The Beast of War (1988) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
93 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Cold War ideology
fairviewed11 September 2004
The review of this film by whpratt1 is completely wrong. This film is not critical of the Mujahadeen, but rather shows them struggling to fight for their freedom. The Soviet army is the oppressive evil presence. This film was made during the Cold War, when Americans saw a line drawn in the sand between communism and capitalist democracy. In the film, the Soviets are clearly the bad guys, and the Mujahadeen are fighting the good fight. The main character comes to understand this during the film, finally telling his Soviet commanding officer that "we're the Nazis this time."

During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the United States funded, supplied, and trained Mujahadeen forces. American stinger missiles were used to shoot down Soviet helicopters. The most famous Mujahadeen fighter trained by the United States would come to be Osama bin Laden. He would participate in the fight against the Soviet army, much to the approval of the United States. This film pays tribute to the Mujahadeen for valiantly defending themselves against America's enemy. The fact that the United States has invaded Afghanistan makes the film much more interesting to watch. It is ironic that these militants once praised by Hollywood are now our enemies. The lesson this film should teach us now, albeit inadvertently, is that we should be careful who we glorify and who we vilify. Humans will be humans, and will fight for what they *believe* is right, sometimes whether it actually is right or not.
83 out of 95 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
JUSTICE?: RAMBO makes Millions, THE BEAST, $160,000...
seashellz3 September 2001
Allegedly came out during a change of administration at COLUMBIA, and they knew not what to do with it, and at a time when the 'blockbuster' mentality was starting to become the norm, THE BEAST may have played in what, five cities for a week or two.....they say the most valuable gems can be the hardest to find...and THE BEAST is no exception to that maxim...

This is as close to a 'foreign film' out of Hollywood as you are going to get...the story brings the conflict between people forward, and makes the action incidental-virtual guaranteed bankruptcy for a US film today.

And as for the actors speaking English-I think the producers realised they were close enough to no profit by having one language being subtitled as it was-the whole film being subtitled would have seen no financing at all, probably.-That just doesnt fly in H-town....'art-house' kiss of death... However...

The acting is first rate. The story is lean, and to the point. The scenery is stark and beautiful-well, IMHO.... There is little pandering to the audience, and little Cultural Condescension that I can see-

The viewer soon becomes loyal to the Mujahadeem Rebels, not because they are against the Ruskies, but because they have the will and the right to exist as they are, not to be dictated to by a 'higher' invading power...

Thought it suffers a bit from low budget, I would rate THE BEAST up with FULL METAL JACKET, PLATOON, DAS BOOT, and APOCALYPSE NOW... an EIGHT out of TEN stars... dont rent this-OWN it!
105 out of 125 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Lawrence of Arabia, Platoon and Das Boot combined.
vdmoolen1 January 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this movie when I did my tour of duty in the Dutch Army, as a loader on a main battle tank. There aren't really much movies played in a tank, but this one is and pretty realistic (other than Rambo where he drives, en shoots with a tank = impossible). The claustrophobic effect is nice portrayed like the u-boat movie Das Boot.

But this movie is more than another war-movie, it has more levels. The differences of opinion between two men in a tank crew shows parallels with Platoon. The country loyal, but ruthless Russian commander is like the Barnes character of Platoon. And the Elias side, the more human character is played by the tank driver, probably the most intelligent person on the tank, who despises the cruel decisions of the tank commander and questions the motive of the Russian government, and the stress and tension in the tank rises to boiling point, not helped by the constant thread of the Afghan mujahedin.

Eventually the driver gets more and more respect for the mujahedin. Like a kind of happens in Lawrence of Arabia or Dances with Wolves. This Afghan warriors are hopelessly out gunned, with only horses and old guns, it's really David against Goliath. This group (with it's leader surprisingly played by Scarface's sidekick Steve Bauer) is also divided, as one part are only interested in money and equipment.

Excellent and underrated war-movie, I suspect the title is not chosen wisely.
34 out of 39 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Compelling and absorbing depiction of human struggles...
xtropical19 February 2002
A very enjoyable film! Reynolds captures the essence of man's struggle with right & wrong, good & evil, on several levels in this realistic depiction of the Soviet-Afghan conflict. It was both meaningful and entertaining. I gave it an 8.

