Hart’s War

By Mark Ramsey | 2002/02/16

In the future, everyone will star in a war movie.

I’d call it a bad sign when the best way to see a TV spot for a new movie is to download it yourself. Then again, MGM spends more time nowadays zealously protecting 40-year-old Bond flicks than producing anything worth advertising.

When I sat down for Hart’s War, I was expecting a slam-bang shoot-em-up combat flick. What I got instead was a very special Hogan’s Heroes episode of Matlock. An episode so special, I was chained to a stale lesson in racial tolerance like Sidney Poitier to Tony Curtis.


Bruce Willis is the only officer in This Man’s Army with wrinkle rings around his mouth so deep, you’ll wonder how Fred Flintstone became a Colonel. Most of Hart’s War features Bruce and his boys falling in and out of formation while the Germans smoke Luckys. Enthralling. More smoke rings please.

Even if your knowledge of history is thinner than Bruce Willis’s hair, you’ll know the Yanks are goodies and the Germans are baddies because the Yanks are all better looking. Master race, indeed!

In the cavalcade of history’s armed conflicts, I think I missed this “Hart’s War.” It’s not the Boer War, but it sure has boering stretches. It’s not the Civil War because nobody’s very civil. And without Robert Wagner, it’s sure not the “Hart to Hart” War.

This is the kind of movie where you can almost feel the lights going down and the music coming up as the Wronged Man On Trial launches into a well-timed courtroom soliloquy. Somewhere in this makeshift courtroom, somebody can’t handle the truth.

hartswar_demi.jpgHas there ever – ever – been a POW camp without a tunnel? Didn’t the Germans ever figure this problem out? Do tunnels increase the value of the property, like a pool and a view? Perhaps the Fuhrer insisted on modern kitchens, remodeled bathrooms, spacious closets, and an extensive network of barely concealed underground escape pathways.

One tunnel is built into the latrine, marking the first time its actually desirable to be “in the shitter.” People are climbing in and out of this thing all day. Warning: If you feel a knocking sensation under your bum, it may not be the Raisin Bran after all! Buttocks barracks, this way!

Fortunately for the prisoners, every Kraut in the camp is so enraptured by the courtroom goings on, nobody notices a large group of POW’s emptying out of the camp to blow up a munitions factory and, perhaps one day, to host Family Feud.

This is one of those POW movies where the prisoners get their own theater and an elaborate costume budget so they can produce irreverent anti-Nazi musical satires under the noses of their German captors. Hey, since when does “show me your papers?” refer to Variety?

“Hans, vhat iz playing at za prizoner’s theatah?”

“It’s called ‘Der Fuhrer Sucks, Yo,’ and Werner sayz it’s wack!”

Will the prisoners find their way to freedom? Will Bruce Willis find redemption? Will Demi Moore one day be found tied and gagged in a box under a bed in Kalamazoo? Will Major Matlock engage in courtroom theatrics? Will lung cancer stop the war before the Allies do? Will the Nazis use showtunes to break the G.I.’s will to live or just their will to live among members of the opposite sex?

Forget all that; Thunderball is on ABC.

Photos Copyright ©200


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