Hollywood appears to have caught Navy SEAL fever, given the increasing number of upcoming projects that involve this particular brand of soldier. Add one more to the lineup: Act of Valor, a Black Hawk Down-style thriller about a squad tasked with a dangerous rescue mission that sees them cross right into enemy territory.
Relativity Media has now acquired the rights to the film, which promises to feature (according to the official press release) "high-octane combat sequences" that were crafted by former stuntmen-turned directors Mike "Mouse" McCoy and Scott Waugh.
According to Deadline, part of what makes Relativity's deal for Act of Valor noteworthy is that it's an exceptionally expensive acquisition move (with a cost upwards of $30 million) for a project that features no big-name cast members and was helmed by a pair of lesser-known filmmakers. However, the recent death of terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden at the hands of a Navy SEAL team has got Hollywood seeing dollar signs - and thus, any project involving those covert ops soldiers is now being seen as a hot commodity.
Other SEAL-centric projects on the horizon include Kathryn Bigelow's film about the hunt for Bin Laden (still tentatively titled Kill Bin Laden); Maersk Alabama, a project based on the novel "A Captain's Duty" about a Somali pirates hijacking, which will star Tom Hanks and looks to be directed by Paul Greengrass; and Lone Survivor, another based-on-a-true-story of Navy SEALs in action from director Peter Berg (The Kingdom, Hancock).
Act of Valor is now slated for release in early 2012 (most likely, President's Day weekend next February), so it'll be the first of the four aforementioned Navy SEAL movies to hit theaters.
McCoy and Waugh were reportedly allowed "unprecedented Naval access" in order to craft highly-realistic and engaging battle sequences for Act of Valor, which also features actual Navy SEALs as members of its cast - alongside professional acting types like Roselyn Sanchez (Rush Hour 2) and Emilio Rivera (Sons of Anarchy). With experienced stuntmen calling the shots, there's little reason to doubt that the film won't be a gritty and intense military thriller - on the action side of things, at least.
Of course, war movies are just as prone to suffering from conventional and cliché scripts as any other type of genre film - and with 300 co-writer Kurt Johnstad being responsible for the Act of Valor screenplay, there's all the more reason to be concerned that the final product will have more than its fair share of hammy inspirational speeches or one-dimensional characters. Act of Valor definitely has the potential to be just as engaging as any of the other upcoming Navy SEAL movies on a visceral level, but the lack of a well-regarded or decorated filmmaker working behind the scenes suggests it could lack the substance of its peers.
As mentioned before, Act of Valor is expected to reach theaters by February 17th, 2012. We'll let you know when it's officially set for release - and when a trailer for the film has been unveiled.
Source: Relativity Media (via Deadline)