Tears Of The Sun

Featured In Issue 114, November 2006

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
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For strong war violence, some brutality, and language
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Single Side, Single Layer (BD-25)
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Antoine Fuqua
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Dolby Digital 5.1
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"Tears Of The Sun" is Antoine Fuqua's ("Training Day") action-drama about a Navy SEAL who must take matters into his own hands when his assignment proves more complicated than he could have expected. Lt. A.K. Waters (Willis) is sent into Nigeria to escort American doctor Lena Kendricks (Bellucci) and any other U.S. citizens out, before civil war explodes. But Kendricks is in no hurry to abandon her jungle least not without refugees who have been left in her care. Should the refugees be left behind, they will face certain death by the horrors of ethnic cleansing. And after seeing the atrocities firsthand, Waters agrees—against his commanding officer's (Skerritt) orders—to try to save the refugees as well.

The menu doesn't interface with the unmodified Samsung BD-P1000 player, but by usinsg the pop-up menu, I was able to pull up the special features on the disc. They include director's commentary, writer's observations, eight deleted scenes, an Africa Factoid Track, and trailers.

Recently, we were invited to Sony Pictures offices in Culver City to compare some of their Blu-ray Disc releases against the masters they were derived from, and now that I have seen the video quality of this release, I understand why it was the first title they showed us. This is easily one of the best Blu-ray Disc releases thus far, with very good detail, impressive contrast, deep blacks, and well-rendered colors. While the Blu-ray Disc releases did look surprisingly close to the master, it was still easy to see differences in some of the extremely fine details in shadows, like beads of sweat and individual pores on faces in the dark. Shadow delineation is still very good in this 2.40:1 MPEG-2-encoded Blu-ray Disc and because so much of the great scenes are shot at night, you should view this in a completely dark room. And, while the detail can be very good, there are still scenes that appear a bit hazy, which is distracting, especially considering how very good it can look. (Danny Richelieu)

The uncompressed linear PCM 5.1-channel soundtrack is very good, with fantastic recording quality, intense dynamic range, and a lively mix that can use each of the six channels very well. There are instances when the surround channels are not delivered with as much force as they should, leaving the stage sounding one-dimensional, but there are many scenes that are fully immersive, creating a fully holosonic™ experience complete with well-placed phantom images across each stereo wall. This is an exciting soundtrack that, while not as involving as the best of the best, is very well done. (Danny Richelieu)