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Tears Of The Sun (2003)

He was trained to follow orders. He became a hero by defying them.

Directed by:

Antoine Fuqua

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 121 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

Country: United States

It can be tough at times to see ‘Tears Of The Sun’ as anything other than a hyper-crude cash-in on current global uncertainties. Holding American forces up as the policemen of the globe and making a none-too-subtle statement about US intervention in other countries’ problems, it’s virtually impossible not to relate this film to matters rooted much more deeply in politics than they ever will be in Hollywood.

Be that as it may, it’s a movie I’d prefer to review as just that – a movie. It is a work of fiction, after all, and anyone who needs reminding of that need only look out for director Antoine Fuqua struggle to hold onto his morale message, whilst simultaneously guiding the story around increasingly unlikely turns to its ridiculously upbeat ending.

48-year-old Bruce Willis stretches the boundaries of plausibility as the Lieutenant of a group of US Navy SEALS, sent into war-torn Nigeria to rescue a mission-working doctor (Monica Bellucci). With a nod in the direction of ‘The Searchers’, Willis leads his team, the heaving-chested doc and a gaggle of natives through the jungle, whilst behind them the raping and pillaging rebel forces grow ever closer.

Politics aside, it’s essentially a hard-bitten war movie about chisel-jawed Americans playing the hero. What will make it memorable are the at-times graphic scenes of various atrocities, and regular onslaughts of all-out violence. These are the scenes the film handles well, presenting action sequences with a level of realism unbefitting of the overall plot.

That makes it similar in many ways to Fuqua’s previous project of note, ‘Training Day’, where well-placed shocks and nicely directed action were also tainted by an overly idealistic ending.

It's Got: A ‘Predator’-esque setting.

It Needs: To swap its fixation with politics and morality with some originality and a better overall story.

Alternatives:

Black Hawk Down, Saving Private Ryan, Three Kings

Summary

A fairly well executed actioner with plenty for war flick fans to salivate over – but there’s gotta be a nicer way for Brucey to pay the bills until ‘Die Hard 4’?

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