Action Movie Fanatix Review: Tears of the Sun

Action Movie Fanatix review banner for Tears of the Sun

He Was Trained To Follow Orders.
He Became A Hero By Defying Them.

Starring: Bruce Willis, Monica Belucci, Cole Hauser, Tom Skerritt, Johnny Messner

Director: Antoine Fuqua

2003  |  121 Minutes  |  Rated R

“God already left Africa.” – Lieutenant A.K. Waters

A squad of Navy SEALs led by Lieutenant A.K. Waters (Bruce Willis) are sent into Nigeria just after their democratic government collapses.  Dr. Lena Kendricks (Monica Belucci) is an American citizen working at Catholic mission, caring for the wounded Nigerians.  The SEALs’ mission is to get Kendricks out of Nigeria.  When she refuses they have to choose between following orders and doing what they feel is right.

Tears of the Sun is another one of my pawn shop pickups.  It was one of those movies that I had always wanted to see but just never got around to it.  With pre-bored-of-action-movies Bruce Willis starring it’s bound to be at least half ways decent.

I don’t know if the juxtaposition between the atrocities of war and the beautiful African backdrop is intentional or just a happy accident but it really is breath taking.

The first 45 minutes is very heavy with anticipation of the action because action means they have made contact with the rebels and contact with ethnic cleansing.  That’s not a pleasant or exciting thing and director Antoine Fuqua treats it with care.  This does mean that Tears of the Sun is not the type of movie you watch at the end of a long day.  The heavy stuff requires the viewer to pay close attention to fully understand the situation surrounding the coming conflict.

Once we do get to the action, it’s intense.  It’s right up there with some of the very best in modern warfare movies.  It’s gritty, it’s violent…  It’s exactly what you’d want in this type of movie.

The cast of Tears of the Sun are quite simply, excellent.  Bruce Willis and Monica Belucci are always top notch.  Add to that the great support from Cole Hauser and Tom Skerritt and you’ve got yourself a solid group of actors.

Tears of the Sun image

My only partial complaint is that I have literally no clue how true any of these events are.  I feel like there are horrible things happening all around the world and movies like this can be an awesome vehicle to raise awareness of these issues, rather than simply creating new issues to combat.  Even though Rambo was “just a silly action movie,” it did tell about real life atrocities in Burma.  I do wish that Tears of the Sun had done something similar rather than creating their own semi-realistic Nigerian conflict.

I do regret never seeing Tears of the Sun in the theater.  It isn’t a perfect movie but it would have rocked on a huge screen with booming THX surround sound instead of my measly 50 inch plasma and five speaker surround sound.  I know…  #FirstWorldProblems

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