Film / Tears of the Sun
Tears of the Sun
Tears of the Sun is a film constructed out of rain, cinematography and the face of Bruce Willis. These materials are sufficient to build a film almost as good as if there had been a better screenplay.
is a 2003 American war film, depicting a United States Navy SEAL team rescue mission amidst a civil war in the West African country of Nigeria. Lt. A.K. Waters (Bruce Willis
) commands the team sent to rescue U.S. citizen Dr. Lena Fiore Kendricks (Monica Bellucci
) from the civil war en route to her jungle hospital.
Lt. A.K. Waters is a veteran Navy SEAL whose commander has given his team a special assignment. The West African nation of Nigeria is expected to explode into war at any moment, and Waters and his cohorts are to escort any American citizens in the area to safety, most notably Dr. Lena Kendricks, a doctor from the United States who has set up a clinic in the jungle. Waters and his men find Kendricks, but she refuses to leave with them unless she can bring along 70 refugees who have been left to her care. Kendricks makes it clear that if they are left behind, the refugees will face certain death, but Waters's C.O. insists he bring back Kendricks — but not her patients. Forced by his conscience to disobey orders, Waters and his team race against time to escort the refugees to a border town where they will find safe haven before invading troops can ambush them.
Not to be confused with the Emberverse
book The Tears of the Sun
This film provides examples of:
- Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: The aftermath of the fight at the village.
- America Saves the Day: A beef many critics had with the film. Which is ironic since the last thing the US wanted to do, in the film, was to be officially and directly involved. Considering how omnipresent this trope is, it is baffling critics would single out such a subtle representation.
- Badass Bystander: The refugees who take up arms to both defend themselves and aid the SEAL team, especially the village and the finale.
- Battle in the Rain: The Village incursion.
- Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Dr. Kendricks endangers the whole mission by willfully withholding information.
- Being Evil Sucks: Lt. A.K. Waters said that he can't even remember the last time he did the right thing.
- Bilingual Bonus: Dr. Kendricks cursing in Italian while arguing with Lt. Waters.
- Bittersweet Ending: Kendricks, Azuka and many other refugees make it to Cameroon, along with Waters, Zee, Red and Doc, but many more died on the way, and Nigeria is still under the control of genocidal thugs.
- Breast Attack: A horrible, stomach-turning example shows up in the village massacre sequence, when the team stumbles across a woman bleeding to death after a rebel cut off both her breasts. Zee is so horrified and enraged that he forces the culprit to look her in the eyes before Zee pulls his knife and stabs the young militiaman to death.
- Cat Scare: Or boar in this case.
- Child Soldiers: One of the soldiers participating in the massacre at the village is one. Mohawk (who shot him) is deeply rattled.
- Choosing Death: The missionaries working with Dr. Hendricks refuse to abandon the sick and wounded in their field hospital, staying with them despite knowing full well that they will all be butchered once the rebels close in on the camp.
- Cool Guns: Let's see: M4A1, M249 SAW, M60E4, HK MK23 and a Sig Sauer P226.
- Escort Mission: The entire movie revolves around the SEAL team's attempt to escort civilians out of hostile territory.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Navy SEALs.
- Empathic Environment: Played with. When they killed the priest at the refugee camp, the jungle animals react to it, and the soldiers do seem to notice the change in behavior.
Doc: "What the fuck was that?"
- Epigraph: All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
- Friendly Sniper: Both "Flea" and "Silk" can be considered this. Despite using an M4 and M14 as their main weapons. Flea takes the cake on this one, as he is the first member of the team to share his MR Es with the villagers.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Played straight and averted, specially in the aftermath of the fight at the village, with the dying female villager.
- Hold the Line: Lt. Waters' team attempts this at the climax of the film, desperately trying to buy time for the refugees to reach safety in Cameroon, Lt. Waters even invoking the trope by name when he and the other SEALs make their last stand.
- Hollywood Tactics: Played straight and averted from scene to scene. The SEALs do correctly (and instantly) charge the ambush they get caught in, though.note
- Hospital Hottie: Well, Dr. Kendricks is played by Monica Bellucci.
- Improbable Age: Inverted. Someone as old as Waters should not be a Lieutenant, he should be in a command post or out of the service.
- Infant Immortality: Averted. Twice.
- Instant Death Bullet: Averted. One fatally wounded soldier is able to run and fight for some time before he and his comrades realize. Another sequence has a soldier taking a sniper bullet through the shoulder and falling down. After a few tense seconds, it's revealed that he dropped down to avoid getting hit by another bullet (he was in tall grass), and after getting patched up, he picks up his gun and continues fighting. He still dies, but takes a few more bullets to do so.
