So once again we have survived.

Tears of the Sun

tn_tearsofthesunBruceTEARS OF THE SUN is a Bruce Willis picture I missed until now. It’s about Nigerian refugees fleeing for Cameroon after anti-democratic military guys assassinate the president and his family and go around “ethnic cleansing” innocent people. I know, sounds kind of racist, but the secret is Bruce doesn’t play a Nigerian, he is not in blackface. He plays the lieutenant of an elite Navy SEALS unit sent in by Tom Skerritt (playing the twin brother of his character from TOP GUN, in my opinion) to rescue a Christian aid worker played by Monica Belluci.

mp_tearsofthesunThe director is Antoine Fuqua (REPLACEMENT KILLERS and TRAINING DAY), trying for the admirable goal of an action movie that’s Important. He means well, but I don’t think he quite pulls it off. For his part, on the other hand, Bruce does pull it off. He’s a grim, no nonsense professional, not trying to be an asshole, but doesn’t waste time being friendly. At first this seems like a waste of Bruce because he never gets to use his wiseass powers. He shows a sense of humor exactly 1 (one) time in the movie when he wakes up in the jungle and asks, “Are we there yet?”

(SPOILER: they are not there yet. That’s why it’s funny.)

He’s mostly the lieutenant party pooper. No, we can’t rescue everybody. No, you can’t bring all your stuff. I know you just sat down but we gotta keep moving. You gotta shut that baby up or we will all be executed by rebels, etc. Just generally heroically bumming everybody out all the time.

But it’s okay because Brooding Bruce gives a real good performance that elevates the movie a couple notches and somewhat won me over as the tension started to mount in the last section.

For a while it diddles around, though. Bruce and his team are only assigned to rescue the doctor lady, and they tell her they cannot and will not rescue anyone else. But when she refuses to go without her people Bruce says fine and brings everybody along.

When they get to the rendezvous point with the choppers it’s obvious that there’s not room for everybody. Sorry lady, you been Punk’d, they drag her onto the copter and leave everybody behind.

But then, like a minute later, they fly over the burning, body-strewn mission (like Luke Skywalker returning to his aunt and uncle’s in Star Wars Part 1: Star Wars Episode 4), and Bruce makes the decision to turn it back around, put children and elderly on the copters and lead everybody else to safety on foot. It’s a major character turning point, but it doesn’t have that much wallop because I thought he already made that change back at the beginning when he pretended to agree to save everyone. See, I think they shortchanged the drama there because there’s only a brief period where it’s “just kidding, I didn’t change the mission, actually I’m sticking with the original mission” before a quick turnaround to “okay, I will change the mission after all, this time for serious guys trust me.”

Then, after they’ve turned the copters around, flown back, put some refugees on board and started marching the others toward Cameroon, only then does one of his guys ask him what he’s doing. Like he couldn’t have put context clues together to solve that mystery. Or asked him back on the helicopter.

I like his team, though. They have minimal development even though they got Cole PITCH BLACK Hauser, Nick CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK Chinlund, Johnny SPARTAN Messner and Eamonn BLOOD AND BONE Walker among them. But they look very credible and Predator-ready. In the best and most tense action sequence they demonstrate their elite-teamwork when they come across a rebel massacre of civilians from a distance. At first it seems like they’re just gonna watch, it’s not their fight. But they decide to engage, the snipers start taking out the rebels and Bruce and others move in close to finish the rest of them.

The most enjoyable thing about the movie is the team’s sense of loyalty to Bruce. There’s no whining or arguing to force dramatic conflict. If they disagree with him they still do what he says, not just out of a soldier’s duty I think, but out of respect for him. My favorite scene is when Bruce decides he’s gonna violate Tom Skerritt’s order and try to save the people. He goes around and has each soldier say what he thinks. A real nice bonding moment where everybody’s on the same page and willing to risk their lives and then instead of being all macho about it Bruce quietly says, “Thanks fellas.”

