Tears of the Sun - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Tears of the Sun Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 8, 2009
"Tears of the Sun is one of those films that left me feeling gutted after seeing it. It's been a while since a film has left me feeling so many emotions. I had a lot of mixed feelings going on throughout this film. Many of them being disgust, anger, saddness, horrified, and lastly proud. I know these characters are fictional, but the events that take place to these unfortunate people is very real. Just knowing that people have lived through these kind of events really is sickening and terrifying. So when you see A.K. (even if he's not real, I'd like to think someone would have done what he did) turn the plane around and take his group of solidiers to a fight that is not theirs just because it might save lives and is not only the right thing to do, but the human thing to do, is greatly satisfying. I was sickened with what these armed guerillas not only did to these poor people, but to these women and children. I was even more horrified by what they did to nursing mother's. It really just broke my heart and made me cry. I can't imagine seeing this in real life let alone living in it. It's truly a film that makes you not only feel grateful for the life you have and the country you live in, but that their are people out there fighting for these countries and sees that it is wrong and want to help prevent these things from happening anymore. We are all human and deserve to be treated as such. It's really scary knowing these things are still happening. See the film. You won't be able to get it out of your head days or weeks after seeing it. I know I won't."
Super Reviewer
May 2, 2007
An American military unit is dispatched to extract a doctor and US national from a civil war torn region of Africa and is pursued relentlessly to the border by rebel forces. It's the turn of Nigeria to get rescued by Team America: World Police as stone faced Bruce Willis and his team of be-haloed tough guys set the world to rights once more, using just truth, justice and the American way. The American way involving grenades, sniper rifles, automatic weapons and air strikes, as usual. As a political drama it is incredibly simplistic and self righteous, all the Africans in the film being either murderous savages or helpless victims and there are plenty of shots of wailing mothers, murdered children and rape victims to help bludgeon the point home. The characters are the usual mix of morally courageous babe (Monica Belucci manages to look even more gorgeous covered with sweat and grime) and noble US grunts bucking orders to do the right thing; in other words, it's a typically weakly plotted and characterised Hollywood thriller and as such is sugared by some very impressive action scenes. The final showdown is extremely well handled by Antoine (Training Day) Fuqua and it's a shame it's kind of ruined by the inevitable parade of teary-eyed brown faces that are overflowing with gratitude for their American saviours at the end. It's just another example of America rewriting history to make themselves the heroes, but it is entertaining enough if you don't think about it too hard. F**k, yeah.
Super Reviewer
January 17, 2012
There's a lot to admire about Antoine Fuqua's Tears of the Sun amidst the "Ra Ra America" sentiment, and the weak storyline about a hard as nails Lieutenant who never disobeys an order until now. I really enjoyed the first hour of this film. Unlike most action war pictures that find a conflict to exploit, Tears of the Sun immerses itself in the horror of the political situation, and the horrific genocide that is currently taking place. Nigerian rebels have successfully overthrown a democratically elected government, and before the entire country descends into complete chaos (which it pretty much already has), the US Navy SEALS have decided to extract all American military and personnel in the area. Bruce Willis plays a commander whose team has been ordered to find and extract an American doctor, played by Monica Bellucci.
Things get complicated when this doctor refuses to leave without many of the nearby Nigerian civilians she's been treating. Against his orders, Willis agrees, and soon after, he and his team become pursued by the Rebels as this doctor seems to be more important to them than anyone could have realized.
Genocide is a horrible thing. Even more horrible is how so much of the world watches in dismay, yet does not lift a finger to help save these people. Wars between African tribes seem to always end in mass genocide, and this script means to put these American soldiers into a situation where they are forced to look face to face at the human cost they will have to bear by leaving the innocent Nigerians to fend for themselves. For the first half of the film, the violence is kept at a minimal, and we get to know all the soldiers in the platoon, as well as many of the innocents that are being led to safety.
Of course, this being a studio film, the second half of the film dissolves into an action packed firefight between the American soldiers and the African Rebels. Fuqua isn't the strongest action director either, and many of these scenes lack real excitement. Amidst these war sequences, the film pauses to focus on how grateful these civilians are that these soldiers are there for them and that God will bless them. There's nothing particularly wrong with including one or even two such scenes, but there are too many to count, and the "Ra Ra" undertones become a little too obvious for my tastes. And because the film starts off as a darker, more intellectual narrative, it's disappointing that the filmmakers opted for a typical action movie showdown as opposed to a proper and much more daring follow through.
Super Reviewer
½ July 5, 2009
He was trained to follow orders. He became a hero by defying them.

