Tears of the Sun
Willis plays soldier boy once again
By Jon Popick

This is actually a Magic Eye poster. Can you see the space ship?

If you didn't know any better, you'd swear Tears of the Sun was a film whipped up by the White House to help sell their war in Iraq. Watching the movie, which is about Navy SEALs fighting Muslim extremists, might not necessarily give you that impression, but the title card that follows the final scene-Edmund Burke's quote about evil triumphing when good men do nothing-practically has Dubya's fluffernutter-stained fingerprints all over it.

The funny thing is that a ground invasion of Iraq, especially one made through Turkey, will probably put U.S. soldiers in a very similar situation as the one depicted in Tears. One can easily see our troops in the jackpot situation of having direct orders not to involve themselves with the massacre of Kurds in Northern Iraq, but then thinking with their hearts instead of their heads (and enduring a higher body count as a result). That's pretty much what happens in Tears, as a team of Navy SEALs are sent into a recently-overthrown Nigeria to "extract critical American personnel ASAP." The "personnel" are like a bad bar joke-a priest, two nuns, and a hot Italian doctor.

But when A.K. Waters (Bruce Willis, Hart's War) and his men find the Americans in a remote village, none of them want to leave, especially Dr. Lena Hendricks (Monica Bellucci, Irreversible), who is too devoted to the well-being of the locals to which she has grown very attached. The only way Waters can convince Lena to leave is by promising she can bring about 70 villagers with her to the safety of Cameroon.

That's when the SEALs start caring and stop following direct orders, which involves them getting off the helicopters and packing them full of as many soon-to-be refugees as possible while marching the rest by foot to the Cameroon border. Basically, the first 90 minutes of Tears are very unassuming, in the same way Enemy At the Gates was (some people might even call it "tedious"). The last half-hour is non-stop action, however, pitting the ridiculously outnumbered SEALs against the rebels in a battle they'd never win in real life. And all the while, Waters' commander (Tom Skerritt, Texas Rangers) barks orders to him over a cell phone as he stands on an aircraft carrier dressed like he's enjoying a cruise.

Basically, Tears is a lot like Three Kings, except with people replacing the gold. And without the dark humor. And without the witty dialogue, and character development. Jesus, how the hell did they drag this thing out to two hours? Hans Zimmer's African-tinged score is decent, as is Willis' low-key performance which involves more acting with his eyes than his body. People will probably mistake Bellucci for a stretched-out Rachel Weisz, and Cole Hauser registers his second straight co-starring role in a Bruce Willis war flick. The finale of Tears is much like Antoine Fuqua's (Training Day), in that there is a crazy attempt to make the ending uplifting, despite the horror of what you just saw.