Tears of the Sun

March 20, 2005 - In this 2003 drama, Bruce Willis plays a Navy SEAL lieutenant. He and his team are sent to Nigeria, where a militant rebel group has just overthrown the democratic government.

The SEALS are sent to a mission, where an American (by marriage) doctor is caring for refugees. The SEALS are supposed to bring back the doctor, but she refuses to leave unless they also take all the refugees who are able to travel. When they finally get to the rescue area, the SEALs take the doctor but leave the refugees behind. The rescue helicopter then flies over the mission, which has been burned by the rebels. At this point, Willis orders the chopper to turn back to where the refugees were left behind. The kids and the old folks are put on the chopper and taken to Cameroon. Willis, his team, the doctor and the rest of the refugees must make the journey through the jungle on foot.

The journey is dangerous because they're being chased by a platoon of rebel troops. And dangerous because the Navy refuses to send in more choppers and planes to help the good guys. Eventually, we learn why the rebels are so intent on catching them - one of the refugees is the only surviving member of the presidential family. It's him they want.

Overall review: **** I wasn't sure what to expect from this movie, but I ended up liking it a lot. In the beginning of the movie, the doctor is referred to as "the package." By the end, the SEALs and the refugees are on a first-name basis and they care deeply about each other. The turning point seems to be when, on their trip through the jungle, they come upon a village that's been taken over by a brutal band of rebels. The SEALs witness the atrocities and do what they can to stop it. After that, they can't seem to look at the refugees as just "packages."

The movie works on this emotional level, but there's also plenty of action, especially at the end, for people who like to see stuff blown up.