Unfortunately, most of the 90 minutes before that don’t have the same kind of momentum. I suspect a huge part of that is the score by Hans Zimmer, an uncharacteristically mellow lament that pretty much stays at the same pitch no matter what’s happening, occasionally exotic-ing shit up with African vocals, like that style they made fun of a little in TROPIC THUNDER. I’m not saying bang us over the head, but this movie never acts like there’s any suspense to be had, it’s just like “hey everybody, isn’t this sad? donate now.” I mean in retrospect maybe Fuqua isn’t trying to make an action movie that’s Important, maybe he’s just going for straight Important, no action. I honestly think a bombastic score like INVASION USA would make the movie work alot better. But maybe it would give away that this ain’t Oscar bait.

Here’s how to prove that it’s actually some unholy combination of action movie and Oscar bait. If it was the first one, it would take place in some fictional African country called like Togeria or Ghanobo or Zambibwe. If it was the second it would be a fictionalized story based on an actual historical incident, a massacre or at least a coup d’etat that really happened. Instead it takes place in the actual country of Nigeria but with a made up civil war.

Apparently some critics were bothered by the unhistoricalness of it, but one complaint they probly let slide was the traditional “this is racist because it’s about Africans but focuses almost entirely on the handful of white people who are also there.” That’s a pretty common and frustrating Hollywood approach, but the one reason this is different is because Fuqua is black. I think that’s kind of interesting actually because it says that maybe these types of stories are not so much a racial tendency as a cultural one. He’s African American but that doesn’t mean he relates to the Africans as much as the Americans, even though he tries. I guess it’s kind of like Walker in the movie – some of the Africans try to talk to him about his ancestry, and he has no idea. It’s just not a part of most people’s lives.

I’m not sure what the title means, if anything. I don’t think it’s the same as Tears of a Clown. I believe it was originally the title of some jungle action movie that John Woo was gonna direct. Then that script I think got re-written into what they then thought was gonna be DIE HARD 4. But they couldn’t figure out how McClane would get through the jungle barefooted so they scrapped that and Bruce said, “Hey, do you mind if I take a few things that were left over, such as the title?” and they were like “Yeah sure, it’s just gonna sit in storage collecting dust anyway, and also who knows what the fuck it means, I would never use that title” and he said “It probly means diamonds or something, I don’t know” and they said “I don’t care, just take the fuckin thing.”

The movie ends with the famous quote “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. So you know it’s supposed to be a plea for American military intervention in these types of conflicts. I don’t know, man. In a situation like this made up Hollywood one, where a small team of elite soldiers can save the lives of a whole bunch of innocents, of course I would be for it. Unfortunately, even Bruce’s fictional team are not able to stop the made up civil war, they can only help maintain hope for democracy and freedom and what not in the future. Which actually means the dictator will keep fighting the prince and more people will die.

I wish there was as easy of an answer as “We have to do something!” but unfortunately nobody really knows what the something is that’s gonna definitely make shit better and not make it worse.

But I guess if you take it in more general terms and not just as a story about the military, then it’s a little easier to take. It just says that you should follow your conscience, even if your training and your occupation tells you to do otherwise. You should have sympathy for people and if there’s something you can do to help them, even if it’s at a sacrifice to yourself, you should think about doing it. That’s what Bruce would do.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 at 7:28 pm and is filed under Action, Bruce, Drama, Reviews, War. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

59 Responses to “Tears of the Sun”

  1. Vern- I like all of Anton Fuqua’s movies but I can’t get behind this one and I think you nailed it on the head. No real dramatic urgency, I tried watching it a few weeks ago and was just left with an overwhelming sense of meh.

  2. I watched this about a month ago, and just couldn’t get into it.

    Otherwise I have very much been entertained by all Fuqua movies I’ve seen: Replacement Killers, Training Day, King Arthur, Shooter. I think he is a good director with a handsome visual style and a good sense of staging action.

    For me the problem with Tears Of Sun seemed to be that due to subject matter Fuqua didn’t deliver on escapist action sequences, like he usually does. And as a drama film it was simply too thin on character. Training Day was also lacking in action, but that one had memorable characters going for it.

    This wasn’t a bad movie, but it was so bland and average that it left me somewhat bored.

  3. There’s a scene in this movie that seems kind of odd to me…In the beginning, Bruce and his men are being briefed on the mission, and Tom Skerrit shows them all a picture of Monica Belluci, and says something like “Your goal is to rescue her.” And nobody laughs. Or comments on how hot she is. Or makes a joke. Or says anything. Or even reacts to it. They all just stare forward blankly.