Saw it again after a long time without seeing it, I really didn't remember exactly what was it about but seeing it again was great and it refresh my mind. Truly great performances by Bruce Willis and Monica Bellucci. Fantastic story and truly eye soaring. Recommended to watch by all who like war or battle films.

Navy SEAL Lieutenant A.K. Waters and his elite squadron of tactical specialists are forced to choose between their duty and their humanity, between following orders by ignoring the conflict that surrounds them, or finding the courage to follow their conscience and protect a group of innocent refugees. When the democratic government of Nigeria collapses and the country is taken over by a ruthless military dictator, Waters, a fiercely loyal and hardened veteran is dispatched on a routine mission to retrieve a Doctors Without Borders physician, Dr. Lena Kendricks. Dr. Kendricks, an American citizen by marriage, is tending to the victims of the ongoing civil war at a Catholic mission in a remote village. When Waters arrives, however, Dr. Kendricks refuses to leave unless he promises to help deliver the villagers to political asylum at the nearby border. If they are left behind, they will be at the mercy of the enormous rebel army. Waters is under strict orders from his commanding officer Captain Bill Rhodes to remain disengaged from the conflict. But as he and his men witness the brutality of the rebels first-hand, they are won over to Dr. Kendricks' cause and place their lives at risk by agreeing to escort the villagers on a perilous trek through the dense jungle. As they move through the countryside on foot, Waters' team, experts at evasion and concealment, are inexplicably and ferociously pursued by an army of rebels. They are confounded until they discover that, among the refugees, is the sole survivor of the country's previous ruling family, whom the rebels have been ordered to eliminate at all costs. Waters and his small band of soldiers must weigh the life of one man against their own and the refugees they feel obliged to protect.
Super Reviewer
½ October 29, 2011
Tears of the Sun is one of the worst action war films that I have seen. The film suffers from a poorly constructed plot. Director Antoine Fuqua's direction is bland and he delivers a film that is over sentimental, and frankly in the end, can't be taken seriously. I wanted to enjoy the film, and the film has some good action here and there. But it relies too much on clichés and it's too sentimental than it needs to be. Tears of the Sun had potential in being a terrific war film, but that quickly falls through. Fuqua's film is ridiculous and everyone is overacting their respective parts. What could have been a great film turns out to be a boring, sentimental film that tries too hard at jerking at the viewers emotions. By the films end, you realize that the film isn't good, and that you've wasted a good two hours on it. Tears of the Sun had the potential to be a strong film, and maybe with a better director, and a better script, Tears of the Sun definitely might have been a great film. Instead this film has some good action scenes that are overshadowed with over sentimental and pointless scenes that don't do anything to help the story. Overall this film is a waste of time, Antoine Fuqua really doesn't know to effectively build up a story or developed good characters. Tears of the Sun is a disappointing action war film that isn't worth watching. The film could have been great, but it fails at establishing anything truly anything entertaining on-screen.
Super Reviewer
½ September 25, 2011
To be honest, I can barely remember anything about this film, but what i do remember, it was pretty boring.
Super Reviewer
September 24, 2006
Magnificent and powerful action-thriller that brings me more excitement! This is one of my favourite Bruce Willis action movie since 1988's Die Hard.
This movie reminded me a little of Navy SEALs, though grittier and more believable. Willis is his usual mostly expressionless self here, yet somehow he manages to get the part of the troubled Lieutenant across very well indeed.
Monica Bellucci is an incredibly gifted actress and she really believed in this project. Her character comes across as having strong religious and moral convictions, prepared to die to help and protect others.
The director, Antoine Fuqua, brings a strong moral theme to his characters and the story. The whole visual manner of filming, camera angels, close ups etc adds to the intensity here.
The choice of filter during filming, that gives a subdued and darker feeling visually, was perfect. The use of Africans as extras was an interesting and a suitable choice, given their backgrounds. Many of these extras were showing genuine emotions which was captured on camera, as they relived traumatic moments in their lives when certain scenes were filmed.
Super Reviewer
½ November 27, 2010
From the outset this is clearly a highly polished special ops based flick that gets right down into the dirt and doesn't mess around, its been well made and well acted from all involved and it shows. Willis is the leader and his small unit of SEALS are mainly unknowns (semi unknowns or character actors) but like 'Predator' 'Rambo' 'Aliens' etc...the casting of unknowns for a special ops unit is the best way forward and again it works perfectly here. The cast work well together and really do know their stuff looking at ease in the African bush as they try to escort African civilians and a doctor to safety across the boarder into Cameroon.

