‘A war movie with heart’

Zack Sparks

GRADE: B-

You would be right to call “Tears of the Sun” “a war movie with heart.” Unfortunately, it too often becomes the reverse of that — “a heart movie with war.”

Bruce Willis plays a Navy SEAL lieutenant who is sent, along with a task force, into war-torn Nigeria to extract an American doctor who is nursing the wounded.

However, the doctor (played by newcomer Monica Bellucci) throws what I can only describe as a hissy fit, saying that his orders be darned, she’s not leaving unless all of her patients can go too — all 70 of them. Willis’ character must then defy orders to extract her and her people from the country.

I didn’t really have a major beef with this movie. Everything checks out here: the plot is, for the most part, solid; the directing and cinematography is great (director Antoine Fuqua really worked his tail off for some great shots); and the acting is okay.

The only thing that kept me from really loving this movie is that there’s too much sappy dialogue about the meaning of life and being a soldier with honor. It really weighs the movie down.

By the time the climactic chase scene rolls around, you’re begging for an explosion or something to interrupt the SEALs’ incredibly cheesed-up dialogue.

Bruce Willis is OK — I’ve seen better but I’ve also seen worse.

The one I had a problem was with Bellucci.

It might have just been her character, but she was downright annoying. It seemed as if every time you saw her she was either making eyes at Bruce Willis or whining that she’s not going to go anywhere without her patients.

I realize that she has feelings for these people, but she was nearly fanatical about them. By the end of the movie, I found myself wanting Bruce Willis to tape her mouth shut.

“Tears of the Sun” was, overall, a good movie that is worth your hard-earned cash. However, the overwhelming sense of patriotism and “do the right thing” motto that the movie tries to instill really got on my nerves.

Put it this way: If I were in a platoon with this movie, I’d take a bullet for it. But I would also demand that it drag me across acres of jungle to safety afterwards.

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