Stars: Bruce Willis, Monica Bellucci, Cole Hauser, Eamonn Walker, Johnny Messner, Nick Chinlund
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Screenwriters: Patrick Cirillo, Alex Lasker
Tears of the Sun, which has Bruce Willis on a rescue mission to save an American doctor and some missionaries doing good deeds in Nigeria from a rebel onslaught is a message movie trying to be an action movie but it gets lost in its own ponderous nature.
Lt. A.K. Waters (Willis) heads up a Navy SEAL unit sent to escort Dr. Lena Kendricks (Monica Bellucci), from hostile territory but when he arrives, he discovers that Kendricks won’t leave without her refugee charges. So, against orders, Waters and his men set out through the jungle with a ragtag group slowly making their way to the Cameroon border and safety. Along the way, Waters faces the harsh realities of Nigerian rebel atrocities, divided loyalties from his men and having to cope with the good doctor who fights him every chance she gets. Waters would have done well leaving her behind and just taking the refugees. To make matters worse, there’s a rebel troop shadowing them and Waters can’t figure out why.
Lotta says: Director Antoine Fuqua, who doesn’t trust the audience to be sickened enough by the atrocities, feels compelled to cue every emotion with soaring serious music. The overly beautiful Monica Bellucci, with her perfectly moist lips, is sorely miscast and the continual hints at a romantic interest between her character and Willis’ are ridiculous. For an action film there is way too much downtime. Urgency for these characters means nothing. Equally ridiculous is the director having American soldiers preparing to enter a rebel-held village armed with handguns where rifles should and could have been used. If Bruce Willis continues with films like this one, he soon won’t have any career. I suggest he opt for straight drama and give up the weapons flicks. Rated R – for strong war violence, brutality and language.
Studio: Revolution Studios (Sony)
Production Company: Revolution Studios, Michael Lobell Production, Cheyenne Enterprises Production
Reviewed June 2003