A Navy navigator is shot down over enemy territory and is ruthlessly pursued by a secret police enforcer and the opposing troops. Meanwhile his commanding officer goes against orders in an attempt to rescue him.
An aging alcoholic cop is assigned the task of escorting a witness from police custody to a courthouse 16 blocks away. There are, however, chaotic forces at work that prevent them from making it in one piece.
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 ... Written by
Sujit R. Varma
When the tortured woman from the "ethnic cleansing" scene dies and Lena is pulling her eyelids down, the woman's neck is slightly twitching, consistent with a heartbeat or minor muscle movements. See more »
Female news reader:
The tension that had been brewing for months in Nigeria exploded yesterday as exiled General Mustafa Yakubu orchestrated a swift and violent coup against the democratically elected government of President Samuel Azuka. In a land with 120 million people and over 250 ethnic groups, there'd been a long-standing history of ethnic enmity, particularly between the Fulani Moslems in the north and Christian Ibo in the south. The victorious Fulani rebels have taken to the streets...
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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." -Edmund Burke See more »
The world we live in is a dangerous, unstable place, and nowhere is this more evident than in Africa, the place where many things of our world, AIDS included, are said to originate. Indeed, about the only thing that cannot be found in Africa is oil, which makes American interest in the region difficult to imagine, leave alone explain. So when we are presented with a story about a war in Africa, it only stands to reason that we must ask exactly why we see American soldiers.
Bruce Willis gives a delightfully underacted performance as the leader of an infantry unit sent to retrieve a handful of American citizens. Things get complicated when the primary objective refuses to leave without dozens of her patients. Instead of simply escorting one woman to safe territory, the party winds up in a race to the Cameroon border with one substantial territorial force in pursuit. Exactly why this force pursues them, we don't know until the climactic battles are about to take place, but it works.
Indeed, the actors here are not even noticeable, excepting maybe Tom Skerritt, who looks as if he spent his salary on diet pills. Instead, the sumptuous locations and cinematography, along with the action, are the stars of this film. This is a good old-fashioned action film, in spite of its very relevant story. What makes it stand out is that instead of modern action where nobody can see enough of what is going on for it to matter or make sense, we get our action scenes the old fashioned way. Blood spurts, detailed shots of the guns going off, or weapons striking flesh, are a reality rather than a much lamented unfulfilled requisite.
There are some problems, but they are minor in the grand scheme of things. When one shows fighter planes dropping air-to-surface weapons, it is usually an idea to get those weapons right. Using air-to-air missiles to drop napalm, for example, is not on. At least the dire action films of the 1980s used weapons in a manner that was convincing. The believability of a commanding officer allowing such violations of orders is very difficult to imagine, to say the least. Then again, given that these minor lapses happen once or twice during a two-hour film, this can be overlooked.
I gave Tears Of The Sun a seven out of ten. It's not at the level of a Verhoeven action film, or even a Cameron action film. It is, on the other hand, a good piece of entertainment with a decent and human edge, with sequences that have been competently shot. Which puts it ahead of a lot of films on today's market already.
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