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
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
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
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
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,
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 email@example.com.