    Ok, really? I mean, I’m not saying they should all turn into cartoon wolves and start howling. Or launch into some Chris Tucker style comedy bit. But, I think there would at least be a nervous chuckle or something.

    Maybe the way the movie depicts it is how it is in real life (though I doubt it), but, even if it is, I still wouldn’t care to watch a movie about those characters.

  4. Not to offend anybody but this movie like every Hollywood war-action movie is an American Flag waver (read Propaganda) that depicts the American army as a savior which they almost never are. I like the movie don’t get me wrong I also like almost all Hollywood war-action movies because they are entertaining but they are never historically accurate. Even the ones that are made up are not accurate to what War in general is about, it is not just the American Army it is all armies and almost every war. They are never fought to help the poor and suffering they are fought to get the rich people in power, richer plain and simple.

    Ever wonder why War-Action movies from other countries that involve the USA are never quite as nice about what is happening and what the Americans are doing as the movies that deal with the same battles/wars that are made in Hollywood. The reason for this is that Right and Wrong are a matter of perspective if you are a rebel you think you are right, if you are part of the governments army then you think what you are doing is right as well.

    In closing war-action movies kick fucking ass (nothing better then people being blown all to hell by mines and shit). War in the real world not kick ass at all more like lick ass.

    sorry for the rant.

  5. Love TEARS OF THE SUN. It’s a weird mix of sappy and action that I got into. I was suckered by my own reading: Bruce is an individual who happens to be from the U.S. whereas his boss *is* Amerika; they will deal with the new dictator in a heartbeat ’cause he’s no commie, so screw the previous guy’s son.

    I also read the greater reluctance of the black soldier as one who as so far been co-opted by the system. Bruce opens his eyes and he turns out to fight pretty damm fiercely for a bunch of people he just met – fights with vigor whereas Bruce seems to fight from a more nebulous code of honor and behaviour.

    *SPOILER*

    I also feel the last 15 minutes or so are some of the most intense I’ve seen, building to a powerful crescendo with the planes’ arrival.

    I really liked it and my appreciation was greatly helped by the superaltive work done on the sound design: I no longer pay much attention to gun noise in movies (because it’s usually bad) but TEARS OF THE SUN has the kind of punch we hadn’t heard since the heydays of Walter Hill (here’s looking at you EXTREME PREJUDICE)

    Just my 2cents…

  6. BELLUCCI, I agree.

    WS – That is weird that no one says anything. Yeah, what the hell? I would say something if someone told me my mission was to go save Monica Bellucci. Probably something like, “Wait, seriously?” Partly because she is hot as hell and partly because it would be really weird if someone were giving me, a guy living in Hollywood and currently writing a video game, a mission to go rescue anyone, let alone Monica Bellucci. I think you get what I mean. But even if I were a hardened soldier of fortune or whatever I would still probably go, “Wait, seriously?” and maybe even, “Whoa, she’s hot.”

    BELLUCCI

  7. SWEATY BELLUCCI

  8. I think you guys are wrong on the Bellucci issue. Firstly, they are a SEAL Team being briefed for a mission by their superior officer – they guy who controls their careers, not the guy who leads them into battle. Not a time to be joking around, methinks. These guys are a professional extraction team, and would view Bellucci as a “package” to be retrieved as efficiently as possible. They are trained not to get emotionally involved. Which is part of the point of the film. Bruce allows his judgement to get clouded by the sight of the massacred mission and knowing that he is leaving a whole bunch of men, women and children to the same fate.

    Quite enjoyed the film, although the drama was a bit over-cooked. I liked the fact that the bad-guys on their
    tail were proper bad-asses rather than over-zealous rebels. This is nicely shown when Cole Hauser (I think)
    shows a satelite image of the bad-guys closing them down, traveling about twice as fast.

  9. Why would the US army go into a war zone to rescue an aid worker ? That is the part that never clicked with me. She is a US citizen by marriage. Would the army really care about her ?

    If this was a silly Chuck Norris style action flick I could go with it but it tries so hard to seem realistic that I have to question the basic premise…….The rebels are these faceless genocidal maniacs? At least the Die Hard villians are given clear motivations and we know what their deal is.
    You can do better Bruce.

