Directed by Gregory Hoblit.
Written by Billy Ray and Terry George. Based on the book by
Starring Bruce Willis and Colin Farrell.
Release Year: 2002
Review Date: 2/18/02
War movies have really flooded the market,
eh? Plus, with HBO's "Band of Brothers" series from last year,
you've got more WWII violence than you can shake a stick at.
Thankfully, Hollywood keeps churnin' 'em
out, and this weekend, I took in the new Bruce Willis film "Hart's
War." I only saw the preview for this one a couple of times, but it
looked like it was going to be some kind of POW camp drama, and I
just figured that Willis was playing Hart, since he is on the
Shows you what I know. Willis stars as a
captured American colonel named McNamara that is the ranking officer
in a German stalag (prison camp) when this guy Hart (played by Colin
Farrell, "Tigerland") shows up. Hart is a pretty boy officer that
gets captured while transferring another officer behind enemy
lines. Once he is in the stalag, Hart is forced to play lawyer for
a black Air Force pilot (Terrence Howard) that may or may not have
killed a racist American soldier in cold blood. McNamara is chosen
to preside over the trial, but we all know that there is more to
McNamara's involvement in the trial than he is letting on.
From the opening scene, where Hart tries to
escape from his German pursuers behind the lines, to the courtroom
case that dictates much of the film's second half, I was pleasantly
surprised by this film. And, Willis' career continues to evolve
from comedy to action-adventure to drama, and he is good in "Hart's
War" even if he doesn't have as much to do as some of his other
films. Farrell and Howard end up carrying the film, and the way the
film deals with race is a bit different than normal studio fare such
as this. The best support, though, comes from the German commanding
officer of the stalag (played by Marcel Iures), who is not your
standard-issue evil Nazi (best played by Ralph Fiennes in
"Schindler's List") but a professional soldier that seems to want
the trial to work towards justice, not just a silly conclusion for
his personal amusement. By giving this one character depth, "Hart's
War" is more interesting than it ever deserves to be, and it makes
for an entertaining two hours instead of a total bust.
Rating: $9.00 Show
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard