OCEANSIDE — A special screening of the feature film “Act of Valor” was held for members of the military and their families Feb. 24 at Regal Oceanside 16 Theater. Mayor Jim Wood was also a guest of honor.“The name of the film speaks for itself,” Michelle Leslie, a former Navy officer, wife of a departed Navy SEAL, and event organizer said. “’Act of Valor’ is about Navy SEALs going in to protect our freedom. It’s about brotherhood and camaraderie and the honor and sacrifice families are making.”The movie remake of the 1990 original that starred Charlie Sheen aims to be a more true-to-life version of what happens in combat.
All acting roles were played by active duty Navy SEALs and live ammunition was used during the filming.
“SEALs best portray themselves,” Leslie said. “Navy SEAL missions can become very difficult very fast. You have to think on your feet. The pace of the movie really showcases that. It sets the bar for action film portrayals.”
The film was originally planned to be a military recruiting film, but the cinematic excellence prompted Hollywood moguls to release it in theaters. The film cost about $12 million to make and is estimated to have already made $25 million at the box office.
Moviegoers with military background said they appreciated the authenticity of battle scenes and family sacrifices that the movie portrayed.
“The movie was more realistic,” Ret. Gunnery Sgt. Manny Estrada of Fallbrook said. “A lot of people don’t understand the movie. They expect to see all the well-known actors. It’s actual active duty Navy SEALs trying to promote the movie.”
Estrada attended the movie screening with his wife and daughter-in-law. His son is currently serving as a Navy SEAL.
“It was hard not to cry as a father,” Estrada said. “Especially toward the end when he jumps on grenade. You have to put yourself in their shoes.”
In comparison to the original 1990 version, most moviegoers said they preferred the newly released movie that accurately portrays Navy SEAL training and missions.
“I thought that movie was wonderful,” Wood said. “It was real people shooting real ammunition.
It showed HALO jumps, swift boats. It was very informative to see what these heroes do all the time. I give my salute to military Navy SEALs and everybody else.”
Wood said his father served in the Navy and fought in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
“I never realized how much he had done in the military until later on in life,” Wood said. “I’m proud of my dad.”
“Most people have no idea what extreme harm’s way troops are going into to keep us safe,” Leslie said. “It shows what heroes we have amongst us.”
The movie screening is a prelude to the countywide Act of Gratitude celebration that is planned to take place later this year to thank the military.