  10. Would it have worked better with Kathy Burke instead of Monslucci? they are the same age ….

  11. I saw this on dvd once and I wasn’t impressed for some reason, I barely remember anything about it

    it just left me with a strong feeling of “meh”, I thought the same thing about Shooter

  12. Mike- Bellucci is indeed a “package.” Some might even say a complete one. Also, I think acknowledging the fact that she could give these guys a boner is not the same as an emotional involvement, I mean what are the odds that some missionary lady is gonna look this good? A commentary on that might need to be said more than what might typically be said which is something along the lines of “people are probably gonna shoot at us.” But you’re still one hundred percent correct that they wouldn’t make such acknowledgments in front a superior officer…unless, of course, he did it first.

  13. Picaroony – what about Kathy BATES?

  14. Strange movie this, i liked in the same way i liked Black Hawk down.

    I think the drama and human side is heavy handed as it tries to beat you over head with what a terrible situation this and how could good men stand aside while the world around them burns. (This plays out with sad music as scenes of bad things happening, inter cut with shots of the SEALS looking serious trying to remain impartial and on mission.)

    Then the action starts and the SEALS (who are equally as brutal as the rebel soldiers) decide to stand up for the little guy (Americas view of their armies involvement around the world ?). However it is well shot and due to the genocidal nature of the soldiers (we never find out if they had a justified reason for taking over the country) i found it a gripping end to the movie, which ramps up from the Predator like jungle and village destruction scenes to the planes swooping in at the last minute. (you can almost feel the movie change gear at this point, you the viewer have had time to think of the awfulness of the situation and what good human beings the SEALS are. Now its time to kick ass)

    The main problems i had, was the seeming heartless nature of the US military towards Bruce and his boys. Basically they disobeyed orders and were then abandoned to make their own way home or die, yet when they get there they are welcomed as heroes (doing the right thing against breaking their training and the chain of command ?). That and the sudden changed from the dark soulful massacres of civilians to the SEALS turning the dial to massacre on the soldiers and it suddenly seeming to be justified, because they are just righting the wrongs from earlier in the movie.

    Overall not Bruce’s best, but there is a good movie in there trying to get out and if you try not to think to much of the subject matter and heavy handed plot and character development it builds to satisfying finale (unless you were one of those refugees left behind)

  15. Also agree that the missionary would be viewed as a package and not an object of desire by the SEALS, even one as complete as Bellucci. (Strange how she went all method acting for the role and became all dowdy and disheveled, just how i believe one would look living in the jungle and working at church/victim support centre)

  16. Daniel, please don’t call your main character
    john
    cole
    max
    or kyle.
    thanks man.

  17. thats an awesome job though.

  18. I found the village scene and the end firefight quite affecting, personally, mainly due to these kinds of atrocities being quite well-publicised in the UK – Radio 4 (sorry) does quite a lot of reportage on tribal infighting in Africa, weirdly enough.
    Big fan of Shooter, myself – ‘Let’s get Bono’.

    Vern, how do you feel about War movies vs Action movies – i.e. the worthy ones (Saving Private Ryan)
    vs The Dirty Dozen?

  19. One of the few rented movies I quit watching by the middle. Never saw the rest of it, nor really care to. I really hate this, not for the filmatics (mediocre misfire) but alot of the NeoCons used this movie back in the day as an argument of why we needed to invade Iraq so yeah sorry but that baggage got left behind if you get my drift.

    Makes me wonder if THREE KINGS will ever critically recover from those assholes.

    Vern – Someone correct me, but didn’t Willis agree to do DIE HARD 4 for Fox so that Sony could use that title TEARS OF THE SUN and several of those plot elements?

  20. Jot ……dowdy and disheveled? i think not…….Charlize Theron pulled it off in Monster (in more ways than one) and Toni Collette is very ….transformable but poor Monica just doesnt have it in her i reckon

    http://www.imdb.com/media/rm135436288/tt0314353

    D’Strange – aye Kathy Bates ftw ….perfect missionary material

    It was a great team though ….. Predator-ready indeed …. have we any other good examples of Predator-ready teams ….since Predator? …..It giving me the fear for PREDATORS.

  21. The only one I can think of at the moment are the bunch of lads from the 13th Warrior …. they were a tough and charismatic bunch of Norsemen.

