"Tears of the Sun is more than what the trailers make it out to be. It's not your normal action movie, meaning the plot isn't just an excuse to have lots of things blow up. The story focuses more on the internal struggles of Willis's character than anything else. If you watched the trailer and were hoping for Die Hard 4: The African Edition, you will be sorely disappointed.The plot revolves around a mission by US Navy SEALs to go into a hostile area of Nigeria and rescue an American doctor. The doctor (Monica Bellucci) is living at Mission, taking care of sick and dying Nigerians. Getting the doctor out is only a minor hassle, the real trouble begins when Willis' characters internal struggles of following orders vs. doing what is right get the best of him and he decides to try and save all the Nigerian patients. From there all hell breaks loose and there are a few surprises before the end.As I said before, this is not your normal action movie. It doesn't go gonzo on the special effects and explosions, but obviously this is a war movie and there is plenty of violence near the end. The thing is, by the time people do start dying, you will care. On a side note, there are several parts of the movie that are unrealistic (the main one being a Navy SEAL going against explicit orders from his commanding officer), but these can be easily forgiven and overlooked.The combat depicted is on par with the best recent war movies, such as Black Hawk Down and We Were Soldiers. It's very realistic. The "grand finale" battle at the end is a pretty intense 30 minutes, and is best experienced at a theater with good sound. Overall, this is a very satisfying movie that is worth the exorbitant ticket prices these days."
Tears [of the Sun]
Jon Warshawsky | San Diego, CA USA | 03/10/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Tears of the Sun brings Bruce Willis back to the rebel-with-a-cause-and-a-big-gun role. This isn't a date movie. Lots of guerrilla combat, lots of blood and a subplot that is revealed only well into the movie -- and I won't spoil it for you. If the basic plot is nothing new, the film comes together very well, and it outclasses a lot of other action flicks.Willis (as Lt. Waters) leads his men into Nigeria to rescue an American doctor. In a fit of conscience, after having achieved his mission, Waters orders his choppers to return so that he can rescue the band of doomed refugees. We feel good about that. Especially after seeing what the Nigerian rebels did to the hospital after Waters and company evacuated. If you accept that a special forces lieutenant would disobey orders and follow his conscience, the rest of the story unfolds well.Visually, Tears of the Sun is a stunner. You will feel as though you spent a couple of hours in the rain forest. Some of the gorier scenes look like the sort of thing that might be omitted from news coverage of such events, but it was enough for me. The pace is intense -- not much time spent chatting around the campfire. I can't vouch for the accuracy of the military operations, but Willis is very credible in this role, and realism tends to win out over dramatic licence. At least until the final sequences.If you like action films with at least a layer of human interest, you will probably enjoy Tears of the Sun. It falls short only in the ways most desperation mission movies do -- some narrow escapes that require us to be grateful for our heroes without overanalyzing. ... But the overall writing is quite good. ...Tears of the Sun may not be the film of the year, but it holds together well and kept the audience absorbed. It shows American soldiers as capable, confident and caring. That's a good image, and one that sends you home thinking that our men and women in uniform can do a lot of good."
Tears of the Sun is well worth seeing
John | 03/10/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Tears of the Sun is a first class war movie in the realistic style of Black Hawk Down. The plot centers on a mission by US Navy SEALs to rescue an American doctor at a mission in Nigeria during a civil war.
Bruce Willis stars as the officer commanding the SEAL detachment. He and the other actors potraying SEALs received training from real SEALs and, therefore, come across as authentic instead of the usual Hollywood portayal of speical operators as undiscplined psychopaths.
The level of violence in this movie is high as expected in a war movie, but it is never exaggerated or cartoonish. Neither is it included just to keep the excitement level up. Instead, violence is portrayed as the inevitable product of war and is shown realistically as real human suffering.
The movie is very tightly edited and moves quickly. There are no long periods of chatter and no padding. The movie gets right into the story it intends to tell and moves along quickly. I was surprised when the movie ended that 2 hours had actually passed.
The battle scenes are clearly the product of some considerable effort at realism. The good guys are not invincible and the bad guys are not incompetent. Weapons effects are realistic, not exaggerated. Wounds are authentically gory, but not overdone for effect's sake.
In conclusion. Tears of the Sun attempts to paint a believeable picture of believable human beings in a frightening and brutal situation. It is one of the finest war movies I have seen and I recommend it highly to anyone who likes the genre."