The internal conflicts of the characters reflect the many ways that people reconcile and deal with their emotions and beliefs vis-à-vis the roles thrust upon them by war and duty- the soldier, the faithful, the victim, the oppressor, the revenge-seeker and the order-follower. Each main character struggles at some point with his or her decisions in the face of right and wrong, duty and morality. It is the results of these choices that guide the film to transcend the events of war, and delve into the universal questions of how and why man struggles with real and painful choices.

Although the film does prove to be quite predictable, the underlying messages are timeless and well depicted. A moving story with good character development artistically filmed and approached realistically. The brutality and violence of war is not gratuitous, and the anti-war message is delivered superbly.

I highly recommend this film to all audiences... not just war-film buffs. With the US presence in Afghanistan today, the film should serve to help understand that conflict and this one in regards to the human components that are so often overlooked.

A note regarding other user's comments: The film was subtitled. It seems that some saw it without the subtitles for some reason. If you are one of those people, you really must view it with them. Rent it. I cannot imagine truly understanding the full scope of the film without the benefit of the Afghan dialog. Also, the "Americanization" of the soviet dialog not only serves to draw parallels between that conflict and the Vietnam War, but it universalizes the struggles of war and allows the viewer to empathize on a human level- not just a political one. In our long human history, how often have these basic human conflicts occurred... particularly in times of war and oppression and injustice?
45 out of 53 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Moby Dick, with Ahab in the whale...
hagerp20 November 2000
This neglected and largely unknown anti-war film, ranks as one of the best of the genre. Since other posters have commented extensively on this movie, I'll limit myself to a few comments about those elements others have not addressed.

In it my understanding from material I read at the time the movie was in release (I saw it in Los Angeles when I was living there in the late 80s) that the actors who portrayed Afghanis learned and delivered their lines phonetically. The fact that the "Russians" sound like Americans, and the Afghans are speaking the language without subtitles is a brilliant dramatic device. Virtually no one is going to understand what the Afghanis are actually saying, but it is possible to get the gist from the context and from body language. This has the effect of alienating the viewer from the freedom fighters and making them tend to identify with the Russian tank crew. The movie then operates subversively against this natural tendency throughout the remainder of the story.

The hunting of the tank by the Mujahadeen has an almost mythic quality, except for the fact that the T-62 is real and it has a human crew. And leading that crew is the tank commander whose entire life was shaped by his experiences in "The Great Patriotic War" against the Nazis when, as an 8-year-old, he was used by Russian troops in Stalingrad to help kill German tanks. The commander is as monomaniacal as Ahab, but instead of pursuing the whale, he is it's animating spirit.

There are a lot of layers to this movie -- it will definitely repay repeat viewings.
60 out of 74 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
A truly great war film
chvylvr803 March 2002
This film is as I said one of the greatest war films ever made. It is also the only one that I am aware of that focuses on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. A serviceable plot makes it easier for the tank crew to turn out some great performances. Stephen Baldwin is even tolerable in this one and this is the only role to date where he shouldn't be killed for his decision to act. Don Harvey is a unsung star as the brake fluid swigging Kaminski and Jason Patric turns in a good perfomance as Koverchenko, the moral driver torn between being a good soldier and obeying his instincts. This also qualifies as the best tank movie ever made and the T-62 tank that is featured is the real star of the show. I think that the Soviets were using T-72 tanks in this particular conflict but I'm just being a little anal. Overall, this is one of my top ten and I think that any war movie fan should check this one out.
35 out of 42 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
One Of History's Unsung Greatest Movies
bobbyp196621 October 2005
My son found this movie, by serendipitous accident, in the $5.50 bin at Wal*Mart in vast abundance; Since viewing it, I've bought ten copies and given them to friends as gifts; Nine out of ten found it 'WOW!', and one 'really liked it'. It is simply that good.

Kevin Reynolds, along with the cast he 'enlisted' for this movie, has done what very few others in Hollywood have: Glued their viewer's butts firmly to their seats. In spite of trivial critique fielded, the movie is nonetheless a riveting, tachycardia-inspiring, sweat-inducing commentary of the inhumanities of war and the torment it invokes upon all involved. Dzundza, Patric and Bauer, although lesser-known among the 'gods' of Hollywood and together with a cast of very capable unknowns, have conspired to make a high-calibre testament to the evil of war and the resiliency of life and spirit in war's midst.