  22. Jareth Cutestory

    April 23rd, 2010 at 7:50 am

    On the Bellucci issue: There’s this tacit understanding that people who are superhumanly handsome/gorgeous in our world are just normal people in the Mainstream American Movie World. In Mainstream American Movie World, Jessica Biel is a social worker and Halle Berry is the widow of a petty criminal, Amanda Seyfried is homely and Julia Roberts is a hooker. Monica Belluci is probably at the pretty end of normal in that world.

    Normal looking people in our world, guys like Steve Buscemi and gals like Shelley Duvall, are hideous monsters in Mainstream
    American Movie World.

  23. Yea I’ve always liked this movie. I’m a sucker for an action movie that goes for the heart strings as well, like in the scene where they discover the woman with her breasts cut off so she can no longer feed her child. That’s some harsh shit that i’d bet really happens. I don’t really read into the politics of America saving the poorer culture, but rather as a smaller story about a group of soldiers put into a bad situation, where they decided NOT to follow their government’s orders because they new in their hearts it was wrong to leave all these people to die. That actually makes me think you could read this as a “the American Government makes bad calls too” type of thing, and even their own people do not want to follow sometimes.

    So yeah, whatever, I like it.

  24. I think the crew from Tombstone were mildly Predator-ready. Cowboys and Aliens style.

    Virgil and Morgan still would have got gotten.

  25. This movie was mediocre, but I own it on DVD. The plot is ok…but moves slowly. There is suspense… but not a lot. Mostly I was just slightly confused, but since I could tell what the movie was I didn’t really care (Black Hawk Down – multiple plot lines and character development + jungle; I felt they were kind of going for a broader audience here). There were things that threw me off…like I could never tell how much the military really cared if these guys made it back or not. Or why they sent a SEAL team in after a missionaries who probably knew what they were gettting into to (do they send in SEALS for that?) The missionaries willing to die/thinking the rebels wouldn’t kill them threw me off too…regular Joes and Janes don’t stick around for that.

    I liked the feel of the movie though because thats how I imagine sneaking through the jungle. Really boring, shitty, and not knowing what the hell is going on. And sometimes you have to stop and make sure no one sees you which is more quiet and calm than scary (for a SEAL. And me). The ending scene was really intense and I was honestly bummed when (spoiler) some of the guys on the team died.

    The action scenes could have been a lot better, but overall since I got to see some cool SEAL teamwork in action I gave it a pass. It looked real, and it’s a good action flick to fall asleep too. I really bought the movie because of that awesome scene with the snipers and saving the village. They should have made the whole movie like that. Plus sometimes I feel like watching Black Hawk Down with a chick (in real life and/or in the movie) and not having to really pay attention.

  26. caruso_stalker217

    April 23rd, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Wait a minute. Chinlund actually plays a good guy in this? I might have to give this one another look.

  27. I didn’t think the qoute at the end was neccessarily calling for American military intervention; just trying to say to audiences, especially American audiences, “Hey, this is going on in the world, this is what’s happening in Africa, wake up and be aware of it, and if we can do anything about it, we should make some effort too, because people are suffering.” Kinda like BLOOD DIAMOND, and in an equally heavy-handed and obvious way. (TEARS OF THE SUN and BLOOD DIAMOND make Micheal Cimino and Oliver Stone look subtle.)

    However, if Monica Bellucci is in danger, then send in the goddamn entire Marine Corp, plus Delta Force AND dispatch three aircraft carriers. She must be protected at all costs.

  28. The Picaroony

    That was the point i was making, some actresses can manage to get ‘into’ the character they are potraying and disappear into the role, but other than the lack of a dress what is different in this film from Bellucci than how she plays her role in the matrix.

    Personnally if she was in danger they should have sent in Buckaroo Banzai and Roboco (guess that would RoboBanzai or Buckaroo Cop), just to be sure.

  29. Jot – Well err umm ehh…..I liked her revealing dress in MATRIX RELOADED.

    One of the few fond memories I still hold from that. OK maybe the only one.

  30. Ah, “The Matrix Reloaded”. A terrible action movie that I’ve seen all the way through, as opposed to this one, which I couldn’t finish. I don’t imagine it got any better later on though, from what Vern and you guys have said about it.