Will have Hollywood up in arms
Grimmy | MD USA | 03/10/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"13 out of 15 found this review helpful. (I added a sentence or two and the votes were reset.)As expected, critics are upset at the film's slightly pro-American view ("balanced" with hints of the darker side, of course). Hollywood.com's reviewer was apparently grinding his?her? teeth so much he couldn't even understand the dialogue:"When someone points out a potential problem with his strategy, for example, Waters replies, "There are lots of possible scenarios and I don't presume to know them all." What great military man would put himself and his men at such risk without considering all the consequences?"But Waters was responding to the doctor's plea that if they left, the villagers would be killed. His response, above, was simply a cop-out which neither of them believed - nothing to do with what the reviewer supposes. The real complaint these reviewers have is this that (gasp) American soldiers, for all their flaws, are portrayed as heroes:"... the blind patriotism we are spoon-fed towards the end makes this film a little hard to swallow."The "blind patroitism" must refer to the refugees' tears and cries of eternal gratitude for the courageous sacrifice that has bought their very lives. And that's the essence of the cries of "too simplistic," "propaganda," "jingoistic" - which is code for "I am upset that this film does not portray American soldiers as mentally deranged, pot-smoking, homicidal, genocidal, racist, trigger-happy scum of the earth." We are not given any backstory to explain that the murderous rebels were driven to their life of hatred because their parents couldn't afford to get them "Boggle" when they were kids, or any such "evenhandedness." Fuqua presents viewers with the stark reality of evil, not the evil of war. He asks us, if we should not intervene in the face of such evil, when should we? If our military cannot be used to overturn such gross inhumanity, what good are we as a nation? This would make any anti-war type squirm.What did I think? It's intense, brutal, frustrating, and strangely un/sentimental. Willis portrays a thoroughly professional soldier dedicated to carrying out missions to the letter. He makes a thoroughly professional decision to extract only his designated "target" - which leads to the uninhibited slaughter of the village where she worked (unsentimental). (The fact that the movie's scenario has Muslims brutalizing Christians - unfortunately not a purely fantastical scenario but one which is being played out today worldwide - will also raise cries of fury and disdain. Of course, if it were the other way around, there would be no complaints. Aren't these critics starting to sicken you, too?) Waters responds to the good doctor in a way that we would naturally see as unfeeling, even inhuman; but later we see that she has also made a foolish calculation. The refugees' gratitude for Waters' intervention may be interpreted as sentimental, but it's deeper than that. The soldiers are heroes not because they are cowboys - they are heroes because they will sacrifice for a good cause. Witnessing the slaughter breaks Waters' lifetime of mission discipline. He resolves to lead 70 refugees to Cameroon, at no small cost of peril to himself and his men. The sight of their helicopter whisking into the refugees' view above the trees and landing is one of the most moving moments; I got kind of misty. In fact there are other moments which are more subtle. When Waters gives the chopper the command to turn around, the immediate, unquestioning "Yes, sir" speaks volumes. And some critics called this movie "heavy-handed." (There is some incoherence ... some parts of the film imply that they immediately agree with Waters' decision, other parts of the film seem to contradict that.)In between exacting well-deserved vengeance on their genocidal enemies, they are chased relentlessly, engaging in intense firefights. Every time one of them stands up, you flinch and your guts tie into knots because you just *know* he's going to be hit. The soldiers exude a quiet, professional heroism which is apparently out of vogue in Hollywood, but will make you wish you were there beside them, even with a potato gun. Yes, the scenario is black and white, good against evil, but sometimes that's the reality. Deal with it."
This Is A Thoughtful Yet Still Terrific Action Film!
Barron Laycock | Temple, New Hampshire United States | 07/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the opening sequences aboard the aircraft carrier to the closing credits desplayed over escaping helicopters, this is perhaps the single most thoughtful action film of recent memory. Bruce Willis is terrific as an officer whose special operations team is assigned to extract an American national missionary doctor (a lovely woman, of course) from the war-ravaged rural areas of Nigeria. What should be a quick and easy operation turns complex based on the doctor's seemingly outrageous demand that seventy Nigerians be brought along, on the one hand, and Willis' sorely vexed conscience based on what he knows will happen to these Nigerians if he leaves them behind. So, Eighty or so strong, they venture tenuously into the hidden dangers of the jungle, quickly pursued by a battalion of rebel forces bent on finding and killing them. What then transpires is both well dramatized and cinematically executed, and the movie gives the viewer a quite accurate idea of the amazing firepower contained in a relatively small American fighting unit, and at the same time it also renders a glowing and accurte portrait of just how selfless and caring American fighting men can be. In the wake of so many such recent examples in Iraq, it is touching to see it so convincingly dramatized here. Yet at the same time, some troubling social and political questions regarding the nature of the human beings that inhabit the planet are depicted in quite gritty detail, and the subsequent theme of how to make sense in an absolutely insane situation plays a major role in making this an excellent, albeit a bit self-conscious and serious, action film. The action is superb, the cinematography of the African landscape is breath taking, and the actors provide a wonderful ensemble portrait of people trying to cope with the manifest craziness of conflict and war. One leaves the film thinking about what has been said and shown, and with a greater appreciation for just how marvelously complex our position in the world is. I highly recommend the film both for entertainment and for edification. Enjoy"