A review of “Tears of the Sun” by Jeanne Aufmuth


Stars: *

Rating: R for extreme violence, bloodshed, and language

Run Time: 2 hours, 1 interminable minute



I have a sneaking suspicion that Antoine Fuqua is a flash in the pan, because I’m hard pressed to believe that the same man who directed Denzel Washington to Oscar glory in “Training Day” directed this abysmal, hyper-propagandized testosterone peddler.

Bruce Willis is Lieutenant. A.K. Waters, resplendent in cowboy glory and strenuously waving the red, white, and blue in an effort to capitalize on the nation’s burgeoning military loyalty.  Waters and his merry band of studly S.E.A.L. commandos have been deployed to Nigeria to rescue the dishy Dr. Lena Kendricks (Monica Bellucci – a first-class babe even with grease streaks and snot running down her exquisite Italian cheekbones), an International Service medic who’s selflessly aiding the missionaries deep in the African jungle.

Kendricks may be a magnanimous pro, but her petty tactics cause Waters’ mission – to evacuate the doctor, a priest, and a pair of nuns – to go seriously haywire.  Teary-eyed and stubborn over Waters’ refusal to evacuate her seventy-plus patients, Kendricks whines and pouts and somehow engages Waters in a Deep Internal Conflict - the first of his illustrious embittered career.  Suddenly, the natives aren’t just faceless packages to be delivered, they’re Human Beings.  And Human Beings deserve to live, no matter how great the sacrifice.

Waters’ bungle in the jungle wreaks havoc far and wide. The group high-steps it to the border of Cameroon (think Maria and her Von Trapps traipsing over the hills to Switzerland) with the malevolent rebel militia hot on its heels. The rules of engagement (only fire when fired upon) are forgotten in a hail of machine gun bullets and a shot at the highest possible body count (to draw in aged 18-25 males).

Dialogue is a crisp staccato of obnoxious clichés, including such pearls as “Go with God”, and (witty response from Willis) “God already left”.  Best of show, when unwittingly stumbling upon a village attack, “I’ve got ringside seats to an ethnic cleansing”.  Puhleeez!

Bellucci manages to display ample cleavage while fleeing the evil indigenes, but her acting is achingly one-note.  Willis (a personal favorite) does Willis doing “Die Hard”, a role he could re-create in his sleep.  “Tears” isn’t going to bring home any year-end awards, but it will definitely make my list, as Worst of the Year.