Others may fault the movie as they will: Soviet tankers with American accents, incorrect tank, inaccurate terminology, made in Israel, et al; The plot outshines all that. There is nothing thin about it. Consequently, I cannot recommend this film enough. You will not be sorry if you decide to buy this DVD; However, if you like the soundtrack (Tastefully done by Mark Isham), good luck finding it in CD, especially new. It's been long out of print and very rare, commanding prices often over $100, mint (I got mine for $50, luckily! Check eBay, keywords: 'beast isham soundtrack'). "The Beast" (Titled "The Beast Of War" overseas) is a MUST for any collection!

(EDIT) fairviewed's review comment of Osama bin Ladin being trained by the US is unfounded and purely conjecture. There is no evidence to support the claim, and should thus be regarded as urban legend.
39 out of 48 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A great little film nobody knows about!
TOMASBBloodhound4 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
That a film as good as The Beast of War is so unknown to the masses is nothing short of criminal. The film is tragic, exciting, suspenseful, and intelligent. From detailed depictions of the Soviet military to the rare glimpse inside the Afghan social structure, this film takes the viewer to places that few films have ever dared to venture. The film is compelling on many levels, and it will stick with you for a long time after you see it.

The film centers around a five-man Soviet tank crew hopelessly lost in Afghanistan after taking part in a vicious raid on a tiny village. The survivors of the village vow to chase this tank to the edge of the earth in order to achieve "badal", which is a fancy word for revenge. Steven Bauer (of Scarface fame) plays their young leader. The tank crew is led by a hard-nosed commander who would seemingly trade the lives of his crew for the safety of his tank. He's played by a slimmed-down George Dzundza who you may recognize, but not be able to name the other films he's been in. (Deer Hunter, No Mercy are a couple of them.) Also on board is an idealistic young driver played by Jason Patric. He and the commander are at odds from the very beginning, and that conflict takes a turn you would never guess at the film's outset.

The tank crew and those in pursuit have numerous skirmishes as the film plays out. The film is so well-crafted that the viewer can emphasize with whatever characters are in the camera lens. We know the Soviets are pigs for the way they have behaved during their invasion, but it's amazing to see what the commander will come up with next to keep the tank running fast enough to keep them just ahead of the rebels who are hot on their tail. Scene after scene punctuates the tragic human cost of such an invasion, and the devastated lives left in its wake.

The film is extraordinarily violent. Director Kevin Reynolds leaves nothing to the imagination regarding the brutality of the Soviet invaders, and the destruction that their weapons have brought to Afghanistan. The film is technically astounding in many respects. Filmed in Israel, the vast desert landscape is a beautiful but desperate backdrop for a film about the savagery of military conflict. I'll bet you won't be able to get some of the violent images out of your head for days after seeing this film. Nor will you be unable to imagine yourself in the shoes of the tank crew completely cut off from help and at the mercy of a merciless commander and an unforgiving desert.

George Dzundza walks away with the film from an acting perspective. How about his line regarding their standing orders once the tank has been disabled by the rebels? As he passes out grenades to the remaining crew members he utters the unforgettable dogma: "Out of commission, become a pillbox; out of ammo, become a bunker: out of time, become heroes...."

See this film. 9 of 10 stars.

The Hound.
20 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Watch this movie
Haplo-424 February 1999
This is one of the best war-movies I have ever seen. Even if it hasn't a lot of action in it, it is still very intense. I think that the director has managed superbly to illustrate the torments of war, especially how it was - and still is - to be a member of a tank-crew on a mission in a foreign coutry. All the actors are doing a fine job and the place for shooting this movie is well chosen. And I must say that I especially appreciate the camera-movements along the tank that makes one understand the power that they contain.
24 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Shouldn't be missed
Irish-Sunglasses16 December 1998
I just caught this movie last night...I'd never even heard of it before, but I happened across it at Blockbuster. I'm a fan of realistic war movies anyway, but I also liked the fact that Kevin Reynolds directed it. He also did the wonderful Rapa Nui. I have to say this is one of the most gripping films I have seen, and the first I have seen about the Soviet-Afghan war. Great performances by George Dzundza, Jason Patric, and Steven Bauer, who many may remember as Manny Ray from Scarface as the Afghan leader. Definitely worth catching.
18 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
The Soviets Lost In Afghanistan
sddavis634 January 2009
The only movie that I am aware of that deals explicitly with the Soviet war in Afghanistan, "The Beast" is also a fascinating example of an American made war movie that features absolutely no American characters. The conflict here is totally between a group of local Afghan mujahideen and the crew of a lost Soviet tank struggling to find their way out of a valley in which they're trapped. (The image of the lost tank may well be a symbolic representation of the wider war - the Soviet Union being hopelessly lost in Afghanistan.) The movie features a fairly graphic portrayal of the horrors of the battle from the point of view of both sides, as well as of the growing weariness of the Soviets, who - with the exception of their gung-ho and somewhat insane commander - want nothing more than to get out of this country as fast as possible. The mood of the movie is complemented perfectly by the starkness of the desert landscape. Opening with an example of an atrocity by the tank crew against the inhabitants of a small Afghan village, the movie follows the mujahideen as they seek revenge against their invaders.

