Antoine Fuqua's Tears Of The Sun is a brutal, tough war machine of a flick in the tradition of the old 70's war films, kind of like a brooding Dirty Dozen. Bruce Willis stoically heads up a team of special ops soldiers who are sent into a war torn region of Africa to rescue a doctor (Monica Belucci) from a missionary camp. Genocidal maniacs are encroaching into the area and it's no longer safe for locals or relief workers. His orders are simple: locate and extract the doctor, and no one else. However, when he comes face to face with the refugees, and their situation, he simply can't find it in himself to turn his back on them when he can do something to help. He then disobeys his orders, collects both his team, Bellucci and the Africans and makes a run through the jungle for diplomatic protected soil. His team are a grizzled band of warriors, each with their own unique qualities and opinion on his decision. Kelly (a badass, mohawk adorned Johnny Messner) believes it's too much of a risk, and not their concern). Michael 'Slo' Slowenski (Nick Chinlund, excellent and understated) takes a compasionate standpoint. Second in command Red Atkins (Cole Hauser) trusts Willis is making the right call. Soon they are pursued by the extremists, led by a hulking Peter Mensah, before King Leonidas kicked him into the Sarlak pit. The combat scenes are hard hitting, seemingly very well rehearsed and researched. The only problem for me was the overbearing and extended sequences of genocide, which are harrowing and quite tough to watch. When it's combat based it's a damn fine piece, with a rugged, thoughtful band of heroes who are an absolute joy to see in action. Rounding out the team are Eamonn Walker, Charles Ingram, Paul Francis, Chad Smith and a briefly seen Tom Skerritt as Willis's commanding officer. Tough, muscular and no nonsense, with burgeoning compassion that gives that soldiers purpouse beyond the cold lethality of the mission. Fuqua has a terrific collection of lean and mean action flicks under his belt, and this is one of the best.
Tears of the Sun
Action / Drama / Thriller / War
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Navy SEAL Lieutenant A.K. Waters and his elite squadron of tactical specialists are forced to choose between their duty and their humanity, between following orders by ignoring the conflict that surrounds them, or finding the courage to follow their conscience and protect a group of innocent refugees. When the democratic government of Nigeria collapses and the country is taken over by a ruthless military dictator, Waters, a fiercely loyal and hardened veteran is dispatched on a routine mission to retrieve a Doctors Without Borders physician, Dr. Lena Kendricks. Dr. Kendricks, an American citizen by marriage, is tending to the victims of the ongoing civil war at a Catholic mission in a remote village. When Waters arrives, however, Dr. Kendricks refuses to leave unless he promises to help deliver the villagers to political asylum at the nearby border. If they are left behind, they will be at the mercy of the enormous rebel army. Waters is under strict orders from his commanding officer Captain Bill Rhodes to remain disengaged from the conflict. But as he and his men witness the brutality of the rebels first-hand, they are won over to Dr. Kendricks' cause and place their lives at risk by agreeing to escort the villagers on a perilous trek through the dense jungle. As they move through the countryside on foot, Waters' team, experts at evasion and concealment, are inexplicably and ferociously pursued by an army of rebels. They are confounded until they discover that, among the refugees, is the sole survivor of the country's previous ruling family, whom the rebels have been ordered to eliminate at all costs. Waters and his small band of soldiers must weigh the life of one man against their own and the refugees they feel obliged to protect.
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Brutal, brawny war film
If you like gritty, realistic action movies then this will not disappoint.
Tears of the Sun. A pretty typical actioner which reminded me a little of Navy SEALs, though grittier and more believable. Willis is his usual mostly expressionless self here, yet somehow he manages to get the part of the troubled Lieutenant across very well indeed. The other actors all do their parts well and leave little that makes you frown in their portrayal of hardened special forces personnel. It was nice to see Cole Hauser in this movie. An underrated actor who is only now starting to get decent parts since his role in Pitch Black. Almost makes me want to go and see 2Fast 2Furious to see how he does in that. Almost...
But back to the movie. The plot won't stretch your mind much and the "strange" reason why the rebels pursue the refugees so ardently isn't very hard to guess long before the characters in the story discover it. But the action is plentiful, as is the brutality portrayed. If you like sanitized action movies then this film might upset you a little. It's not for those who think that war is about pushing buttons from hundreds of miles away or that all soldiers carry a copy of the Geneva Convention in their kit and consult it regularly.
But if you like gritty, realistic action movies then this will not disappoint.
And now....a small rant.
Oh dear God! I can't believe some of the truly stupid comments here. The concept that this movie's sole purpose was as a propaganda vehicle to make people feel better about the Iraq conflict is laughable to anyone who has a higher IQ than their shoe size. And as for Hollywood constantly portraying Americans as the great saviours....well why the hell not? Who in God's name wants to go and be depressed watching "the good guys" shoot innocents and ignore suffering. Yeah, that'd do real well at the box office! Movies are meant to entertain and make you feel good, not come out of the theatre wanting to slash your wrists. Jeez! Get a grip you people.
Thank you....end of rant.
Gung-ho adventure with added heart
I've always had a penchant for films set in the jungle, and TEARS OF THE SUN makes excellent use of some sweaty jungle locales in its story of US soldiers battling Nigerian rebels. It's a story of human drama masquerading as a war movie, and action lovers will be disappointed as all of the gun battles are saved for the (admittedly spectacular) last half hour. Before then we get a film based on real-life events that runs the gamut of emotions, from courage to anger, fear to bravery and everything in between.
It's nothing new, but benefits from some superb acting from the assembled cast members: Bruce Willis, as silent and stern as ever, acts with just his eyes for the most part and gets the viewer totally on-side; Monica Bellucci is utterly beautiful and tough as the doctor working against the odds, and the rest of the American soldiers are also brilliant – including Cole Hauser as a tough cookie and Tom Skerritt as a grizzled veteran. Well-shot, well directed, and with plenty of story and emotion to keep it going, at first glance this might be typical gung-ho adventure stuff but it's much more. It's got heart and conscience and it never disappoints despite the lengthy running time. A solid thriller.