Starring Bruce Willis, Monica Bellucci (spelt different and no relation), Malick Bowens.
Heart of Darkness again. Gringos fumbling around (Two) Third(s) World. Been there. Done that. In Dark of the Sun, Rod Taylor and Alain Delon (an actual French paratrooper, by the way) snatch Yvette Mimieux (variously pronounced) out from under the Mau-Maus. In The Wild Geese a paunchy Richard Burton and his burnout buddy Richard Harris (who recently burned out, more’s the pity) rescue a statesman from the Simbas. In Claude-Bertrand Audibert’s Charlie Bravo we even have a French commando team (and yeah, one of them is a chef) hustling a nurse out from captivity with the Viets. Now it’s Tears of the Sun (which I think is what the Aztecs—or the Incas, one of them—called gold, but, hey…) and Bruce Willis, bald and painted green (like you-know-which overweight icon from you-know-which Vietnam flick except mercifully he ain’t quoting Thomas Stearns Eliot and they appear to have left poor old Conrad to his rest this time), fetches up with the mission to spirit some whites out of Nigeria (still called Nigeria I think and not to be confused with Niger nor Congo still called Congo nor… ooopsy daisy: think that might be the last country still called what it used to be called) in the path of ferocious rebels as terror threatens to engulf the Gringos (and Gringas) of a jungle dispensary.
Tension, naturally, erupts not merely between the small band of Euros (The doctor rescued calls herself Hendricks but only ‘cause she married a Gringo; she’s clearly from out of town, as her sodden sanctimony, otherworldly morality, and some kinda vaguely Central Powers accent testify) plunging into the rain forest with 3, 842 black guys on their heels. Lieutenant (known as Ell Tee in the business) and gotta be a senior citizen lieutenant, too, likely denied promotion on account of he’s always telling his Commanding Officer ( known as Cee Oh in the business) to go fish, A.K. Waters (Willis) has also to win over the resident physician of this isolated station (Monica Bellucci), dedicated to her patients, unwilling to depart, and—of course—spunky… like all your high cheekbones, pouty lips, tight jeans fee-male Albert(ine) Schweitzer Médecins sans frontières types who just stepped outta the Lord and Taylor’s catalogue but, like, care about people. I’m a little more impressed by the casting of Sister Fiona Invicta, the Irish nun who serves at the station along with the Doc and the Priest: not comely among the maidens but more in line with my recollection of the Sisters and what you’d expect to find in a jungle clearing. Left spunky behind waaaaaaay back there at Vespers she did.
Anyhow. Waters has only enough chopper space for the Doc and her immediate entourage but lets himself be chivvied into dragging a gaggle of hangers-on, refugees, and other squalling, unhappy washups as they book it for the nearest Landing Zone (known as Ell Zee in the business)… 12 kilometers distant allthewhile pressed by the vicious rebel generalissimo, Idriss Sadique (no kidding: sadique being, as anyone knows, French for “Is that too tight?”), played by Malick Bowens, a really sinister-looking guy and who, after he lops off the head of Father Murphy (or something) and does God knows what to Sister Fiona Invicta is hoo, buddy, gonna take a thumping in the end of some dire and cataclysmic sort.
It’s a SEAL team and they’re a tight-lipped bunch of guys (and they got one of every firearm on the planet, too, even if no two of them eat the same kinda ammo which gotta be a problem) and there ain’t much script. The plucky fee-male doctor does the talking (and you heard most of what she says from Chirac before the U.N.). Willis clams up. His SEAL buds (they do great, but they’re all doomed, of course, and all green and wear funny things tied around their heads) offer the odd marginal, laconic exhortation in monosyllables as their Ell Tee (remember?) seems to be taking them deeper and deeper into the Heart of the Dark Tears of the Sun and farther and farther afield from their designated mission. In the end, though, they all resign themselves to “do the right thing,” as if somehow they don’t always and when the useless, stumbling, pitiful (ptui!) civilians foul everything up by being useless and stumbling and pitiful and finally the SEALS have to fight it out with the Forces of the Dark Tears of the Heart of the Sun, the action scenes are not just terrific but, far as I can tell (my Immediate Actions—known as Eye Ays in the business—are twenty years outta date), authentic. Like Three Kings, though, a good flick that bogged down when it got tangled up with the refugees, Tears would have done better without the moralizing, especially from that irritating fee-male croaker. I love Bruce Willis, but as a wise guy and trickster. Take away his asides and under-the-breaths and in-your-faces and you’ve got a green guy with no hair. AF
editor Comment. i like the movie. pl