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Hart's War

Hart's War tells the story of a murder at a Nazi prison camp. An American POW is murdered, the suspect is another American POW, and the Nazis allow the Americans to hold a trial.

Hart's War tells the story of racial tensions between black and white within the American military during WWII, the hatred, the mistrust, the ignorance.

Hart's War is a serious adaptation of Hogan's Heroes. A group of American POWs in a Nazi prison camp are tunneling out under the toilet, trading cigarettes for boots and supplies with the guards, and planning a mission against a munitions target not far from the camp.

Hart's War is an epic power struggle between two men, one American and one Nazi, set against the backdrop of a Nazi prison camp during World War II.

Hart's War is the story of space aliens that land in a Nazi prison camp and start penetrating everyone anally.

Only one of those five statements is false.

Hart's War has much going for it. Pick a theme, it's probably touched on in the movie. It wants you to think it stars Bruce Willis, the way some people will try to convince you that The Big Chill stars Kevin Costner. Hart's War actually stars Colin Farrell. He plays Hart. It's his war and he'll cry if he wants to.

Basically, Hart is taken prisoner by the Nazis and sent to a prison camp. At the camp, he meets Bruce Willis as Colonel William McNamara, the leader of the American prisoners. Tensions mount. Two black pilots arrive at the prison camp, the first two black officers at the camp. Tensions mount. One of the black officers is framed for a crime and executed by the nazis. Tensions mount. One of the white prisoners winds up dead and everyone thinks the second black officer murdered him. Tensions mount. Willis convinces the Nazis to let the Americans hold a trial. Tensions mount. Hart (that's Colin Farrell, not Bruce Willis), is assigned the thankless job of defending the suspect. Tensions mount.

There is nothing overly bad about this film. There is nothing overly great about this film. You could blink and miss this and see it in a video store and never remember having heard of it at all. If you like a nice courtroom drama, lots of men arguing back and forth and quoting regulations and making speeches, then you might like this film. If the idea of sitting in a dark theater watching grown men bark at each other like kids on a playground causes your eyeballs to roll back into your head until your brain melts from the tedium, then you might want to skip this flick.

Colin Farrell is very good, and we're going to start seeing more of him in the future. He is believable as a spoiled brat rich kid who winds up in a prison camp and then progresses through an arc of discovery. Only thing missing on his journey is the chapter where he meets a hooker for the first time and discovers the wonderful world of paying by the minute.

Bruce Willis is very Bruce Willis as the character of Bruce Willis. Come on, when you're Bruce Willis, you don't play characters, you play yourself. This is Bruce Willis as the career military guy with balls of titanium. He squints a bit more than usual and I think he had a cold when they filmed, which sort of added to the character, but not much.

There are a couple of very cinematic moments, from a group of POWs scrambling into formation to alert allied planes not to bomb them to Hart in an interrogation room to a train speeding through a winter wonderland. But then, ten minutes into the movie they get to the prison camp and we never leave. Ever. You, the audience, are as much a prisoner of the camp as anyone else. You feel trapped, constricted, dirty, smelly, you could use a shave. I suppose on some level this adds to the overall experience, putting you into the camp, connecting with the characters. Or it could just mean they wanted to save money by cutting down on the number of locations. We'll never know.

Hart's War gets 3 1/5 Babylons. Just a hair above average, but nothing to write home about. If you're not already interested in the film, you're not going to be, so don't waste your time.

Editor's Note:

While I was watching this movie I kept waiting for that blonde chick in Hogan's Heroes to show up. I can't remember her name--Olga? Helga? Let the emails begin.

Hart's War
Rated: R
Directed By: Gregory Hoblit
Starring: Colin Farrell, Bruce Willis, Terrence Dashon Howard, Vicellous Reon Shannon, Marcel Iures, Cole Hauser, Bob Crane, John Banner, Robert Clary, Richard Dawson and Werner Klemperer as Colonel Klink.

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