The performances in this movie were absolutely first-rate, headed by a fantastic piece of work by George Dzundza as the insane commander Daskal, who willingly kills his own men if he takes a dislike to them and who refuses a chance to escape via a Soviet helicopter that chances upon the lost crew, choosing instead to get out with his tank and his crew. Jason Patric was equally good as Koverchenko, a member of the tank crew who finally turns against Daskal, and eventually finds himself aligned with the mujahideen in a quest for his own personal revenge against Daskal.

The Russians in this movie speak English (thankfully without fake accents) while the Afghans speak whatever their particular native language is with subtitles, which suggests to me that the Russians (and how they respond to their increasingly hopeless situation) are the focal point of the movie. I approach this type of movie with a bit of a grain of salt. American movies that depicted the Soviet Union in the 1980's tended to be a little bit over the top in their portrayal of the Soviet Union as Ronald Reagan's "evil empire." Still, there's no doubt that the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was a rather brutal affair, and this seemed a not unreasonable depiction of it. Truly one of the better war movies I've ever seen. 9/10
15 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
As movie it was great and meaningful even going factually totally wrong
gmalnieks4 February 2008
Well, I think I got the point what was meant, but it shall be clear that it has nothing to do with portraying Afgan-Soviet conflict. This movie try to deal with a nature of war as it self and does it to my mind pretty good.

Well, these guys in a tank were not Russians in any manner. Maybe it is possible that some smarts is questioning his comrades towards enemies, but it's hard to consider it in USSR troops. Comradeship is a holy thing for them, holier then bible, so there is no way they could abandon one of them even when it would be an order (even if commander would gone insane to order such an action, crew would probably beat the sheet out of him rather then obey). My uncle served in action in Afganistan for soviets as commando. Although he isn't Russian and had little respect (as most Latvians) to soviets, he's never disrespected his army fellows or combating officers.

Starting action was pretty made up as well, as for village blowing purposes soviets would use choppers not tanks. Tanks was used in protecting roads and securing routes. Operatons was mainly carried out by solders and armored vehicles - BTR's. Tanks could be used as support, but there is no way massive tank attack would be enforced without commandos on foot or vehicles guarding them as it was shown (well, armament has always been a virtue for soviet commanders not soldiers).

