The plot is pretty much a no brainer that gets set up right from the get-go. The Democratic government in Nigeria gets ousted by a military coup and rebel forces execute the presidential family and begin an genocidal killing spree, killing christians and rival tribes. Bruce willis and his small special forces team is sent to to find and evacuate several US Citizens, including a doctor working at a christian mission. The doctor wont leave without her patients, and so Willis and his team agree to escort the people to the Cameroon border. Of course they are followed by the rebels the whole way and are grossly outnumbered and it becomes a race to get to the border and to safety before they are completely over run.
Not exactly full of surprises and not much food for thought. of course there is the initial lie/double cross, and then the classic (not to mention very cliche) moment where our heroes grow a conscience after witnessing the horrors and extent of ethnic cleansing that is taking place and decide to help the people as thier way of making amens with thier own guilty consciences. other than this there is little to talk about plot-wise.
The acting is pretty good, although it varies throughout. Willis himself does a very good job playing his charcter though other than him and the doctor none of the characters grew on me. The setting is great, and the shots of the african landscape were very nice. For being an action war movie, "Tears of the Sun" offered only sporadic action until the climatic battle at the end which was mildy impressing, though nothing you havent scene before.
There is a constant attempt throughout the movie to bring attention to the brutality the ethnic cleansing that occurs in Africa that most americans are unaware of. We hear about bosnia, kosovo, but not so much about the many war torn regions in africa many of which are subject to constant guerilla warfare, famine, tribal clashes, and civil wars. The current attention being given to the situation in Sudan is very similar to what is shown in the movie. The look we are given however, although sad and mildly graphic, is a little one dimensional, and doesnt really explore the complexity of the political, ethnic, and religious angles of african conflicts. instead this is all reduced to "good guys vs bad guy" with the US as the good guys who sit idley by of course. I think many people will wish that the movie had a more realistic and more complete look at this angle of the plot rather than just showin "a bunch of rebel guys in red hats who run around killing all the christians and guys from the other tibes".
Other than that there is an overwhelming lack of depth and substance to the movie. Character development was underdone and there just arent many layers beyond what you see on the surface. And what is on the surface, though not bad, is not spectacular either. While I liked the movie over all, it just didnt have enough meat to it I felt. There were times I would just feel like something I couldnt put my finger on was missing to this one.
"Tears of the sun" does win points however for atleast trying to shed some public light to the attrocities in africa that most of the world lives happily ignorant to. It also serves as an effective, and enjoyable military action movie that is hard to hate but impossible to love.
The first and most obvious setback with 'Tears Of The Sun' is that it tries to be both an action flick and an anti-war film at the same time and just cancels itself out in the process. The plot, about an elite team of Navy SEALS (aren't they all supposed to be elite?) are assigned to save a doctor who is American by marriage from possible death at the hands of militant guerillas in the remote jungles of an African nation in revolutionary turmoil. Pretty heady stuff, right? It sure would make for a compelling film, right? I agree. Unfortunately, director Antoine Fuqua has studder-stepped here with this heartless hole of a movie. The dialogue is stilted and wooden, even coming from such actors as Bruce Willis, (the team leader) Monica Belluci, (the stubbornly stupid doctor) and Tom Skerritt (Willis' commander).
This brings me to the second problem with this film. There is zero character development in this movie. None. Not even a smidgen. You'd think with all of the high-minded ambition teeming in this movie, just waiting to bubble over and take effect, that there'd be some great character moments. There's not a one. Bruce Willis' character is as emtionless and uninteresting as they come. We don't even get a single tiny hint as to why he's such a space cadet. He just is. On the other hand, his performance is oscar-caliber compared to the epic blunder that's disguised as Monica Belluci's painfully annoying performance. As the tactless and inconsiderate doctor in charge of a refuge/mission for African dissidents of that specific nation, she is completely annoying and throughly aggravating. I was hoping the team would give up and hand her over to the rebel guerillas just for the sake of relief. The rest of the SEAL team is so forgettable, you'll wonder if there even was a team at all after the movie is over. Unsympathetic characters that not even the most vacuous of personalities can relate to does not make a good movie even marginally passable by any stretch of the imagination.
The only reason I warranted the film with two stars instead of one, is that the cinematography is very nice, potraying the African jungle wilderness as dangerous and beautiful all at once. Also, you can tell that Willis and Skerritt and a few others are really trying to break free from the frozen script and do some good here, however they don't really hit the mark.
Bottom Line: 'Tears Of The Sun' is an empty and failed hybrid of an action flick and war film with lifeless chracters, but has some nice scenery and decent but pointless action battles. If you're a fan of this stuff, wait for video at best. Everyone else will be alright without it.