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Act of Valor
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Synopsis for
Act of Valor (2012) More at IMDbPro »

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The film opens with narration by Dave speaking about the code of a soldier. Dave says every man has a code, an ethos that he lives by. The code allows him to do his job and get home. He always tries to get home.

In San Diego, Seal Team 7 is doing a test jump out of an airplane.

The Philippines. A man in an ice cream van, Abu Shabal (Jason Cottle) is quickly driving through traffic trying to reach his destination. He wears a surgical mask to hide his identity. In the back of the van is a young woman. She is sweating but it has nothing to do with the heat.

We see a school full of children. We see a black car with U.S. diplomat plates come inside. Shabal is able to get the ice cream van into the school and the kids run towards it, screaming for ice cream. Shabal jokes with the kids while the woman tries to serve ice cream. The U.S. ambassador is met with by his son and asks if he can get ice cream. His father agrees and moves towards the group. Shabal sees this and nods to the woman. He begins to walk away. The truck explodes, killing the Ambassador, his son, and numerous other innocent children. One darts into frame, their arm charred off by the blast.

Cut to a bar in the United States. Lt. Rorke and SOC Dave are sitting down enjoying a drink when Rorke mentions his wife is pregnant with their first child and he wants to keep it quiet. Dave is understanding, and then proceeds to tell the entire bar that Rorke is having a kid. Rorke shakes his head and tells Dave that he wants him to bring his family down to the beach (Dave has a wife and 5 kids) and they can have one last get together before they have to ship out again. Rorke will even teach Dave how to surf.

Costa Rica. A young woman named Morales (Rosalyn Sanchez) is giving a small child a shot in a medical tent. A convoy of cars show up. In one is Christo (Alex Veadov), who runs up to the group of children in the clearing, giving them candy. Christo sees Morales and she gives him a smile.

Morales meets with Walter Ross (Nestor Serrano). Morales is in actuality CIA as is Ross. They have been watching Christo because he is a major drug lord. The problem is, Christo gives back much of his wealth to the community for housing, medical centers, and schools which make the people extremely loyal to him.

Morales and Ross are at her hotel room playing scrabble, waiting for Chinese food she ordered to arrive. There is a knock on the door and Ross opens the door thinking it is the delivery man. Two men are at the door. They shoot Ross in the head. Morales reaches for her gun and kills one before she is subdued. They knock her out, cut up the carpet and roll her in it, carrying her out. They place her in the back of the truck and drive off.

Back in the U.S. Rorke and Dave got to the beach with their families. Rorke attempts to teach Dave how to surf. Later during the night, we meet the rest of the squad. Remy, their sniper. Ray, their communications man. Sonny, their EOD operator. Ajay, a former muy thai fighter. Mikey, a 20-year veteran. And finally Miller, their senior chief who commands them all. Rorke talks to his squad telling them whatever they need to fix in their lives, they need to do it now before they ship out. They need to be completely focused on the mission, so they can all come home together.

The next morning, Rorke says goodbye to his wife. He mentions that if they have a boy, he thinks James is a good name. When he leaves, his wife falls to the floor and cries, afraid once more that this will be the time he won't come back.

In Mexico, Morales is hung up by her hands, beaten within an inch of her life. Her right eye is swollen shut. Her torturer comes in with a phone. Morales pleads with the voice saying she is just a doctor. Christo, who is in the Ukraine tells her he knows she is CIA and she better start talking. Christo tells his man to keep Morales alive and to only call back when she talks.

The Seal Team is briefed by Miller about Ross' murder and Morales capture by Christo. What makes it more interesting is that Morales had been investigating Christo's link to Abu Shallah, a high value target who is responsible for the school bombing in the Philippines. Their mission is to extract Morales from her captives and find out what she knows.

The squad is on a plane, waiting to jump out. Dave jokes that jumping out of the plane is only 2nd worse to changing a diaper. Rorke tells him he is looking forward to it actually. They jump out and land safely. They set up nearby and wait for morning to come so they can strike.

In the morning, two U.S. helicopters carrying boats head for the water. They drop the boats with men and race off. They will help the squad extract Morales.

Morales has been tortured further and can hear a drill being readied. She finally seems ready to break, pleading for the torture to stop. Her torturer doesn't listen and drills more holes in her hands. The squad hears her screams and Dave makes a call. They are going in before it is too late.

