Tears of the Sun

"Very Good"

Tears of the Sun Review


A priest, two nuns, and an American doctor tend to wounded refugees in a Nigerian mission. No, this isn't the first line from one of your grandfather's old jokes. It's the launch pad for Antoine Fuqua's Tears of the Sun, a proper military potboiler that catapults blue-collar Bruce Willis back into the hero seat he's grown accustomed to over the years.

Civil war is tearing Nigeria in two. Without warning, the country's president is overthrown by infidels, who assassinate the deposed leader along with his immediate family. Amidst the political upheaval, our government orders a U.S. Navy SEAL platoon led by Lt. A.K. Waters (Willis) to infiltrate the African jungles and extract Dr. Lena Kendricks (Monica Bellucci) and her assistants.

Trouble arises when Kendricks refuses to leave without her walking wounded, so Waters begrudgingly commits to evacuating an entire army of villagers. En route to their designated extraction point, Waters realizes his group is being pursued by a guerrilla faction that seeks something valuable in Kendricks' possession.

Tears benefits from a claustrophobic jungle setting and a slew of credible roadblocks placed in the path to freedom. Most evident, though, is Fuqua's growth as both a filmmaker and storyteller since his hackneyed attempts at action-drama in the subpar Bait and The Replacement Killers. Instead of rapid and choppy jiggle cuts, Fuqua settles Tears into a deliberate groove, allowing drama to manifest itself from an intentionally slowed pace.

A public bombarded daily by the promise of war will be interested in the glance Tears provides into our military in action. Waters and his troops brandish night vision goggles, high-tech communication devices, and weapons the size of walking sticks. For all its mechanical trappings, Tears stands taller than muscle pictures of late for its insight into the military mindset and the goal of completing the mission, regardless of the costs.

Then there's Willis, who earns his paycheck by redefining the hero genre once again. Waters is a first-class soldier who surrounds himself with better men. His troops aren't wholly defined, but they aren't cardboard cutouts, either. They question their commander's decisions when appropriate, though they're just as quick to reinforce their loyalty to the mission. Tears tries but can't avoid the melodramatic hero mumbo-jumbo forever, and when Willis' boys club becomes the focal point of the film, the fiery Bellucci and her faceless patients take a necessary backseat to the action.

All told, Fuqua has crafted one of the better military missions of the last 10 years. He squeezes real tension out of creative but familiar scenarios. His war movie clichés are set aside until the final act, when guns blaze and heroes defy miraculous odds. For the first time in a long time, though, the terse, violent confrontations seemed necessary before a cap could be put on this compelling tale.

The DVD features an army of extras, including a commentary from Fuqua, a pop-up trivia subtitle track, and a mini-commentary from the writers. There's also a lot of information about Africa -- including an interactive map of Nigeria and interviews with African people about recent atrocities. Fifteen or so minutes of deleted scenes round out the disc.

Tear gas in the sun.



Tears of the Sun

Facts and Figures

Run time: 121 mins

In Theaters: Friday 7th March 2003

Box Office USA: $43.4M

Box Office Worldwide: $85.6M

Budget: $70M

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures

Production compaines: Columbia Pictures, Revolution Studios, Cheyenne Enterprises, Michael Lobell Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 33%
Fresh: 50 Rotten: 100

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Lieutenant A.K. Waters, as Dr. Lena Fiore Kendricks, as James 'Red' Atkins, as Ellis 'Zee' Pettigrew, as Kelly Lake, as Michael 'Slo' Slowenski, as Demetrius 'Silk' Owens, as Danny 'Doc' Kelley, as Jason 'Flea' Mabry, as Captain Bill Rhodes, as Colonel Idris Sadick, Awaovieyi Agie as Musa, as Patience, Ida Onyango as Lasana, Benjamin Ochieng as Colonel Emanuel Okeze

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.