Tears of the Sun

"Cowboy the fuck up," says Lt. A.K. Waters (Bruce Willis) to the scared Navy SEALs he leads on a mission to rescue a doctor (the gorgeous but miscast Monica Bellucci) treating patients in Africa. It's a John Wayne line in a John Wayne movie — think The Green Berets — that should have added up to more, given the timely subject of U.S. intervention in the Third World. A.K.'s orders are to save only the doc, a U.S. national, but she spurs his conscience (and libido) to rescue her Nigerian charges.

Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) can stage action, but he can't save a trivializing, reactionary script featuring a Hollywood star (read America) as a global savior out to teach us all how to cowboy the fuck up.

From The Archives Issue 919: April 3, 2003