But as I already said, in general this movie is totally worth to see.
15 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A well crafted and beautifully stylized film with a great story slightly marred by some unlikely elements
marxsarx13 March 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I found this movie on DVD for five dollars in the bargain bin at Walmart and thought it looked interesting. "The Beast" is the DVD title, but this movie is also known as "The Beast of War." This film revolves around the story of five Russians whose tank is separated from the others when the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan in 1981. The commander of the tank is a cruel and ruthless man played by George Dzunda. ************Possible Spoilers Ahead*************************** Jason Patric portrays a tank man who begins to despise the cruelty of his commander and question the purpose of the invasion. The commander shoots one of the men in the back and claims he was a traitor. There is infighting and even hatred amongst the four remaining men on the tank. The men need to get their tank through a pass to escape Afghanistan and get back to the safety of Russia. The tension mounts as the Afghans close in on them with the intent of destroying the Soviet tank. The contempt the 'tank men' have for each other intensifies and betrayal and death ensue.********* I was pleasantly surprised by "The Beast" It is first rate entertainment. However, please be forewarned that it does have a couple of scenes which are not for the squeamish and the cruelty which the Russians display when they invade an Afghan village in the opening scenes are tough to watch. On the other hand, the photography is breathtaking and I was vividly transported to the rugged terrain of Afghanistan while watching this film. I don't know how else to describe the camera work on this film other than liquid and silky smooth. It stood out so much that I must comment on the skill of it. The acting was almost uniformly great, with perhpas one exception of Stephen Baldwin which was just ok. George Dzundza, Jason Patric and Steven Bauer each had full command of their characters and made them believable, with Dzundza and Patric being the standouts. You should be aware, however, that the likelihood of this story occurring exactly as it was told, especially some of the dialogue between the tank men and the basically liberal American reasoning of Patric's character seem extremely unlikely. Nonetheless, the story is well crafted and drew me effortlessly into it. This film is well worth watching. I rate it 86/100 points.
8 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An interesting and thoughtful anti-war film
sick_boy420xxx26 April 2001
Warning: Spoilers
In my opinion, one of the top war films ever made, right up there with DAS BOOT and MEMPHIS BELLE. The story follows a Russian tank and its crew figting in Afghanistan during the Russian invasion. The tank commander is a ruthless, war-hungry man who cares more about the tank than the men working it. A vengeful group of Afghanis follows the tank after it destroyed an Afghan village. Eventually the driver ends up being left for dead in the desert...and joins the rebels himself. Top of the line acting, location shooting and good script bring this film to life, and make it one of the most powerful anti-war films out there. Catch it if you can. Highly Recommended.
9 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Suspense, irony, and drama about people at war
=G=3 April 2002
"The Beast" (a tank) tells the saga of a band of Afghan warriors in foot pursuit of a crippled Russian tank across Afghan desert. The film, a drama with some action and no large scale battles, manages to whet the interest, build suspense, deliver some wartime ironies, and provide slivers of insight into what war in Afghanistan must be like - something much more relevant today than during the Russian occupation. An interesting film which doesn't take sides most likely to be appreciated by guys into war dramas.
16 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
Nonsensical propaganda, with some redeeming qualities
victorboston17 February 2006
Unrealistic in the extreme. A tank in a modern army, possessed of satellite communication, being chased through the desert and that army seemingly pretending it didn't exist.

The acting it must be said, is not bad, and the hero receives some real character development. The point of the movie is also compelling enough - war is evil.

The film's insistence on demonizing the Soviets and employing them as a force of pure evil makes this a rather bad source of information on Afghanistan.

A well made piece of Cold-War trash in my opinion. Watch it if you like, but get your history somewhere else.
14 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Shaken and stirred
tieman6411 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
"Systems exist so we never meet each other." - Mr. Lif

This is a review of "Rambo 3", "The Living Daylights" and "The Beast", three action movies from the late 1980s, now interesting for the way in which they toe the Pentagon line regarding Afghanistan's Mujahideen.

The best of the three films, "Rambo 3" stars Sylvester Stallone as a Vietnam veteran who lives in a monastery, looks depressed, pumps iron and wears a mullet. Though now a pacifist, Rambo nevertheless returns for "one last job". His old Colonel has been kidnapped by evil Soviets forces and is being imprisoned in a super cool looking military base deep within the heart of Afghanistan. Rambo's mission? Get in, kick ass, get out. As he's essentially a giant walking penis, Rambo severely overcompensates. Not only does he rescue his buddy, but he kicks Russia out of Afghanistan, rallies a band of friendly Mujahideen freedom fighters, teaches locals to love Westerners and schools us all in the evils of communism. The film ends with a title card praising the brave heroes of the Mujahideen.

"The Living Daylights" tells the same tale, though here our hero is British Secret Agent James Bond (Timothy Dalton). Less homo-erotic than Stallone's film, but equally patriotic, "Daylights" opens with various totems of Britannia - the Rock of Gibraltar, Union Jacks, Harrier jets - before nosediving into a plot about defecting Russians, Afghan opium and evil commies. Once again the film ends with Mujahideen on horseback charging valiantly toward Soviet Forces. The Empires of the West – and their lovable henchmen, Bond and Rambo - love underdog freedom fighters, see.

Less cartoonish but more fascist, "The Beast" revolves around a Soviet tank crew. They rape and pillage Afghan villages, blow up mosques, their racist, tyrannical leader is shown to hate even pro-communist Afghan allies, and our hero is an enlightened Russian who defects and joins forces with the Mujahideen to once again, like Rambo, charge headlong into Soviet tanks and helicopters.