- Insult Backfire: Waters to Kendricks, after he finds out she's been withholding information all along.
Waters: You knew about this? You knew all the time, and you didn't tell me.
Kendricks: I didn't trust you... at the time.
Waters: I wonder what it takes to earn your trust.
- Just Plane Wrong: The F-18s are launched off the carrier in slick configuration (no suspended weapons or equipment); the next shot shows them with wing tanks; then they are shown with a full weapons load-out. -
- In-flight ordnance crews armed the aircraft after take-off!
- Then they show the planes firing their wingtip AIM-120 (air to air) missiles at the ground.
- Kill It with Fire: F/A-18s dropping bombs on the rebels that were pursuing the team.
- At least one person was immolated in the village, as Zee discovers.
- King Incognito: Played with. Arthur Azuka, the surviving son of deposed Nigerian President Samuel Azuka, and also a de facto tribal leader, is amongst the refugees, and the main reason the whole party is being hunted in the first place.
- The Load: Averted with the Refugees. Most of them take cover or hang back while the SEALs do the shooting. However, after the village massacre several of them pick up weapons, and during the final battle actually help the SEALs by providing covering fire for not just the team, but also the civilians trying to make a run for the refugee camp.
- Meaningful Name: LT A. K. Waters, alluding to the AK-47. At the beginning of the story, he's a weapon, being aimed by his commander. He gets better.
- The Medic: Both Dr. Kendricks and "Doc" Kelley, the squad's corpsman.
- The Mole: One of the refugees. Granted, he was being blackmailed.
- More Dakka: The Rebels.
- Not So Different: Dialogue in the opening to the Director's Cut suggests that while the rebels are clearly monsters, President Azuka might not be that much better.
President Azuka: Children are innocent!
Terwase: Innocent? They are no more innocent than the thousands your army killed and displaced. Those thousands had brothers, sons. We have come back for justice.
President Azuka: You know nothing of justice.
Terwase: I remember your justice.
- Obligatory War-Crime Scene: Very cleverly and shockingly done when the team has to clear a village in which the enemy troops are massacring and raping the inhabitants. This is probably the goriest and yet best sequence in the film.
- Oh, Crap!: The rebel colonel as he's about to be consumed by the fire.
- Outrun the Fireball: Inverted. When the F/A-18s are coming in for a bombing run the survivors have to scream for Red to hurry and make it out of the blast zone, as he won't be able to outrun the fireball.
- Rape, Pillage, and Burn: A lot, from the Rebels. All of it is graphic and disgusting.
- Really Royalty Reveal: Lt. Waters and his team have been escorting a U.S. citizen, her staff, and other refugees to safety in war-torn Nigeria. A local militia has been so doggedly pursuing them for days on end that Waters eventually forces the refugees to reveal the truth: that one of them is actually the last survivor of a deposed royal house whom the militia wants to see dead.
- Redemption Quest:
Zee: For all the years that we were told to stand down and to stand by, you're doing the right thing.
L.T.: For our sins.
- Red Herring Mole: Arthur Azuka.
- Scary Black Man: The Rebel Colonel does a lot of evil glaring.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: Played with. Turns out, they were easily being tracked thanks to a bug a refugee was carrying with him.
- Scenery Porn
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Originally, Waters and his squad were against helping the refugees, but after seeing the atrocities of the civil war, they decide to help the refugees get to a safe zone.
Zee: Sir, the rules of engagement-
Waters: We're already engaged.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Everyone after witnessing, and trying to stop the massacre at the village.
- Shown Their Work: Both times Waters' squad uses smoke grenades for air support, the pilots state the color of the smoke which the team then confirms. This is done to make sure that air support doesn't respond to the wrong thing.
- Also, the way they perform the Center Peel is textbook.
- The Squad: Waters' Navy SEAL Team.
- Stock Sound Effects: The crying newborn sound effect, used for a 3-4 year old kid. Made even more jarring by having it start playing and the kid is not even opening its mouth.
- Stupid Sacrifice: One of Waters' team gets killed trying to get a refugee to run because she's been hiding behind a log the entire fight. When he finally gets her to move she only makes it a few steps before getting shot.
- War Is Hell
- White Man's Burden: Only if you're really cynical, specially regarding the message of the movie, which was basically "Just be human and do the right thing if you have the power to do so", rather than America having to shoulder responsibility for everyone around the world and save them from themselves, which is what detractors of movie feel this was about.