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Tears of the Sun (DVD)

Starring: Bruce Willis and Monica Bellucci.

Rated: 15.

Story: As civil war breaks out in Nigeria, a team of US Navy SEALS enters the country to extract an American aid worker (Bellucci). She won't leave without a bunch of refugees she's been helping, though. The soldiers choose to ignore orders and do what they can to help the locals.

This mainly involves shooting other locals.

Comments: In many ways, Tears of the Sun is remarkably similar to the recent Rambo sequel - different continent but the same tale of a cute foreign aid worker being extracted from a jungle swarming with sadistic enemies. In this one, however, it's an entire squad of soldiers led by Bruce Willis saving the day rather than just Stallone with a very big gun.

On a moral level, it's all very cut and dried. The Americans blunder into a conflict that has inhuman psychopaths on one side and innocent walking-wounded on the other. Failing to help the refugees out, despite orders not to interfere, is clearly presented as unacceptable behaviour for decent people, no matter how many brutalised conscripts get blown up in the process.

As an action film Tears of the Sun is quite uneven. There's very little action at all in the first half, giving the impression the whole thing is going to be a tense reflection on the horrors of war. Skirmishes become more frequent after that but the humungous, explosion-filled battle at the end seems incongruous and unbelievable, nevertheless. Cameroon springs up from nowhere and suddenly it's a sprint to the border with airstrikes and bazookas everywhere. Unfortunately, following on from the scenes of cruelty and torture earlier in the film, a standard Hollywood blast-fest just doesn't seem appropriate.

The movie is more palatable than Rambo but the message still appears to be 'War is terrible; let's send in some Americans with guns to sort it out'.

I'm not entirely convinced...

Conclusion: A film confused enough to cast Monica Bellucci as an American...

Explosions: Lots but they're saved for the end.
Pretty views of jungle: Plenty.
Not so pretty views of torture: Almost as many.
Indistinguishable SEALs wearing camouflage and facepaint: Six... No, eight... Er... Or were there ten?
The answer to all the world's problems: Bruce Willis.

Rating: 2/5.


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