In all these films, the Mujahideen are portrayed as civilised, well educated freedom fighters pitted against remorseless, uncouth Soviet monsters. What's hilarious is that as soon as the Soviet Union collapses, cinema immediately starts portraying the Mujahideen as villains; they're now of no use. They're US public enemy number 1.

In 1893 Russia recognised British "ownership" of Afghanistan. When Britain exited India and its Empire collapsed, Russia moved tentatively in. A communist party was set up and the country's old kings and monarchs kicked out. Major reforms then began taking place - modernisation, a secular government, women's rights, large scale land reforms, public education etc – which were all initially accepted. Some thought communism wouldn't work in a country as conservative and traditional as Afghanistan, but of course Soviet styled communism turned out to be but a form of industrial feudalism with elements of Russian nationalistic tribalism. Afghans supported these changes. Problems quickly began occurring, though. Afghanistan's filled with diverse tribal groups, and cracks began to appear, both inside the communist party – different factions vying for control – and outside, religious and tribal leaders opposing the rapid social changes. As extreme reforms were being carried out in VERY short periods of time with NO concern for Afghan culture, small protests began. Islamist rebels who wanted to restore an older, more traditional Islamic order, were the most vocal. Aided, armed, funded and led by the West, they staged bloody clashes with the pro communist government. This went on for a number of months. Eventually Western backing for these rebels escalated to such an extent that the local government was forced to call for Russian support. Soviet troops arrive, which the West spins as an "invasion". Cue Western propaganda: here was an evil Soviet invasion being held back by lovable rebels. The truth was almost the complete opposite. Afghanistan was a Soviet ally dealing with CIA-backed Islamist radicals trying to topple the capital of Kabul. Later, US defence secretary Robert Gates would say: "We mean to suck the Soviets into a Vietnamese-styled quagmire." And Zbigniew Brzezinski: "We knowingly increased the probability of their intervention with the aim of drawing the Soviets into the Afghan trap. The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, 'We now have the opportunity of giving to the Soviet Union its Vietnam War.'"

For several years the West arms the Mujahideen and uses them to fight a proxy war against the Soviets. Recognising this all as a giant waste of time, the Soviets eventually pull out. The West, meanwhile, continues arming rebels and jihadists. The Mujahideen, essentially religious fanatics, violent gangs and conservative psychos, then begin fighting for control of the country, echoing, of course, the current "engineered destabilisation" of places like Somalia, Iraq, Syria and Libya. The Taliban/Mujahideen then take over Afgahnistan and rule from roughly 1995 to 2001. When they refuse oil and mineral rights to the US in the late 90s, a campaign begins in the West to turn them into "our enemies". From here on the Taliban are blamed for 9/11, linked with al-Qaeda, women's rights abuses and "crazy Islamic Laws", none of which were previously deemed a problem until the Taliban began courting Argentinian gas companies over the Unocal-CentGas consortium (ie Bush and Cheney). In response, Unocal appears before the US Congress and demands the removal of the Taliban regime. Days later the Taliban are issued an ultimatum: take our offer or we drop the bombs. Months later all US-held Taliban assets are seized, embargoes and bans are put in place and the country is invaded by a Western Alliance. In other words, it was only when absolute control of local resources was challenged that the Taliban regime, played like a puppet for over half a century, was openly discredited.

4/10 - Worth no viewings.
9 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
1980's U.S. propaganda - pure and simple.
kitmccaughey27 February 2014
I have watched this film several times over the years but as world events have evolved, it seems to have had fewer and fewer airings.

Maybe that's because there is no further way to 'polish a turd'.

My apologies to all of those involved but this is a reprehensible piece of US film-making.

When this film was produced, the Berlin Wall had just come down but the Soviet Union still existed and still posed a severe threat to the US.

However, no-one should delude themselves - this is simply a white hat/black hat/good guy/bad guy re-hash of what Hollywood has been doing for decades.

Only in this film, the Soviets are the bad guys and the 'Mujihadeen' are the good guys.

