types of missions that our Special Operators take on, and the sacrifices that the men and their families endure. I actually had quite a few guys from the shooting class thank me for my service at the end of the movie. Good on the SEALs, they made all of us look good with this one.
I’ve read a bunch of reviews on the movie from non-SOF guys and they all bring up the same point … that the acting was mediocre at best. Well, no shit. I would hope that our operators are better at tactical operations than being monkeys on stage! And, who are they to say anything about their acting when they were basically playing themselves. And who really cares anyway. I don’t think any of us saw the movie to see an Oscar worthy “film”. We see it for some badassery. This is one of the few military movies out there where I didn’t have to tell myself “it’s a movie, of course it’s not realistic.”
At the end, it was a bit difficult to hold back my tears. The story line hit a bit too close to home. A friend and teammate of mine made the ultimate sacrifice in a similar manner as an operator in the movie, with no regard for his own life and to save his brothers. His family situation was also the same as the guy in the movie. If you’ve seen it, you can connect the dots. Like I said above, this movie could have been about any of us.
One team, one fight. Rest peaceful, all of our fallen warriors.
Bill Janson is a former Recon Marine and is the founder of Eleven 10, a tactical gear manufacturer.