March 2003
Tears of the Sun

Reviewed by Wilson Morales

Tears of the Sun
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Producers: Ian Bryce, Mike Lobell, & Arnold Rifkin
Screenplay: Alex Laster & Patrick Cirillo
Cinematography: Mauro Fiore
Music: Hans Zimmer
Cast: Bruce Willis, Monica Bellucci, Cole Hauser, Tom Skerritt, Nick Chinlund & Eamonn Walker
Reviewed at: Loews Theatre on 34th & 8th Ave

Bruce Willis in Columbia's Tears of the Sun - 2003

Paul Francis, Johnny Messner, Nick Chinlund, Bruce Willis, Cole Hauser and Eamonn Walker in Columbia's Tears of the Sun - 2003

Bruce Willis in Columbia's Tears of the Sun - 2003

Peter Mensah in Columbia's Tears of the Sun - 2003

Tom Skerritt in Columbia's Tears of the Sun - 2003

Bruce Willis in Columbia's Tears of the Sun - 2003


Lately it seems that when it comes to war films, the new enemy seems to be the rebels from countries of Africa. First, the Somalians were the enemy in “Black Hawk Down”, and now it’s rebels from Nigeria in “TEARS OF THE SUN”, a powerful new from Antoine Fuqua, who previously directed “Training Day”. Led by Bruce Willis, the film is entertaining and thrilling enough to please all at a time when the topic of war is hot these days.

All soldiers are taught not to have any emotions when on a mission and such is the case with A.K Waters (Willis). Waters is the leader of a unit sent in to Nigeria to rescue Dr. Lena Hendricks (Bellucci), a U.S doctor who may be in harm’s way in light of the bloody coup by Muslims rebels. The President and his family have been assassinated and many Christians throughout the country are being sadistically murdered. Joining Waters in his troupe are Red (Hauser), Zee (Walker), and Slo (Chinlund). The mission is nearly completed when the good doctor is found but refuses to leave with Waters unless her staff and patients (native Christians) come with her. When Waters convinces her that all will come aboard to Cameroon, Lena is mortified when Waters lies and forces her into the helicopter to complete his mission. When they see that the camp where Lena’s staff was staying is filled with dead bodies, Waters develops a conscience and brings the chopper around to save the patients from being massacred by the rebels who have fiercely been on the trail. With the rebels gaining on them and receiving no help from his commander (Skerritt), Waters, Hendrinks, and his men must use all the manpower and weaponry they have to survive, and escape from the Nigerian jungle to a safety zone in Cameroon.

Although the early stages of the film seems stiff with no place to go, Director Fuqua has taken a clichéd film and added some realism to it. It makes you think about the atrocities that occur in Africa that you don't usually read in the newspapers. Willis is the new John Wayne, a resigned Rambo with a team, someone who will go over the call of duty to do what he believes is right in his heart. He plays the role with resignation but is effective when need be. Belluci, who manages to maintain her sex appeal while being in the jungle, isn’t given the best of lines. She is however able to play her role with some spark and compassion. The rest of the cast add more zest to the film. Composer Hans Zimmer, who ironically did the score to “Black Hawk Down”, adds more of an African beat to the music filled with emotion. In a search and rescue film, it isn’t that difficult to predict the plot developments of the film. We just want to watch the execution of them and Fuqua succeeds in using the war and clichéd scenarios as a backdrop to show us what possibly occurs in some areas of Africa. Some 300 Africans were brought in to the film to add some realism to the story and therefore leaves you with the effect that although we (Americans) are preparing for a war with another country, Africans, whether from Nigeria or Somalia, constantly have to fear for their lives from their own countrymen. “Tears of the Sun” is a powerful and entertaining film for those who want to see an action and dramatic piece of work.