Rorke and three men head into the water while Remy and a spotter stay behind. In a cool sequence, one of the men peers out of the water near a enemy on a dock. Remy shoots the guy in the head, and the solider catches the body into the water, not causing any alarm. Remy shoots several other cartel men and Rorke's men continue to search the buildings. A few cartel men find them and a panic forms in the camp. Mikey is shot and goes down while Rorke and the others clear the camp, with Remy providing backup. They find Morales and kill her torturer. They prep her for transport while another SEAL finds a cell phone on the torturer.

Remy and their spotter realize that backup is arriving to the camp so they need to move Morales and Mikey now. Rorke's group jump into a truck outside and race off for the extraction. They call the gunboats telling them it will be a hot extract. Remy and his spotter are able to catch up with the group and destroy one of the trucks with a M72 LAW. They continue to race for extraction. Mikey, presumed dead, finally awakens and is shocked by the wound on his head. The cartel soldiers are firing on the truck and SEALS returns fire, killing several. They finally hit the river and drive straight into it just as their backup arrives. The gunboats utterly destroy two trucks with GAU-17/A miniguns and cause the rest of the cartel men to take cover. The squad gets themselves and Morales on the boats and escape.

Abu Shabal goes to the Ukraine and goes to meet a contact who is making their explosive vests. The contact explains they are lightweight, concealable and use 500 ceramic ball bearings that cannot be picked up by metal detectors. The contact goes on to suggest a single vest used in a crowded stadium could cause an economic collapse.

Christo and Shabal meet. Christo explains that the CIA is looking at him and he has to go underground. Shabal is enraged, saying he has trained Christo's men for a year and now Christo is failing to hold up his part of the agreement. Christo says that is not true; he is keeping his word but he will not be directly involved with Shabal's plans. Shabal will have to use Christo's associates. Shabal still thinks Christo is going back on their plans.

The USS Bon Homme, U.S. Coast. Miller is told Mikey will live but he will lose an eye from his wound. Miller reveals that the phone they found when they rescued Morales opens up a powder keg. They have just found the Christo/Shabal link. Miller clarifies that Christo is more of a smuggler and Shabal is a terrorist who recruits bombers. Miller thinks Shabal will use Christo to smuggle suicide bombers over the U.S. border to hit them at home. They need to stop them before it's too late. Miller tells he will be sending AJ and Ray to Somalia, Africa to do recon on a supposed drop off for Shabal. The rest will stay on the boat in case they have to go to Mexico. As for Miller, he needs to track Christo down since he has tried to disappear. Rorke gives Dave a letter he wrote for his kid just in case he doesn't make it and Dave jokes he will turn it into a paper airplane.

Ray and AJ jump out of plane with a boat. They meet up with a submarine and travel to Somalia. They take a submersible the rest of the way. They stake out the airstrip and see Shabal there. AJ notices a group of Flipinos praying and realizes they must be the suicide bombers. Down on the ground, Shabal is briefed how his people will be taken to Mexico to travel into the U.S. via tunnels. The planes take off and Ray and AJ pack up getting the photos and audio they needed.

South Pacific seas. Christo is on a boat with several ladies and an armed escort. Back on the USS Bon Homme, Rorke uses a Sat Phone to call his wife. His wife tells him to be careful. They exchange "I love you's" then hang up.

Back at Christo's boat, one of his girls brings him a drink while he talks to his daughter. The boat begins to shake as several helicopters and boats surround the boat. The U.S. soldiers get on the boat and kill Christo's men and disable the men on the other boats. Miller comes onto the boat in a crisp suit and begins interrogating Christo. Christo explains that he and Shabal were childhood friends and their lives took different paths. He doesn't agree with Shabal's ideology but he agrees in the goals. He uses a pendulum as a metaphor. He is the first ball clacking forward, the last one is Shabal and in the middle taking the hits is the United States. Miller gets pissed and pushes it off the table. "You think this is a game!" Miller screams.

Miller calms himself, and asks Christo about his family, his daughter. Christo says he hopes to see her every day. Miller shows him surveillance footage of him and his daughter playing in a pool. Miller lays into him with that. As of this moment, Christo's life is over. He will spend the rest of his life in a box. His wife will divorce him and get a new man. His daughter will get married one day and he won't be there. He will miss everything. Miller lets that sink in for a moment. Christo makes him swear that his family won't be harmed, and Miller gives his word.

