In the last couple of months several Extended Cuts and Director Cuts have been published. Very often the only reason for that was to give the studios one more opportunity to earn money with new DVD editions. Some studios even see DVD as the main source of revenue and consider the theatrical release a teaser. That`s why it`s not a surprise that Tears of the Sun, which became profitable only as a Home Cinema release, generated higher revenues through DVD sales than at the Box Office. So it seemed logical to release an Extended Director`s Cut to make up for the falling earnings that resulted from weak ticket sales at the Box Office.
Many of the new scenes could already be seen in the Delected Scenes section of the first edition. However, it makes sense to integrate them into the actual movie as it improves the movie. Having said that, the movie now has a slower pace. Since "Tears of the Sun" isn`t a pure action movie, anyway - the first action sequence starts after around 70 minutes - this isn`t necessarily a bad thing. The tribal feud is more detailed now and shows a realistic picture of such conflicts which are not about the fight between good and evil. They rather are power struggles between factions that oppress and murder the ethnically different. Because of that, the newly added freedom speech of the chieftan, which is given to the Ibo tribes at the end of the movie, can be interpreted in more ways than one might think.
He would have to disempower the present ruler by means of violence and ignore the needs of other ethnic groups, even persecute and destroy them; the way apparently his father has done, as well as the ones who now have displaced him.
Furthermore, the USA is subtly, but for an attentive audience noticeably, portrayed as what they are. A super power that can adapt to everything as long as it is for their own benefit and that does not have any problems to change their maxim quickly. And in Nigeria, as the biggest oil exporting country, the benefits for one`s own country aren`t hard to find. These critical undertones are almost completely missing from the theatrical cut.
The perpetual cavilers, who once again see this movie as self-adulation of American military virtues, had better come to their senses. Why would anyone show American soldiers that do not act like American soldiers in an American movie, only to please over-critical Europeans, who otherwise would suspect brainwashing? ( = RC 1 DVD): 112:52 / 120:48 minutes
Director`s Extended Cut ( = RC 1 DVD): 134:25 / 142:14 minutes
The logos at the beginning are slightly longer in the TC.
In the TC, after the title of the movie, a rising sun appears and then the news montage follows. In the DC the background remains black and the news montage starts later.
General Yakubu enters the presidential palace of president Azuka, which had just been conquered by his rebels. There are corpses everywhere on the floor. Yakubu talks to the presidential family and asks Azuka where his son is. Since he doesn`t get an answer he threatens Azuka`s wife and two daughters. Azuka pleads for their life and says that his children are innocent.
One of Yakubu`s officers intervenes and says that the daughters aren`t less innocent than the thousands that were killed by Azuka`s army and that they have come to bring justice. When Azuka says that rebels wouldn`t know anything about justice the officier takes his arm and shows the golden watch at the wrist of the president and says that Azuka`s justice is only about his personal gain.
Then Yakubu threatens Azuka again and says to him that the worst thing is to see one`s family die and that his rebels know that situation very well. When Azuka`s wife speaks up one more time and says that the rebels can kill them but not the cause they are fighting for Yakubu adds that there is nothing more beautiful than a loving wife and that he envies Azuka for her. Then he leaves the room and the officer draws his gun. First, he aims at the president, then at his wife, then at one of the daughters. Wife and daughters beg for their life but the officer shoots the daughter and then the screen dims out.
In the DC, a scene in which the captain specifies the new task is missing.
Captain: "(Priority Tasking.) We need to extract a critical personality ASAP.
The mission in which Lena Kendricks works as a doctor is on screen and many injured people are shown.
Dr. Kendricks operates the severed arm of a man and father Gianni treats other patients
Then a rack body truck with more injured children comes from the city. Dr. Kendricks is desperate and runs to the radio transmitting set to ask the US embassy for help. She is told to come to the border, which she cannot do because she is responsible for 70 injured people. The man at the other radio transmitting set promises her to send somebody to help her
Waters oders Zaak to make sure that the refugees don`t take too much luggage with them. But the Navy Seal doesn`t show any sign of sensitivity and brutally snatches away the luggage from the refugees` bare hands. This angers Dr. Kendricks and she runs to him to stop him from doing that. But Zaak stays bull-headed and tells her to help him because there would be no other way to move on quickly.
Waters talks to the priest, who wants to stay behind. When the priest again assures him that he wants to stay Waters leaves him a handgun. As a reaction the priest says that he could never kill anybody, no matter what the rebels have done. Waters replies that the handgun is not for the rebels but for him, if the rebels come.
Even though Dr. Kendricks tries to persuade the sister to go with them, Grace wants to stay in the mission, whereas the young Sihoban seems to be willing to go, which upsets Grace.
Outside the soldiers are suddenly on high alert because a man with a machete is running toward the mission. They stop him and although Dr. Kendricks calls him a friend they remain suspicious of him. The man, whose name is Gideon, eventually joins the group of refugees.
The group rests for a while and Waters asks about the number of children. Then Waters gives each man a child. Only one man refuses Waters` order. According to another member of the group that is because the man hasn`t said a single word since he was nine. However, when Waters leaves, Dr. Kendricks takes the baby and gives the child to the man, who now takes the baby without any objections. The man, as it`s later revealed, is Arthur Azuka.