You can almost feel the humidity and smell the blood in this film, the location work is topps and really makes this film look excellent, the cast are all geared up and look correct down to the smallest detail, including the African militants, and the plot although nothing too original does pull at the heart strings as things progress. The only thing I can say about this is Monica Bellucci is really rather annoying in her role, she plays the doctor the SEALS are trying to escort to safety but the whole time she is reluctant and uncooperative to her saviors. Now sure this is the plot and sure a doctor looking after people for so long would be unwilling to leave them behind but at the end of the day everyone gets killed basically because she is so uncooperative haha I really wanted her to get shot haha.

Still its a damn good special elite unit film with a terrific end sequence and fantastic realism, think 'Blood Diamond' and your on the right tracks but not quite as violent. When Willis doesn't show off he can be a good actor but his support are top notch too.
Super Reviewer
½ September 7, 2010
What a good movie! I am just fascinated with the horrible things that go on in that country. Its just so unbelievable. Bruce Willis really did a bang-up job in this.
Super Reviewer
October 13, 2010
Really boring thriller. Fails to thrill, fails to engage audiences, fails to do anything for the audience.
Super Reviewer
½ February 15, 2007
A full-throttle edge of your seat action-thriller. A military drama of the rules of engagement and what must be followed and what sometimes must be disobeyed. It's powerful, riveting, sensational, gripping and thrilling. A film that grabs you and dose not let go. It has surprising emotional effect. Like Black Hawk Down, it blows you away. It's explosive, intense, undeniably compelling and exhilarating. An unforgettable and incredible action film. Bruce Willis gives a great and compelling performance. He gets better as the years go on. Monica Belluci gives a emotionally enduring and mesmerizing performance. Directer, Antoine Fuqua's masterwork.
Super Reviewer
½ January 7, 2010
Not even Bruce Willis could save this from being a sub-par action movie that sould've been straight to dvd. The look of the film is terrible and unimaginative in every way. It is definitely Antoine Fuqua's worst film, it doesn't even attempt to be original like some of his other work.
Super Reviewer
January 5, 2008
"What've you got?
- Ringside seats to an ethnic cleansing."

'Tears of the Sun' is a typical search and rescue film that suddenly gets too much of heart. By this the film delivers some dramatic images that may seem a bit tough to look at.

"It's been so long since I've done a good thing... a right thing."

The actors all do a decent job, typical roles for a film of this genre with some melodramatic performances. None of 'em stand out but what I noticed was that Bruce Willis, whom I've respected since I saw him in 'Moonlighting', felt a bit out of focus. Not the typical Willis I'm used to. I presume that one reason could be the fact that he had recently divorced Demi Moore and was living a 'live free or die hard' phase of his life, when he was, and I quote Mac from one of my favourite TV shows 'It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia', banging these hot young girls, changing them constantly like socks.

"All right, lieutenant Waters. I'm all yours."

After Monica Bellucci's character, Dr Hendricks, said these words that I've quoted above, I was immediately distracted from the movie, just for a couple of seconds. I've had this secret crush on Monica for years. I guess it's not secret anymore but damn! And when she starts to shout in italian when she's upset... I'm sold.

The action is solid but the tactics or solutions that they do on their mission does not feel logical and result in a silly outcome. For an example the big final battle in the jungle where SEAL members start to drop. Why did rugged soldiers all of a sudden get noble thoughts and choose to take risks that would put in danger themselves and the civilians that they try to rescue?

What was the purpose for this movie? To show us brutal images of mutilated bodies and by this understand the brutality of war or genocide? 'Tears of the Sun' does not stand out from the genre that has not renewed for years. It doesn't have anything special in it for it to deserve several viewings.
Super Reviewer
½ September 16, 2007
A well-crafted war movie that features Bruce Willis at his finest. The action near the end is dynamite, and the good casting, as well as a quick pace, make up for the movie's formulaic plot.
Super Reviewer
July 8, 2008
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. - Edmund Burke

This film is not only a war film. It is something else. It tries to show audiences the horrors of civil unrest and ethnic cleansing but sadly they tried too hard to get it across that the quality of the film suffered. Bruce Willis in his battle hardened bad-ass Marine mode is effective. I mean, he's so used to playing roles like that anyway so I'm sure he didn't have a problem adjusting and such.

Feisty Italian stunner Monica Bellucci was quite annoying at time with that disgruntled accent of hers top to that the stupid things her character does in the film. She was really hot though I'll give her that.

