is also the title of a plethora of movies. My favorite was filmed in 1988
, and stars (among others) Jason Patric
, George Dzundza
and Stephen Baldwin
. It?s the story of a Soviet tank
and its crew, set in Afghanistan
during the Soviet
occupation of that country.
The Afghan War has been called the Soviet Union's Vietnam, and this film brings home this comparison with striking and downright nasty clarity. The plot, while simple, is riveting. The tank and its crew are separated from their forces after destroying a village and torturing some of its inhabitants for information on the local mujaheddin fighters. Navigating via dead reckoning, they set out across a desert towards a well-traveled military road.
The tank crew consists of its commander, a grizzled veteran played by George Dzundza; three young Russian conscript tank crewmen, and an Afghan Army Major who acts as translator, guide and liaison. As the tank makes its way across the desert, it becomes clear that the commander is not entirely sane; he begins to recall his days as a young boy fighting the Wehrmacht in Stalingrad, where he was dubbed 'Tank Boy.' He is already suspicious of his driver (Jason Patric) a conscripted academic who has voiced reservations about the war and their conduct of it. He's also dismissive and harsh to the Afghan Major.
As the tank grinds on, the mujaheddin (who have returned to find their homes in ruins) give furious chase. The tank crew begins to understand exactly how dangerous the enemy is, and how much more dangerous their commander might be.
I won't go any further, since this is just the setup; however, I found this movie to be a biting, poignant look at what war can and does do to those it touches. Noone survives this ordeal intact, in one way or another; and what happens to them is riveting enough that I couldn't leave my seat.
I strongly recommend this film if you enjoyed Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, Hamburger Hill, A Midnight Clear or Mr. Roberts.
Warning: the reviews of this film at Amazon.com are massive spoilers.