Tears of the Sun DVD Review

Trailers for a feature film are supposed to give potential viewers a general idea on what the movie will be about. In the case of "Tears of the Sun," it's full length trailer depicts non-stop violence much like the movie it is constantly compared to, "Black Hawk Down." Believe it when you are told that it is far from an all-out Bruce Willis action epic. This a slow paced, tension filled drama with a 20 minute battle tacked onto the closing moments. A team of Navy Seals (headed up by Bruce Willis) is sent into a war torn segment of Africa to retrieve a US doctor (Monica Bellucci) working at a missionary. An African militia is also making a bee-line to the area and the team must move quickly. When Dr. Hendricks refuses to leave those who are in her care, Lt. Waters (Willis) makes a conscious decision to turn back and try and get every able African out of the area. The film runs at just under 2 hours. During this time, viewers will be subjected to some brutal sequences depicting some savage murders unlike anything this reviewer has ever seen on film. Though not as gory as "Saving Private Ryan," watching 2 members of the militia douse a child in gasoline and then raise a lighter is gut wrenching. The film does more than enough to get it's point across, but it seems to drag on too long until the final spectacular showdown. Even then you'll find numerous military clichÈís that dumb down the entire movie. Each of the actors is more than adequate, but some of the writing is simply childish. This dual-layered DVD is presented in a brilliant widescreen presentation, marred only by a few tension filled nighttime sequences. Here, those hate-filled little compression squares rear their ugly head far more than is necessary. The daytime scenes are crisp and the colors, muted for effect, set the tone of the film from the start. Both 5.1 soundtracks (French and English) sound spectacular during the few fire-fights, but it's a shame there isn't more reliance on ambient effects. There are a few bird chirps strewn about, but it's hardly enough to immerse a viewer in the film. Feature wise, the disc performs admirably. There are 2 commentaries, one from the writer's view and one from the directors. There is also an "Africa Fact Track" that will give viewers info on the country during the film. 8 deleted scenes have been included and there's a short 15 minute documentary on the making of the film. The director, Antoine Fuqua, talks quite a bit on what he was trying to achieve with this film, but there's hardly enough time to present everything in 15 minutes. There are a bunch of trailers tacked on and the "Voices of Africa" features are interesting enough, letting African people who have lived through wartime speak about their experiences. There's enough on the disc to keep fans busy for a while, but the movie itself it a bit of a downer, especially after the action-packed trailer. If you go into this movie expecting a drama, you may find yourself hooked for the entire running time. Those of us who viewed the trailer and expected something else are bound to be disappointed.

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