Bruce Willis stars as Colonel William McNamara in this World War Two action-adventure, set in a German prisoner-of-war camp. Young Lieutenant Tommy Hart (Colin Farrell), the sheltered, law-student son of a politician, gets thrown into the brutal setting of the POW camp. McNamara, who chafes at being away from the battlefront, has men secretly digging an escape tunnel so they can blow up a nearby munitions plant. McNamara plans to stage their escape while the Germans are distracted by the bogus court-martial of a black “Tuskegee Airman,” falsely accused of murdering a vocally racist American prisoner. To keep the flyer from being executed, Hart, who represents him in the trial, proclaims himself guilty. But when the tunnel cover-up is discovered, McNamara must weigh the lives of Hart and all his men against destroying the munitions plant. With the recent success of BLACK HAWK DOWN and other war-themed films, HART’S WAR may prove popular, although it could suffer from reminders of classics like THE GREAT ESCAPE and STALAG 17.
Although the movie is dramatically authentic in its visuals, the fictional story has an air of unreality and a feeling of today’s political correctness, as it displays personal convictions that seem, in some ways, foreign to the time frame. Examples of heroism are displayed by all the characters, but frequent obscenities and strong profanity, along with some overly graphic violence make HART’S WAR a losing battle.