Hart's War

Hart's War, set in a World War II German prison camp, recycles Stalag 17, A Soldier's Story, A Few Good Men, The Great Escape and even a little of Hogan's Heroes to produce, well, leftovers. Bruce Willis glowers manfully as Col. William McNamara, the ranking American officer at the camp, run by Col. Werner Visser (Marcel Iures). Enter hotshot lawyer Lt. Tommy Hart, played by Colin Farrell, a first-rate young actor in need of better material. The script, by Billy Ray and Terry George, believes it's conveying deep thoughts about racism; Nazi bigotry is compared to the American variety when redneck soldiers balk at sharing stalag space with black officer Lt. Lincoln Scott (an outstanding Terrence Howard), a flyboy hero who is framed for the murder of a white officer. Hart, with his own moral compromises to hide, defends Scott in a POW court. Director Gregory Hoblit (Primal Fear) is merely arranging cliches in new patterns until the surprise ending blows enough pro-military fervor up the audience's ass to make Colin Powell call a halt.

From The Archives Issue 394: April 28, 1983