Reviewer's Rating 2 out of 5   User Rating 3 out of 5
Tears Of The Sun (2003)
15Contains strong violence, language, and battle horror

With his gleaming dome and cement squint, Bruce Willis is a contemporary correspondent to inscrutable 60s star Yul Brynner, so it's apt that he should feature in this muddled, unacknowledged reworking of The Magnificent Seven.

He's Lieutenant Waters, leader of a squad of Navy Seals tasked with taking the do-gooding Dr Kendricks (Monica Bellucci) out of the Nigerian jungle, after civil war starts and the local militia go stab-happy.

She won't leave without her patients, so to get her moving Waters agrees. But it's only when he witnesses a massacre that his conscience finally forces him to really attempt to save them all.

Why the sight of such expected slaughter should cause him to relent is unclear, given his every utterance in the opening half-hour is designed to give the impression that he is a hard-faced military automaton.

Perhaps it's Kendricks' constant sulky nagging and simmering sexuality, as evidenced in a couple of scenes which play along the lines of:

I am a cold-hearted, ruthless martinet. I always follow orders.

You are a cold-hearted, ruthless martinet. You always follow orders. Help these nondescript Africans and I might sleep with you. Grr.

Hubba hubba! Bring on the court martial!

Even this would be less risible than the dialogue actually offered by Waters, when his second-in-command, Zee (Eamonn Walker), asks one of several, "please explain why you are doing this to the audience"-style questions.

"I broke my own rule," answers Waters. "I started to give a ****."

Unfortunately, the audience won't, as his band of character-free squaddies are picked off in the inevitable, climactic firefight - and a plot reveal suggests that Kendricks, at least, is a total moron.

Still, the portentous tone and subtext are faithful to the 1960 western (though this time it's Africans, rather than poor, dumb Latinos who can't survive without American help) and the cinematography is slick (genocide has never been so good-looking). At one point Brucie gravely intones, "God already left Africa". And the cinema, too.

End Credits

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Writer: Alex Lasker, Patrick Cirillo

Stars: Bruce Willis, Monica Bellucci, Eamonn Walker, Johnny Messner, Tom Skerritt

Genre: War

Length: 121 minutes

Cinema: 12 September 2003

Country: USA

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