The one scene that annoyed the most is the part where this guy with the under developed mohawk got hit by a sniper and then the rest of his team starts shooting at the trees on the other side. They were in a vertical tactical position and they're advancing towards the unseen enemy and they're shooting at nothing. To be honest, they looked like a bunch of retards. And they call themselves Special Ops. What the hell.

Tears of the Sun is an average war film with a message. They tried to get the message across so hard that the quality of the film suffered.

Super Reviewer
May 17, 2008
I found it funny at the start where Willis gets out of the copter, looking all badass and macho honcho.

The twist was pretty, ok I guess. I liked the infiltration scenes and the brutal scenes, but somewhere near the end I started laughing, cuz of the erm.. fireworks and how the lights went off from the guns.

Its good, but... oh well.. Ill let you decide what to think of it.
Super Reviewer
January 18, 2007
pretty good, sort of in the more 80's mold of action flick, but it was entertaining
Super Reviewer
December 12, 2007
Some minor spoilers here**********************************
Against the backdrop of the magnificent African landscape, Tears of the Sun is an honest effort to be more than an average Hollywood war movie.

There is nothing exceptional about the story line which, based on a rescue mission mixed with the usual ingredients of betrayal and political intrigue, looks very much like a good old Panzer Blitz board game scenario, in which the victory condition is to make it to home base with your rescue while sustaining minimum casualty.

The battle scens are above average, particularly the first one. Infuriated by the senseless cruelty he has witnessed, Lieutenant A.K. Waters (Bruce Willis)ignors the rules of engagement given to him and, declaring that "we are already engaged", leads an assault on the bloodthirsty enemy. This series is filmed with striking clarity. Unlike in many other battle scenes, the audience, instead of getting lost, are able to follow every signal, every move and every shot of Waters and his soldiers.

Tears of the Sun, however, is first and foremost not a war movie, although towards the end, it gives sufficient footage to action to probably satisfy an average audience's expectation. More interesting to watch, however, is the evolution of the two persona: unflinchingly professional soldier and compassionate woman doctor.

Of the latter, there is not much evolution to speak of and therefore not much room to maneuver, in the acting department. Monica Bellucci, under the circumstances, gave a creditable performance. A little distracting perhaps is her beauty which, although a far cry from her capitulating radiance in Brotherhood of the Wolf, is nevertheless not totally suppressible even under the stress of war.

As everyone knows I'm a big Bruce Willis fan. Tears of the Sun gives him scope beyond falling into the cliche of a stereotyped tough-guy who suddenly, inexplicably finds her heart. It does start a little bit like that as Willis, professional soldier to his bones, goes to the extent of tricking the entire group of refugees into trekking all the way to the pick-up point, just to be abandoned when his mission of rescuing the doctor is accomplished.

But he changes, and the question is what has caused this change. The simple answer obviously is his witnessing from the helicopter the vicious slaughter in the village from which he has just rescued the doctor. But this would be too simple. Confronted by his comrades, his answer to the question is "I'll tell you when I've figured it out". This is not evasion. We do not always understand the rationale behind everything we do, every decision we make.

Then come the climax. A treachery is exposed but the pursuing army is closing in. We have another very familiar scenes, of "are-you-with-me-boys". The audience will notice in this scene an uncharacteristic lack of heroism. There is nothing particularly heroic above developing a certain bond with a group of strangers after spending a few days with them, even in normal daily situations: a training course, a group tour, for example. Here, the script has given a lot of attention to what the soldiers share with the refugees during their flight, and the atrocity they witness together. As a result, their solidarity in standing firm in the face of the crisis is totally believable.

Under Willis' portrayal, Lieutenant Waters is uncharacteristic soft spoken. Also, there is neither explosive outburst nor hysterical breakdown, both of which are quite appealing for the sake of dramatization. What we see here is a man whose professional training hold up. In addition, we also see behind the soldier persona a soft-spoken man who has moments of weakness, who can become quite dejected, a believable human being.

Tears of the Sun is an honest effort to show, within the framework of a Hollywood war movie, the positive side of human nature. Hopefully, under the current environment of a war that the world does not want, this well-intentioned film itself won't becomes a victim of being sterotyped as Hollywood propaganda as time goes on.
Super Reviewer
½ November 4, 2007
excellent excellent film
if you are a lover of war films and you really enjoy war films then you WILL LOVE this film it is excellent its moving and very exciting and action packed.
made me cry lovely film
Super Reviewer
October 4, 2007
"stoopid pig mother f*cker!" STUPIDIST MOVIE EVER. They run around shooting from the hip and swear and not enough of them die.
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