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Tears Of The Sun

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Tears Of The Sun

Starring: Bruce Willis, Monica Bellucci
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Rated: R
RunTime: 121 Minutes
Release Date: March 2003
Genres: Action, Suspense

Review by Steve Rhodes
1 star out of 4

TEARS OF THE SUN is literally laughably bad. For those who see American soldiers as insensitive killing machines who can only do good if they disobey direct orders, you will find your prejudices reinforced by this ludicrous picture. Although it is supposed to be an action film, it is, for the most part, ponderously slow, as Lt. Waters (Bruce Willis) and company wander through the jungle, making one stupid move after another.

The story involves a mission into Nigeria after rebels have killed the entire presidential family. Lt. Waters and his men are airlifted deep into the jungle in order to extract a single person, Dr. Lena Hendricks (Monica Bellucci), a humanitarian doctor who isn't an America but was married to one. Why we would send troops in to rescue just this one person while ignoring the thousands of other Americans there is never answered. It makes no sense whatsoever, which is on par with the logic of the rest of the movie.

In a film this preposterous, it's impossible to list even a fraction of the silly moments, but I'll give you a few examples.

Whenever Lt. Waters's captain (Tom Skerritt), back on the aircraft carrier, wants to speak to Lt. Waters in the heat of battle, the captain takes his phone to the noisiest part of ship, right next to jets taking off and landing. In reality, the deafening noise would make communication impossible, but they have no trouble hearing each other.

Although the lieutenant is supposed to bring back only the doctor in the helicopter, he risks the lives of his troops by taking her and several dozen locals in a long march through rebel-held territory. The soldiers are extra careful to make no noise whatsoever, yet they let the natives sing loudly as they walk.

Sometimes, the soldiers get into a stealthy position before firing, but, at other times, they make the same mistakes that the redcoats did in the revolutionary war. Standing straight up and in a line, they walk while blasting away at the trees. Meanwhile, in the dense forest all around them, well-hidden enemy soldiers fire back. Luckily, the soldiers on other side are really bad shots.

Now let's get down to basics. The American military, who sent in this team, refuse to provide them any air support until the very end, after many of our soldiers have needlessly died. The brass could be court-martialed for this, and CNN, who probably would be reporting about it as it happened, would have the public inflamed.

Why does Lt. Waters disobey orders -- and thereby get many of his men killed in the process? "When I figure it out, I'll let you know," he tells his second-in-command. I wish the studio had figured out the story more before they greenlit the movie. The script should have been at least rewritten and preferably burned.

TEARS OF THE SUN runs a long 2:01. It is rated R for "strong war violence, some brutality and language" and would be acceptable for older teenagers.

Copyright 2003 Steve Rhodes

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