Christo explains that Shabal is smuggling suicide bombers into Mexico so they can go over the border to bomb U.S. targets in order to make 9/11 look like "a joke." Miller asks how he can stop it. "I can't," Christo says. Miller asks when it is happening. "It's happening as we speak," Christo says.

Rorke, Dave and the rest of the squad travel to the border in the Baja California Norte state capital of Mexcali on Intel of Shabal's men being there. They land and covertly search a village for the men. However, they enter the wrong building and a woman alerts the entire village to their presence, causing a huge firefight with the drug runners. They are able to repel the attack with mass firepower though not without some close calls. Dave is hit in the chest with a RPG that luckily turns out to be a dud and overall, the SEALS suffer no casualities and take out a few of the suicide bombers and cartel members. Finding some of the vests, they realize the severity of the situation. However, they are briefed mid mission that they didn't get all the bombers. Shabal has already moved with the rest of the bombers.

Shabal is on a boat handing out targets to his bombers. One says the Las Vegas Strip. Shabal looks at them and says they are truly a family now. Shabal and his bombers are herded onto a bus by a coyote who will take them to the tunnels.

The SEAL squad rendezvous with the Mexican military who knows where Shabal is taking the bombers. However, the squad leader of the Mexican military warns that the area is protected by the drug cartels and they will protect Shabal at all costs. The men need to be ready for the extra enemies they will face.

The SEALS, along with the Mexican military travel to the tunnels via small dump trucks. They break into the tunnel system compound where Shabal and his bombers are about to leave. A large firefight ensues where the SEALS and Mexican military fight the cartel to get to Shabal. Rorke, Dave, and a few others go searching while the others decimate the cartel foot soldiers.

Near the tunnel entrances, Shabal orders one of his suicide bombers, a woman to stay behind and try and kill some of the SEALS, saying she shall meet her husband again in heaven.

Rorke and Dave clear the rooms until they reach one with the woman. A lone tear rolls down her face. "BOMB!!!" Rorke screams and pulls Dave back as the woman pushes the button. She blows up, throwing ball bearing everywhere, killing a cartel member in the process. Rorke, Dave, and the squad cautiously continue onward. They enter another room where in the rafters a man pulls the pin of a small grenade and throws it at them. Rorke sees it and having no time to get rid of it otherwise, makes the ultimate sacrifice. He jumps on top of it, shielding the others with his body. It explodes, mortally wounding him. The others look on in shock and Dave screams in horror. Ray tells Dave he's got Rorke and Dave moves on to kill Shabal and the bombers.

At the tunnel entrance, the cartel coyote says he will cover Shabal and his men. Dave enters the room and kills the coyote and several of the bombers before being peppered with multiple bullets by Shabal. Dave's vision goes blurry and red. He sees one last bomber trying to run for the tunnel. He is able to use the last of his strength to raise his pistol and kill him. Shabal sees he is down, and approaches him to finish him off when another of the SEALS enters and fires multiple rounds into Shabal, instantly killing him. The man checks on Dave. One of the other men radios command telling them that Shabal and the suicide bombers are all dead, and that Rorke and Dave are down. We see Rorke, bleeding out as he blinks his eyes. He stops blinking and dies.

Back in the U.S., they have Rorke's funeral. Dave survived his multiple gunshots but is in a wheelchair due to his injuries. Rorke's wife is presented with a flag, along with his father's flag, which Rorke carried with him every mission. Rorke's SEAL brethren stamp their Tridents into his coffin and salute him. Dave stays at the coffin of his friend in silence.

We hear the narration of Dave. It's a letter to Rorke's son. He tells him he has the blood of warriors in him and he should live his life with no fear, and do his best to be a good man. Rorke's wife reads the letter and breaks down. She looks at her son and gives a sad smile, knowing at least her husband will live on through their child.

The last scene is Dave at the beach alone with a surfboard. He stares at the waves, before going in, trying to finally surf.

Title cards dedicate the film to the numerous U.S. SEALS that had given their lives since 9/11 in fighting the Islamic anarchists and suicide bombers. A text scrawl lists them all.
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