130 Min. | Action – Drama – Thriller | September 2003
IMDB Rating: 6.6
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Staring: Bruce Willis, Cole Hauser, Monica Bellucci
Tears of the Sun Review: ‘Tears of the Sun’ is a movie with a message and an interesting first hour, but contains too many Hollywood clichés to really be something. We start with Lieutenant Waters (Bruce Willis) and his team of seals who have to rescue Dr. Lena Kendricks (Monica Bellucci), a priest and two nuns from a missionary post in Nigeria where murdering rebels are about to arrive. The priest and the nuns want to stay, Kendricks only wants to come if the Nigerian refugees can come too. Waters agrees only to leave them behind as soon as Kendricks is on the helicopter. Then, from the helicopter, he witnesses the result of rebels passing by and in an instant he disobeys his orders and turns the helicopter around.
This is the point where the best part of the movie begins. Waters and his team are on their own now, leading the refugees to the border of Cameroon. The way his team not always agrees with his decisions but how they are loyal anyway is one of the interesting things here. Another is the way Tears of the Sun dares to show the rebels and their actions, things we see parts of on the news in places like Liberia and Sudan. It gives us an impression how hopeless the situation is in some parts of Africa. The distraction here comes from Kendricks who is an obvious Hollywood plot device. She is the possible love interest, or at least the needed female character, and she must annoy Waters by constantly suggesting things that even to her must sound stupid when followed by a lot of rebels. Never mind.
Then the third act starts and the movie fails to deliver what it kind of promised before. Instead of following the dramatic path it changes into the kind of action film Hollywood likes to produce. A lot of gunfire, explosions and bodies flying through the air. That’s too bad since an earlier action sequence was able to show both the horrific actions of the rebels and the trained and nuanced way of SEALS dealing with a situation. During that sequence, a director (Antoine Fuqua) doing his job the right way, making the movie very intense. He did the same thing for the excellent ‘Training Day’ from the year before. His third act of ‘Tears of the Sun’ was sort of like an introduction to his real Hollywood adventure, ‘King Arthur’. Ultimately, Tears of the Sun is a movie greater than the sum of its parts.