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‘Tears’ too disturbing to be entertaining

Jackson Bell is the business reporter for the Leader.

Death. Rape. Ethnic cleansing.

Expect all of these graphic subjects when viewing “Tears of the

Sun,” a fictional story about a Nigerian civil war and American

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involvement starring Bruce Willis and directed by Antoine Fuqua, best

known for 2001’s “Training Day.”

Willis, as Lt. A.K. Waters, plays a hard-talking and cold-hearted

Navy S.E.A.L. veteran officer who suffers from a crisis of conscience

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when he and his unit are ordered to rescue Dr. Lena Kendricks, played

by Monica Bellucci. Kendricks is a dedicated physician running a

countryside mission who is motivated more by her emotions than common

sense.

The problem with the movie is its incongruity. Not only is it too

visually disturbing to be entertaining, the trite dialogue (Waters:

“I broke my first rule -- not to give a ****.”) and emotional

contrivances (an overly dramatic musical score) are too overwhelming

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to be provocative.

“Tears of the Sun” isn’t necessarily a bad movie, it just happens

not to be a good one. For the most realized account of the horrors

and corruption in Africa, “Black Hawk Down” is the better film. And

for a tale of soldiers defying their command to follow their hearts,

“Saving Private Ryan” is superior by far.

During the resolution, a Nigerian woman tells Waters that God will

never forget him for what he has done. A mere mortal such as myself,

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however, was so unaffected I seemed to be unable to remember it

almost as soon as the credits rolled.

“Tears of the Sun” is rated R for strong war violence, some

brutality and language.

* If you would like to become a Reel Critic and see a movie on

the newspaper’s tab, call features editor JOYCE RUDOLPH at 637-3241

or e-mail her at joyce.rudolph@latimes.com.


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