  31. Jareth – yeah, buscemi could’ve won an oscar for MONSTER *without* makeup!

  32. I love men on a mission movies, and I think they did a pretty good job on this one. Even with lack of major character building, you got a good sense of the team and their relationship to Bruce’s character. I absolutely love the almost silent but unanimous decision to hit the guys attacking the village – that pause, then everybody just starts weapons checks and ammo all of a sudden. Worked for me – probably could have used more of a musical cue but I thought it was a very effective moment. Also, the one scene where they’ve got the waves of enemy coming at them and you get a good sense of a true SEAL team at work at they push forward in squads by just advancing and laying down fire for each other – moving right into the enemy. That was the one thing I got from this movie – the portrayal of the actual tactics felt real as opposed to overly Hollywood.

  33. I remember kind of liking Tears of the Sun. I’m a sucker for anything with tactical action scenes. Remember Soldier of Fortune Inc? I loved that show. It’s a sickness, I know.

  34. Yeah, I’m pretty indifferent on this one. I usually prefer to love or hate a movie. For me, the worst offense a movie can make is to make the audience go ” it was ok”. I agree though, i’m surprised the seal team didn’t at least snicker when Monica Bellucci’s picture came up. For further Monica Bellucci oogling see Malena. Ridiculously beautiful in that one.

  35. Been a while since I watched this but did enjoy it at the time. If I recall correctly, didn’t it get all “Braveheart” at the end with the musical score? Pulled my heartstrings but then I am Scottish!

  36. CarusoStalker – I’m a Chinlund fan as well – did you see that romantic comedy Amy’s Orgasm (I think it’s called Amy’s O at Blockbuster) where he’s the romantic lead? He’s actually pretty charming in it and it’s kind of awesome to see a bad guy get to play the straight-up love interest (as opposed to the tortured Adam Sandler/Vincent Donofrio/Nick Cage crazy love interest)

    It’s too bad alot of people here couldn’t get through this movie – I thought the first 3/4 was “meh” as well, but that last action sequence was amazing. In fact I’d say it’s probably the best mix of “realistic” tactical action and Predator-style badassness I’ve seen in years, and it tops any of the action sequences in Black Hawk Down.

  37. Antoine Fuquais just another Michael Bay with a sense of entitlement and self-importance. Now, self-importance is nice and good if you are a director of sensebility and intelligence. Which Fuqua doesn’t have. Fuqua is a Michael Bay that thinks he’s better then he really is. Fuqua is Michael Bay perpectualy stuck in Pearl Harbor mode. Many people were impressed with “Training Day”. Me, i don’t fall so easily for such shiny trinckets. Antoine Fuqua can kiss my ass, that bloody hack.

  38. brandon curtis, you even liked KING ARTHUR? Are you mad? Wow, just wow!!!

  39. Im gonna come in here and slightly defend mr. Fuqua. I think your Michael Bay analogy is pretty accurate but I think Fuqua is like a slightly deeper Michael Bay. Michael Bay with a soul. Training day is way deeper than anything Bay has ever done. I get the feeling that Fuqua thinks he’s a cross between Scorsese and Bay. He thinks he can tell a tough gritty story about the streets/war/whatever but through the visual flair of a Michael Bay type. It doesn’t really work to the extent he thinks it does because both of those styles clash. Training Day is the closest its come to working though. One thing I find interesting is that he’s never really had a hit movie. Training Day was kind of a hit and Shooter was mildly successful. The rest of his movies either bombed or kind of bombed. Interesting how hollywood keeps giving this guy decent sized budgets.

  40. I hate to say it but Asimov may have a point – Bait is the definition of poor man’s Michael Bay (it’s lit and shot EXACTLY the same as Bay’s movies minus the budget), and Replacement Killers is obviously the poor man’s John Woo. You could probably call Shooter the poor man’s Bourne, but I know alot of you guys like the brutality and gore of that one. Fuqua always seems like a nice guy, (where Bay and Ratner don’t), but I’ll have to admit Bay and Ratner have a better batting average when it comes to pretty good movies.

  41. SHOOTER is awesome for giving Wahlberg one of the best straight-faced tough guy lines of the decade:

    “You can’t go up against the CIA or whoever [paraphrasing]! It’s suicide!”

    “You don’t understand. These men killed my dog.”

  42. Man, they should make more movies where the hero seeks vengeance after his dog is killed. It’s totally badass and/or awesome. The only other film I can think of with dog-revenge is MAD MAX 2, but in that case I think the motivation was split evenly between his car and his dog.