Then, having ousted the Soviet regime, the Mujihadeen (see the word 'jihad' in there) seized control of Afghanistan and transformed into... the 'Taliban'.
12 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Profound And Obscure Anti-War Film
Theo Robertson22 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Columbia Pictures does deserve some credit for producing this . A Red Army tank crew versus mujahedeen in Afghanistan which wasn't a common story idea in 1980s Hollywood . This was a period where Chuck , Sly and Arnie were slaughtering commies in their millions and the world was holding their breath that it wasn't giving the US President ideas . There was also another type of film prolific in those days and that was the Vietnam ( Anti ) War Film . I guess by that time Columbia were aware of the market being saturated by GIs fighting against the Vietnamese and each other so decided to do something a little different with an anti war film

Make no mistake THE BEAST is an anti-war film which points out the absurdity of conflict . It's important to remember this otherwise you'll be confused and see it as an entirely implausible story . Some things might seem ridiculous such as the Soviet " good guy " being welcomed in to the fold of the mujahedeen or the tank commander turning down the chance of a helicopter ride home but that's the whole point of the subtext - it's a profound statement on the absurdity of man vs man no matter where it's set or when it's set
10 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Tight, well paced war movie
Nathan-439 June 2000
When you can get used to the Soviet soldiers having American accents, this is an excellent war movie, with some great camera-work and editing, some nice twists and turns and, and I'm not sure if this was just me, a subtle vein of black comedy. Makes you realise how awesome tanks are.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
Prepare your self, this is a dumb one
goobikza5 June 2003
You're not alone if you end up wondering 'Just how far can a Russian tank go on one tank of gas?' Apparently it can go for at least 2 straight days. Typical Hollywood treatment of a ruthlessly committed military war-hawk, very few, if any, of which exist in real life, and the noble private who questions the mission and the method of war. Moments of comedy exist, I couldn't get enough of the Afghan rebel discussing with the exiled Russian tank driver whether or not the RPG they captured would 'kaboom tank', or the women villagers chasing the tank around the desert, presumably to throw rocks at it. If you want quality anti-war movies, this is not the one for you. This one is not quite as gung ho as Rambo III at portraying the noble Afghans against the evil Bear, but it is in the same vein. Stick with Platoon, Das Boot, or even A Midnight Clear.
12 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Overlooked work of genius
nicolasmarinus16 August 2008
The good:

Beautiful desert scenery, photography that really stands out, emotional soundtrack (though dated at times), powerful acting, great storyline and convincing character development

The bad:

Nothing worth mentioning!

I can only speculate why this movie isn't recognised up there with Apocalypse Now and Platoon. Maybe the American audience wasn't interested in the topic in 1988, maybe it's because of poor marketing by Columbia (Seashellz talks about a period of transition there). Whatever the reason, it's a damn shame, because this marvel deserves more.
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
certainly not the best, but it was sort of unique
Yonhap S25 February 2000
The Beast of War is not the best war film I've seen. But the fact that it's set during the Soviet occupation in Afghanistan and its David vs Goliath battle is what pleased me. The only other movie I know set during the Afghan conflict is the far more jingoistic Rambo III. The story as it goes on is rather predictable. Predictability in films or books is not what displeases audience anyway. What I enjoyed was that battle between a tank and a handful of fighters.

The verdict: 3 of 5 stars.
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A deeply underrated war movie...
zimchar21 November 2007
In my opinion, The Beast Of War is one of the, best, most uquie war movies out there, the rarest of the rare. I think what makes it so unique is that not only is it told from the stand point of the tankers but also from the "enemy", The Patswani. That too shows that there is good and evil, selfess and greedy, on both sides. The cast, and the tank, perform beautifully, giving it a gut wrenching feel that grips you hard and keeps you on the edge of your seat! The movie shows the tank's strenghs, as well as it's weaknesses. In my opinion, Daskal is the true beast,Goliath , not the tank itself. Putting it in other term's Daskal is the mad master and the tank is the brain-less blaster. I really don't know any other way to put it to words, just watch the movie ands view for yourself, you'll be quite surprised!
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
If you see only one movie about Russians and Tanks and Afghanistan this year, SEE THIS!
bigbastardnic12 July 2005
Bargain Bin GOLDMINE. I couldn't' believe this was sitting in a bin at Walmart!? Everyone should own this DVD. There's action, the characters all have depth, and its got some pretty grizzly and believable detail (appropriate gore and exploding stuff) There is not a single part of this movie I don't like. The war and the action is in my opinion, just a backdrop to the fantastic character development that goes on.

And an added rare bonus, its a war movie that doesn't involve ANY Americans! Despite the low costs, I think the production quality is amazing. I assumed it was made in the late 90's just by the look of it, but it was made in 88?! Go and get this movie!
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed