Bruce Willis and his weary, but highly-skilled military go into the Nigerian countryside, during a military coupe/ethnic cleansing, to extract a few missionaries. When they arrive, the female missionary refuses to go unless Willis brings the 70 Nigerian nationals with. Orders are orders, and Willis' team prepares to extract only the woman they have clearance for. However...the horrors of seeing the bloodbath, and the reality of what will happen if Willis obeys his orders overwhelms him, and he chooses another course. What follows is a chase through the countryside that becomes unexpectedly intense. People die, and a few of the nationals are not who they seem to be (for good and evil).
Tears of the Sun (a clever title by the way) has strong, bloody action. It moves quickly, and logically. There are a few surprises, but, in the end this is a straight-forward production. The "crisis of conscience" so many reviewers have mentioned actually gets resolved fairly quickly, and as one would expect of a Hollywood production. The action is realistic, and does not glorify the necessary violence--a plus! Willis' brooding is key in this aspect.
Bottom-line: Tears of the Sun is a solid action movie, with just enough personal conflict to give it reasonable depth. The Nigerian characters are treated with dignity, and the story ends on a somber, yet optimistic note. I just kept sensing that something was missing. I kept waiting. Was Willis carrying some dark secret about a past mission gone bad? Was the missionary lady somehow involved in the country's politics? (After all, why send a team of highly-skilled soliders to extract one civilian missionary?) Was the U.S. government somehow implicated? Most of those questions went unanswered. A movie that hinted at having almost documentary-type intentions ended up simply a solid action movie + some crisis of conscience stuff that soldiers who see action often go through. Good, strong material--but not *****.