Review: Tears of the Sun

The general notion in Hollywood is if you make someone look different than you, it is okay to kill them, or if you make them do bad things, you have all the right to slaughter them uncontrollably. Tears of the Sun plays by both of these rules as the movie starts off on what could be the quickest ending war film in the history of the world, and then takes a trip off the deep end after some “feeling” was interjected into the plot.

The craziest thing about this movie is the enemy. All the director had to do was get a bunch of guys together, slap some berets he undoubtfully bought in bulk at  Monica Lewinsky’s garage sale and gave them guns. Viola, instant, hardcore killing machines chasing our beloved group of refugees and US military personnel through the rain forests of Nigeria.

The movie goes like this. Lt. A.K. Waters (Bruce Willis) leads a group of the elite who are running incursion missions into a mythical ethnic war happening in Nigeria. Since it seems the crazy guys in power don’t like anyone who isn’t of the same faith and/or color as them, an army is sent out around the country to do some ethnic cleansing which leads Waters in to his mission. He is sent in by his Captain (Tom Skerritt) into enemy territory to rescue Dr. Lena Hendricks (Monica Belluci) who spends her free time helping injured people and galloping around in tight fitting tank tops. Through a series of events that will make the viewer cringe in disbelief at just how gullible the United States armed forces can be, Waters agrees to escort a number of refugees to the border with Cameroon even while a large detachment of “evil” beret forces are tailing them.

You really want to go into those movie with high expectations after seeing previous attempts like Behind Enemy Lines and the excellent Black Hawk Down, but you never are able to bring yourself to truly enjoy the movie because it is all based on a stupid decision. If this were the real military, Waters would be discharged so fast the stubble on his face would burn off, but this isn’t the real military, and the entire film sets up for the money shot at the end with a huge explosion you have seen in the trailers.

The biggest hurdle for me was to actually have a sense of conflict. This is the same feeling I had in Black Hawk Down because the enemy is just a faceless group of people who do bad things. The overall conflict is there, and the internal conflict Waters has with himself about his decision just isn’t enough to give the movie any excitement. Truth be told, this is one of the least action packed war movies you will ever see. You may be surprised how many times you check your watch.

It isn’t that I didn’t enjoy the movie, which I did, it just has some glaring problems that bring it to its knees when compared to other movies of the same genre with a much better script and much more developed characters. Of Waters entire team I can remember one persons name, and the rest were just canon fodder.

You find that Hollywood’s attempt to add feeling into a gritty, overly-violent war movie just doesn’t seem to work because of the conflicting emotions. Waters is trying to do a good thing and save people, and members of his team are slitting the throats of Nigerian Rebels. If this is Hollywood’s ideal of feeling the emotional torment our soldiers in uniform have to go through behind enemy lines, then I feel as though I’m going to be sick. See Tears of the Sun to get a glimpse at classic Willis a la Die Hard, but then rent Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down or John Moore’s Behind Enemy Lines and see a war movie done right.

Written by Erich Becker
Thirty-something with a love of everything we cover here, and a few things we don't. Erich has run Entertainmentopia since the site's inception in 1999, countless redesigns, a few crashes, and a lot of media later, here you have it!