Tears of the Sun (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner02/09/2003

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 120 mins

Basic, watchable Jungle Mission shoot-‘em-up thriller in which Bruce Willis says Very Little Indeed and "Dr" Monica Bellucci runs around wearing a low-cut top that would put 24's Kimmeh to shame. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Director Antoine Fuqua has made some stinkers in his time (The Replacement Killers, Entrapment) but he seems to be improving of late – he directed Denzel Washington to his Best Actor Oscar in Training Day and with Tears of the Sun he delivers a competent, Friday night thriller that is thankfully light on sentimental, Gung Ho, God Bless America-type jingoism, despite the best efforts of a Hans Zimmer Score Of Subtlety.

Marginally More Complex Than A Video Game

Admittedly, it’s only marginally more psychologically complex than a video game, but as shoot-‘em up rescue mission movies go, it’s watchable enough.

To be fair, the shooting doesn't really start for quite some time. There's a lot of stuff in the beginning about the democratic government of Nigeria collapsing and the country being taken over by Evil Militia Rebel Types. Navy SEAL Lieutenant Bruce Willis is given a mission by Captain Tom Skerrit: to go stealthily into Nigeria, rescue mission worker Monica Bellucci and a couple of nuns and Get The Hell Out.

However, when Bruce and his boys arrive, she decides she wants to take about 30 other people with her and, for one reason or another, they end up having to trek through the jungle to the safety of Cameroon, all the while being pursued by a Bad Ass Posse of Evil Militia Types who are mysteriously aware of their every move...

Sketchy Characters…Not That It Matters

Characterisation is, understandably very thin on the ground, which is, at first, sort of the point. The film hinges on the group of men first 'just obeying orders' (and being prepared to trick the refugees just to save Monica) and then not being able to just stand by and deciding to help instead.

In case you haven't got the message by the end of the film, they put up a handy Edmund Burke quote: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing". Presumably this is so that you'll leave the cinema nodding and chin-stroking instead of being all jazzed up and wanting to fire an automatic weapon.

It's not actually that bad. Dialogue is mostly (thankfully) sparse, although whenever anyone says something for longer than about 30 seconds, it's usually rather cringe-worthy and occasionally laughable. The acting is pretty nondescript, although Monica acquits herself well and the role is a better one than European 'crossover' actresses are usually saddled with. As for Willis, he can do this sort of thing in his sleep but you do occasionally wonder if he isn’t getting on a bit.

In short, this isn’t nearly as bad as it could have been and the final shooty shooty bang bang climax is pretty exciting. Films like this need a good 'Oh, shiiiiiiiiiiit...' moment or two and this has at least two. Also, everyone gets pretty comprehensively shot to hell for a change, presumably in the name of “realism”, yeah? Worth seeing if you like this sort of thing.

Film Trailer

Tears of the Sun (15)
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Content updated: 20/07/2018 18:49

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