TEARS OF THE SUN Bruce Willis: The last “great white hope”?
Tears of the Sun

dir. Fuqua

Opens Fri March 7

Various Theaters

]The new Bruce Willis military thriller, Tears of the Sun, ends with the following quote from British statesman Edmund Burke: "All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing." Since I think this is a true statement, and I consider myself to be "good," let me state for the record that Tears of the Sun is EVIL! First of all, you don't name a military action movie Tears of the Sun unless a) it's an "artsy" military action movie, and b) the title has something--anything--to do with the story. Second of all, if you want to direct a military action movie that means something, don't steal a Chuck Norris plot and ladle on the Steven Spielberg-style manipulations. Why? Because that's EVIL!

Bruce Willis stars as Lt. A.K. Waters, who leads an elite Special Ops force into Nigeria for what should be a routine mission: airlift a sultry lookin' doctor out before rebel guerrillas burn the shit out of the village. The obvious problem arises when the doc refuses to leave her Nigerian helpers behind. Against his better judgement, Waters drags Doc's gang through the jungle, but when the helicopters arrive--Surprise! Waters tosses the Doc onboard, leaving the refugees behind. Nevertheless, his clever plan is foiled when Waters gets a peek at the burning village. Suffering an attack of conscience, he vows to march both Doc and refugees across the border to safety. Unfortunately, the rebel guerrillas have something else in mind

This plot, which combines The Magnificent Seven with any number of Chuck Norris military films, should be a gimme: Rough and tumble officer saves sexy white lady and her native pals from evil rebels with good ol' fashioned military know-how. The problem lies in the inclusion of "ethnic cleansing"--which is a wrong move for a cheesy flick like this. Putting piles of burning bodies and rape scenes on top of such a hackneyed plot is manipulative, and cheapens the plight of war-torn African nations.

And while there are suspenseful moments and some nice cinematography, by the end my eyes were rolling so much I wanted a real band of rebel guerrillas to storm the theater and put me out of my misery. Therefore I will amend Edmund Burke's famous quote: "All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for a director to ruin a perfectly good Chuck Norris movie with a 'message.'"