Tears Of The Nitpicker

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I was watching Tears of the Sun last night, and something in the final scenes bothered me. WARNING: this totally spoils the end of the movie. You have been warned.

Lake, scouting ahead of the rest of the team and the refugees, tells Waters, "Hold one. Hold... one." He's in a mostly grassy area facing right; the rest are in the trees behind him (to our left). The sniper attack comes from the right. Shortly later, when the first rockets come in, they're coming from the right. The team counterattacks, left-to-right. When that first attack is repulsed, they go back into the trees to see that several of the refugees have been killed or wounded. The main attack comes from the same direction as the others, and Zee tells one of the women, "You have to run! Do not stop until you hit the trees!" They start running farther back into the trees, cross a river, climb up the other bank, and into some tall grass. They cross the tall grass, and (absolute last chance to avoid spoilage) run across a small clear stretch to the Cameroon border.

So what's the problem?

The problem is that they retreated back through the trees, across the river, across the grass, and over the clearing to the border! Why didn't they just go that way to begin with and avoid the rebel troops altogether?

One other thing: when the group is moving down the path at night and first encounters the rebels, the lead scout warns the group to move off the trail and hide, saying 'danger close' to refer to the approaching rebels. That's not what that means. 'Danger close' refers to an air strike or fire support mission where friendly troops are close to the target. Interestingly, Zee correctly uses the term when he calls in the final air strike.

Oh, yeah. About that air strike: when the F/A-18s left the deck of the Truman, they were only carrying drop tanks. When they approached the target, they were carrying six HARM missiles, that are only good against emitting targets such as search and tracking radars. The explosions (with white smoke streamers) were indicative of an incendiary with white phosphorous. A real close air support mission of that type would most likely have used CBU-87 cluster bombs.

The producers went to a lot of trouble to get details right; how much harder would the air strke have been?

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This page contains a single entry by Chris published on August 10, 2003 7:03 PM.

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