Published Mar 01, 2003Touted as Bruce Willis's action comeback, Tears of the Sun is in reality little more than a timely sympathy piece for the U.S. military. The story begins appropriately enough with the bloody overthrow of Nigeria's democratic government by a military dictator, leaving it up to Lieutenant A.K. Waters (Willis) to rescue four foreign nationals stationed at a Catholic mission.
Dr. Lena Hendricks (Monica Bellucci), however, refuses to leave unless he agrees to escort 70 refugees to the Cameroon border. The bulk of the film then follows the excruciatingly slow journey through the dense Nigerian jungle. But rather than use the downtime to shed light on the principal characters' inner workings, director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) simply lets them plod along quietly with the sluggish plot.
Willis plays Waters with a stoic detachment that would work if only we were given some signs as to the reasons for his hardened demeanour. Despite some fleeting moments of vulnerability, his character is amazingly one-dimensional, much like Bellucci's portrayal of the defiant Dr. Hendricks.
Meanwhile, the intermittent action scenes are loud, violent and altogether predictable. Not to worry though, since Willis is apparently invincible and manages to overcome multiple gunshot wounds, and odds, in the name of duty.
At a time when the public's support for a war on Iraq is at an all-time low, Tears of the Sun is here to remind us just how glorious military violence can be. Not surprisingly, the film's crisis is resolved via the typical American response of bomb now, ask questions later. Does this sound at all familiar? (Revolution)