Friday, March 2, 2012

Former SEAL Supports Filmmakers' Depiction

Letter to the Editor: 
As a retired Navy SEAL, I looked forward to seeing recently released "Act of Valor" starring actual Navy SEALs instead of professional actors.  
Like most military veterans, I am a tough critic of all military movies.  
I have no affiliation with the production of this movie.  Prior to viewing it this week, I read reviews that the acting was lacking and some scenes unrealistic.
Since we all value our two hours and $10 and in trying my utmost to not be biased, I respectfully disagree with those reviews.  
Considering they were not professional actors, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the acting and almost all of the movie was very realistic.   
In a fast-paced less than two hours, the SEAL team hunts down terrorists-a.k.a. "tangos" threatening Americans in a series of world-wide operations showcasing SEAL expertise in parachuting, diving, shooting, and fighting.  
The very realistic attention to tactical details includes using hand signals when silence was required and reloading empty magazines from guns and switching from a primary weapon--rifle--to secondary-pistol--when necessary in a firefight. 
A U.S. POW scene was a realistic contrast to an enemy POW scene with realistic contrasting results. 
A rocket round malfunctions showing, in combat--like in life, that being good is good, but being good and lucky is better.  
The movie did not have excessive or gratutious violence, nudity, or sex nor an overpowering soundtrack but felt like a documentary, which is a style I enjoy. 
Although there were subtitles for foreign languages and locations traveled, my biggest suggestion would be to add sub-titles explaining terms and abbreviations that were spoken, but that most viewers are unfamiliar with to maximize connection with the audience.  
The river boat crews were superbly featured and the crews from the helicopters, submarines, and ships deserve more recognition for their invaluable work.  
Most of the few unrealistic details were likely to protect classified information which conveniently cannot be explained for the same reason.  
Due to obvious and dangerous security concerns, SEALs do not prefer the headlines they have received lately.  
On their behalf, SEALs are only a small part of the team that includes countless warriors from all the military branches whose only purpose is to protect America.  
If I was not proud of this movie's representation of an important part of my life then I would not recommend it. 
I'll bet a popcorn that you agree--medium, no butter please.        
Anthony T. O'Brien, Sr., Lieut. Cdr., US Navy Seals (Ret.)    
P.O. Box 4012, Plymouth MA 02361
cell (508) 868-2547
Facebook: Anthony O'Brien Navy Seal
O'Brien is a Plymouth County Commissioner
(Movie poster courtesy

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