Roger Ebert has a mixed review. The New York Times describes it as a "morose and willfully dewy-eyed tale" and says it's "a movie that wants to be everything and adds up to nothing. ''War'' is a film that tries to excel on several levels and falls flat on all of them." Rolling Stone closes its review with this:
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.