Thereupon, protesters are shown in front of the residence of Nigeria`s present leader general Yakubu and how Yakubu watches them from his window. Then he sees on TV a report on his country and oil resources, which are so important for everyone, in which the reporter also says that the United Nations are planning new sanctions for his country. Yakubu is worried since his country highly depends on oil revenues. He discusses the situation with his executive staff in order to find a way not to lose $10 billion in oil revenues every month. One of the staff members suggests to talk directly to the United States without consulting the United Nations. Another one wants to avoid that and instead talk to the Chinese. Yakubu prefers the Americans because he reckons they have a higher chance to strike a deal with them.
The scene, where Dr.Kendricks draws up the injection for the girl is shown from two different angles.
DC 1,5 sec longer
In the shot after the next one it`s the other way round. The DC contains a long shot, whereas in the TC Dr. Kendricks` face is shown. In addition, Dr. Kendricks stands up in the DC and walks to some more injured people.
DC 10 sec longer
After Walter has left the refugees behind, those cry longer. In the end, one of the men, Arthur`s bodyguard, takes the initiative and says that they have to continue their way to Cameroon alone.
After the helicopter has turned around, one shot, in which it is flying above the village is missing. During that shot, a vulture that is pecking a corpse on the ground can be seen.
When Dr. Kendricks demands more rest for the refugees, Waters insists to move as fast as possible because of the rebels that are following them.
Dr. Kendricks still doesn`t want to give in. Therefore, Walters tells her to decide who has to die and who is allowed to live as everybody who stayed behind would probably die. He claims she had forced him to take those people with them because otherwise she would not have come with him, either. He asks her whether they should leave the refugees behind, just like her friends in the mission. She starts to sob and turns away her face. Walters firmly grabs her for a short moment to make her look at him again and says that she has to take responsibility for her decision.
In the TC, a voiceover is added, where Waters orders Red to make the refugess march on. That is missing from the DC because Red appears in the next shot.
Red comes to Dr. Kendricks and tells her, in a way more friendly way than Walters, that they will get out of the jungle safely. Then he pats her, almost gently, on her shoulder. But Dr. Kendricks pushes him away defiantly and walks away. Then the group continues their journey.
While the Seals are killing rebels in the village, there is a scene where, in front of the huts, two Seals can be seen. In the TC, there is a cut beween the two scenes. In the DC it`s the beginning and the ending of a pan shot, in which a dying goat is shown on the ground.
Zee enters the hut, in which the other Seal is choking the rapist. He looks around and sees a charred corpse in the fire place. He gets sick and looks away. Another Seal enters the hut and sees one more coprse. During that time, the choking is still visible and audible.
Zee sees the woman that has just raped and whose breasts were cut off. He breathes heavily and looks at her in disbelief. Then he starts screaming painfully.
The refugee Musa talks to the Seal Silk at night and asks where he is from. Silk says South Carolina. But Musa meant his African heritage. And he says he can tell from his eyes and nose that he is from this particular part of Africa and that if Silk`s ancestors hadn`t been brought to America as slaves he maybe would be right at this place as refugee. Thereupon, Silk asks him what the tribal conflicts are all about and Musa answers that they are about cultural differences and tribes that seek wealth and power and that greed is the reason for all those dead people.
the refugees hum a melancholic song in their make-shift camp at night
After Dr. Kendricks has told Waters about the death of her husband, she adds that she now is one of the women that are fleeing with her. Then she asks Walters whether he had been married before. Walters denies that smirkingly. Dr.Kendricks thereupon says that feelings seem to be a difficult issue for him.
Col. Sadick, leader of the rebels that are following the refugees, holds a speech in front of his men early in the morning. They, the Hausa and Fulani, who have suffered from the reign of the Ibo consider it their responsibility to protect themselves, their "way of life" and their nation. The leader claims that the belief of the Ibo is wrong and that they have taken over the religion of the former colonial powers. The rhetoric of the speech is reminiscent of Bush`s speeches before and during the second Iraq war.
Due to the previous cut the scene in which Waters walks toward Zee to tell him about the approaching rebels is different in each version. In the DC two shots are missing; instead another shot is slightly longer.
TC 5 sec longer
The Seals and the refugees are at the river when Walters is called via walkie-talkie and talks to commander Rhodes. Here again, the two versions are different from each other. In the TC it can be seen how Rhodes tells Walters about Arthur Azuko, the new leader of the Ibo, - this Walters already knows - and how he directs him to leave him, as he not only endagers their mission but also the situation in the country with the apparently accepted Fulani government. Waters refuses to abandon Azuko to his enemies. In the DC this conversation sounds different. Rhodes is neither visible nor audible. The audience only sees Waters reaction, which sounds less aggressive and decisive.
TC 83 sec longer
In the DC one can see how the refugees thank Dr. Kendricks a couple of times.
Instead, Arthur Azuko gives a speech in front of his tribe in which he promises that one day they will return to their country and that he will try everything to make the dream of his father, lasting peace, come true.
After that, Arthur walks toward Dr Kendricks to thank her for everything. He and his wife, who was close to her, encourage her to leave the country. With a heavy heart and with tears in her eyes she says goodbye and leaves.
Because of the last cut and reasons of coherence, the scene in which Dr. Kendricks walks to the helicoper and the refugees are waving to her is missing from the DC