Set in 1944 France, an American Intelligence Squad locates a German Platoon wishing to surrender rather than die in Germany's final war offensive. The two groups of men, isolated from the ... See full summary »
Lt. Col. Iceal "Ham" Hambleton is a weapons countermeasures expert and when his aircraft is shot over enemy territory the Air Force very much wants to get him back. Hambleton knows the area... See full summary »
Fourth-generation Army Col. William McNamara is imprisoned in a brutal German POW camp. Still, as the senior-ranking American officer, he commands his fellow inmates, keeping a sense of honor alive in a place where honor is easy to destroy, all under the dangerous eye of the Luftwafe vetran Col. Wilhelm Visser. Never giving up the fight to win the war, McNamara is silently planning, waiting for his moment to strike back at the enemy. A murder in the camp gives him the chance to set a risky plan in motion. With a court martial to keep Visser and the Germans distracted, McNamara orchestrates a cunning scheme to escape and destroy a nearby munitions plant, enlisting the unwitting help of young Lt. Tommy Hart. Together with his men, McNamara uses a hero's resolve to carry out his mission, ultimately forced to weigh the value of his life against the good of his country. Written by
At the start of the movie the date is given as 16 December 1944, the day that the German Ardennes Counter-Offensive (aka The Battle of the Bulge) began. When Hart crashes his jeep as he speeds away from the MPs, he ends up in a gully with a large number of dead American soldiers. A road sign seen earlier in the scene indicates that this is supposed to be the men from the infamous Malmedy Massacre. Those murders of POW's didn't happen until 17 December 1944, the day after the battle began. See more »
[Lt. Hart offers condolences upon learning that Col. Visser's own son was killed in action on the Russian Front]
Col. Werner Visser:
I killed my share of French and English in the last war; All of *them* had fathers.
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Fairly inticate P.O.W. film which becomes a court room drama. Lacks dramatic intensity. 3 Flys Out Of Five
Bruce Willis is back at the cinema, or is he? In Hart's War he plays the American commander in a German concentration camp near the end of WW2, but Willis seems to be holding back, reserved, muted. He's not even the central character.
Compared to say The Great Escape which would have to be the benchmark in the movie realm, Hart's War lacks dramatic punch. But it has virtues. Hart is played by Dubliner Colin Farrell.
He's a soft soldier, doing his duty as an officer's offsider, driving big brass about protected by the influence of his well to do family. He gets captured, in a scene that is truly dramatic, interrogated and sent to Stalag VI in very wintry Belgium.
Willis's character Col. McNamara, a fourth generation soldier, is suspicious of Hart because Hart emerged from interrogation far too early. Hart might have spilt the beans and McNamara places Hart into an enlisted men's hut.
Hart is soon joined there by Scott (Terence Howard) and Archer (Vicellous Shannon), two black American pilots and here's where the major plot element develops because the white American troops led by Bedford (Cole Hauser) react viciously towards black men being put amongst them.
It's not long before a rather improbable court martial is on for us, with a black man being tried by a hanging judge (McNamara) for murder. The German commander (Marcel Iures) plays his stereotype well, as do the rest.
The racist element is handled forcefully along with a rather intricate plot. There's plenty to think about as various relationships are developed.
What Hart's War lacks is dramatic flourish. We're in a dangerous prison with the men but we don't feel threatened. If fact the prison with its theatre, piano, football, B.B.C radio and trombone looks more like a very chilly holiday camp. I wouldn't have been surprised if there was hot running water.
Colin Farrell's character Hart, the center of the film in spite of Willis's top billing, handles his material well but it seemed he should have been back in The States at his posh law school, of that he really had never left.
We get glimpses of Jewish detainees on death trains, but it doesn't quite register as awful. We've seen it all before and it doesn't stir the Hart. Hart's War fell into that dangerous hole called the court room drama but even the court seemed vacuous. Except for the racist element we'd seen it all before.
3 Flaccid Flys Out Of Five
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