  43. You should see RED, which Vern reviewed. It’s all about Brian Cox seeking justice when some teenage douchebags kill his dog for no reason. Naturally, justice eventually mutates into revenge, as justice often does. It’s awesome.

  44. I Am Legend kinda had a revenge for a dog’s death scene. I think its funny that I get way more emotional during a dog death scene than a human death scene lol.

  45. Not a great movie, but THE BRAVE ONE starring Jodie Foster is about avenging something that happened to a dog.

  46. I know folk who won’t watch I AM LEGEND.

    Because a dog dies.

    The fact that all of humanity dies doesn’t seem to come into play.

  47. MR MAJESTYK: Added to my Australian-Netflix-equivalent. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Oh man, just thinking about that scene in I AM LEGEND… excuse me… I’ve got something in my eye.

    I forgot about THE BRAVE ONE (it is overshadowed in my mind by the far more ridiculous/entertaining DEATH SENTENCE) but I believe that one dealt with the lesser crime of dognapping (also her fiance is murdered etc).

  48. Yeah, I couldn’t remember for sure. I agree, DEATH SENTENCE won that particular vigilante movie duel.

  49. Got no problems with dogs, but I think I mentioned here a few times how I feel about dead cats in movies.

  50. TEARS OF THE SUN is an attempt at reconstructing the Nigerian civil war ( 6 July 1967–15 January 1970) with a touch of euphemism and other modifications – throwing in the American presence, assassination of President and the rush for Cameroon. It tries to show what difference could have been made if the British and Americans, had mediated in the conflict. Instead of supporting the ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Hausa/Fulani ethnic sect as did the British and later absolving them of the crime.

  51. ThomasCrown442, if you find the death of a dog more emotional then the death of a human being, then you should seek professional help. I’m telling you this as a friend. That’s some disturbing shit right there.

    Somebody once said that when you start treating animals as people, it’s a short step to start treat people as animals.

  52. I have a theory: if the dog dies, the movie is good, if the dog survives, it’s crap. I give two examples:

    Example #1 is a classic: INDEPENDENCE DAY. Remmeber how that dog survives an impossible situation, and it’s treated as a big emotional moment? Yet, thousands of people die in the same scene and those that followed, and yet not a single mention of that fact, all brushed aside. And as anybody with two working brain cells know, ID4 is terrible beyond description.

    Example #2 is even better, for it’s about two different versions of the same movie: PAYBACK. In the theatrical version of PAYBACK, the dog gets shot, but the next scene, you see it alive. Now, that version is not exactly a bad movie in itslf, but the movie becames less then what it was before. Then check out the much superior PAYBACK. DIRECTOR’S CUT. in it the dog is shit and dies. and the movie is much more hardcore, more badass, much much better. With filmmakers have the balls to kill the dog.

    And that’s how badass movies are made, by not going pussy on the mutt or any other pets. If ther eis one thing that upsets and irritates me is the hypocrisy many of this movies made in recent Hollywood, where children and animals, and nowdays also women, are off-limits to screen violence and danger. This type of hypocrisy aggravates me.

  53. Well, the dog dies in “Mars Attacks”, so your theory might be true. (Yes, I love that movie). But in “Alien Vs Predator 2” are kids and even pregnant women dieing horrible on-screen deaths (maybe even a dog, can’t remember) and this one is seriously bad!

  54. Sorry Asimov, I like your theory, but the dog dies in The Lost World, and I’ll never be convinced it’s a good movie.

  55. Asimov – Your theory is contradicted by Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. At the end you think Shadow died, but he actually survives (SPOILERS). I realize this was a talking animals movie, but I’m not just thinking with nostalgia goggles here, am I? Homeward Bound was good, right?

  56. If Marmaduke dies at the end of MARMADUKE, I think it will improve the movie greatly.

  57. The only way they could make Marmaduke better would be if the dog got put down in the opening credits.

  58. I think the reason why animal deaths, for me anyway, are an emotional punch to the gut is because when you’ve seens literally hundrends of thousands of on screen human deaths, you get a little desensitized to them. Animal deaths are kind of rare in films if you think about it. Also, in films, animals are usually cute and innocent while the human characters are not. I guess I’m a sucker for cute and innocent.

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