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Tears of the Sun - Oh, how they burn.

 

Tears of the Sun

Navy SEALs, lead by A.K. Waters (Bruce Willis), are sent in to extract Dr. Lena Kendricks (Monica Bellucci) after the Democratic republic of Nigeria collapses.

The movie starts off with the SEALs returning from a mission only to be sent out again. Before the first act is up the movie can pretty much wrap. They get the Dr. and reach the extraction point. This can raise an eyebrow at first, but then you see what the movie is really about. It’s about these soldiers facing the fact that extracting the Dr. and leaving the rest of the people she was helping behind is not an option. This is the real problem with the film. It almost feels less like they are doing it for the people and more like Waters (Willis) is doing it because of a woman.

Monica Bellucci is one of the few women that you can cake dirt on, make her look like she hasn’t showered in weeks and still come off just as attractive as if she was clean, spiffy and half naked. It must be a curse to be that attractive. The makeup artists must have hated her as one can imagine Antoine Fuqua (the director) arguing with him/her about how Bellucci has to look dirty. Naturally, the makeup artist would respond with a frustrated, “We can’t! We just can’t!”

The movie is well cast, featuring Bruce Willis, Monica Bellucci, Cole Hauser, Eamonn Walker, Johnny Messner and a small appearance by Tom Skerritt (which can’t go inside to talk on the phone for some reason). It’s hard to imagine anyone else as the SEAL team members. Monica Bellucci is great at what she does, but it would be nice to see, er hear, her try an American accent or something other than her standard. Bruce Willis manages to balance the right amount of emotion and diehard (haha – couldn’t help myself) military man. In fact, the whole cast shows the appropriate amount of emotion balanced out with the “getting the job done” attitude we come to expect from such a team.

Jimmy Jean-Louis also appears in this film. He hasn’t done anything really amazing (Heroes isn’t all that great – though it has the potential to be), but he does a decent enough job and was worth noting as a “Hey, its ‘that’ guy”. There is another “that guy” in Peter Mensah (from 300), which can pull off the mean dude that doesn’t say much pretty well.

The direction is solid. Antoine Fuqua manages to drive this story from start to finish in an entertaining fashion, building sympathy when the film requires it and supplying realistic action. Having the violence that occurs in this area (in real life) in the background helps to add to the tension to the film and to connect to those that are in need. Antoine Fuqua deserves a solid script to direct. The man has proven that he has the talent to make a good film, but…

The story (by Alex Lasker and Patrick Cirillo) disappoints. Well, not so much that it disappoints, but there are elements that are a little annoying. The fact that if feels more like the action by Willis and what he puts his men through is for a woman is one bothersome element. Near the end…

BEGIN SPOILERS


In the end the movie feels like propaganda. “This is what the men and women of America will do for other countries. NAY! What they will do for everyone – American and Non-American alike!” That element of propaganda becomes really prevalent when the only female Nigerian that gets any real screen time at all begins thanking them. God will never forget you. I will never forget you. We will never forget you… It goes on for a bit too long then there is the coincidental, but not really reunion that just flattens almost all the depth that the film had, flat.

Now, let's all thank Bush for the need of a film like this... "Thank you Bush!"


END SPOILERS

Tears of the Sun harkens back to the Vietnam movies of the 80’s without pushing things too far in either action or character development. The movie would be easier to promote (as a reviewer) this movie if not for the propaganda feel that the movie takes on at the end.

Images:

Trailer:

Credits:

Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Written by: Alex Lasker, Patrick Cirillo
Cast: Bruce Willis, Monica Bellucci, Cole Hauser, Eamonn Walker, Johnny Messner, Tom Skerritt





Source of the Bitter: JAS

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