Netflix is getting an often overlooked Bruce Willis action film in September. On September 1, Tears of the Sun hits the streaming service, causing many action fans to remember the Antoine Fuqua-directed film. The Nigerian government is in shambles and the African nation is on the verge of civil war.
Willis stars as Lt. A.K. Waters, who has been assigned to lead a team of soldiers into the jungle to rescue Dr. Lena Kendricks, played by Monica Bellucci. After Waters and his team locate Kendricks, they have to help her save her patients from death at the hands of the insurgents. The team draws ire from both U.S. and Nigerian sides as they attempt to save as many refugees from brutal deaths.
The film sits at just 33% on Rotten Tomatoes and only earned $43 million at the box office in 2003. The film was Fuqua’s follow-up to the much-lauded Training Day. Despite getting some negative reviews, Fuqua made the film with a purpose: exposing the atrocities that are inflicted upon Africans.
“The opportunity to expose some of the events and the atrocities that take place in Africa… also, an opportunity to shine some light on the special forces… guys who go into these places and face these situations,” Fuqua explained in an interview with NPR about Tears of the Sun. However, he wanted to set the record straight about the fact that Tears of the Sun was often misinterpreted. “It’s misinterpreted as a pro-war film,” he explained. “It’s really about man’s inhumanity to man… that’s really the simple point of the story, is to try to help… I’m not trying to say one way or another that we should go to war.”
The film contains some extremely brutal violence, but Fuqua believes that it barely begins to cover the true violence that Nigerian citizens have faced over the years. “I don’t think it could have been brutal enough, truthfully,” Fuqua said. “The things that inspired me were much more horrifying.” However, he admitted that “I think I got the point across.”