Act of Valor, which opened nationwide this past weekend as the top-selling movie in the U.S., is perhaps the closest yet that Hollywood has come to producing a pure propaganda film for the “Military-Entertainment Complex.”
For the past 25 years, since the release of Top Gun, the film industry has enjoyed a growing bond with the Department of Defense. In exchange for allowing filmmakers to use military weapons and hardware, and film on defense installations, Hollywood has gladly offered up stories long on heroics and short on criticisms of war or policy.
The friendship between the Pentagon and the studios got even chummier last year with X-Men: First Class. The military was so pleased with the summer blockbuster that it used footage from it in its recruitment campaigns.
Giving new meaning to the concept of product placement, Hollywood has now made a film, and happily promoted the fact, that features active Navy SEALs on screen. According to Alex Ben Block, writing in the Hollywood Reporter, “The movie was scripted but the co-directors worked closely with the SEALs for more than a year in advance and incorporated many of their ideas and stories into the script.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky