Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Now Playing: Tears of the Sun

Normally I don't fall asleep during action movies, but "Tears of the Sun" was different. First off, it commits the cardinal sin of being a dull film which is tough to imagine when you consider it stars Bruce Willis, Monica Bellucci, and a heck of a lot of bullets. Yet somehow director Antoine Fuqua ensured everyone stared off into space for the two hour running time including Willis who primarily looks sullen and in need of a shave.

It's sad when you consider facial hair as the only character motivation we see for him and his team. The story hits the ground running when Willis and his team of SEALs land on a carrier then are immediately given a new assignment by their commander (Tom Skerrit). They're to go into a war-torn African village, extract a doctor (Bellucci), two nuns, a priest, and a partridge in a pear tree if available then hike to the extraction zone and get the civilians out of Dodge prior to rebels slaughtering them. When they get to the doctor's house, the doctor refuses to leave without the 70+ wounded people in her care and Willis makes the decision to march everyone to the rendevous point where helicopters will escort everyone to safety.

Warms your heart, doesn't it?

Personally, I'm getting sick of the African craze Hollywood is obsessed with. Yes, we know that genocide is running rampant and people are starving to death or worse. But if you're going to make a movie about the situation then do it right, like The Constant Gardener, and not half-ass like Tears of the Sun. Turning human suffering into a lame action flick is what Hollywood excells at and the viewer will witness lameness in spades. I fell asleep a few times and when I woke up realized that nothing had changed.

Not helping matters is the fact that we never learn anything about any of the characters whatsoever. They may as well have a floating "Token Character X" floating above each person's head so we know which stereotype the camera focuses on. Also, when writers come up with "road trip films" they need to recall that character development and interaction is paramount because the entire film is, by default, a metaphor for the journey the characters take in their lives. This is the nature of the road tip movie, which Tears of the Sun most definitely is. Other than a slight twist towards the ending, nothing will surprise the viewer other than someone read this script and decided to greenlight a big budget for it.

Save your money for "Live Free or Die Hard" and skip this.

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