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Watched yesterday, interesting plotline showing both sides of the war and the tank scenes were pretty good.
Mark T. (THEBLUEMAX) from ATOKA, TN Reviewed on 6/16/2011...
I really liked this War movie though I'm a huge War movie Buff. It has most everything you like in a war movie. Character building was excellent which always makes the story easier and more enjoyable to follow. Plenty of tension and cruelty in this lone tank adventure in the Middle East. Definitely worth the purchase!
5 of 5 member(s) found this review helpful.
Deidra C. (Deidra670) from GARRETT, KY Reviewed on 1/18/2011...
THE BEAST is an example of the utter waste of war. The lives that are lost and the insanity that drives some men to slaughter the innocent.
In the late 80's, a Russian tank is lost in the middle of Afghan terrority. Their only advantage, aside from the sheer bulk of the tank, is an Afghan interpreter. He provides a wealth of information and aids them in their destruction of an Afghan village.
Thus begins the animosity between the tank captain and a disillusioned driver. The war between the two explodes into violence when the captain murders the Afghan interpreter for no apparent reason than his own twisted satisfaction.
THE BEAST captures the hopelessness and the fear of the Russian soldiers. The bleak knowledge that anyone and anything can be used as an instrument of destruction. Blind and meaningless destruction that leaves no winners.
THE BEAST is a fine action filled movie that also asks a little more than most standard fare. THE BEAST asks you to think.
4 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Scott M. from BOSSIER CITY, LA Reviewed on 12/28/2008...
Great supenseful movie! It is both fullscreen and widescreen. If you like war movies with a twist. You will enjoy this movie. The director of Waterworld teams up with playwright William Mastrosimone for a story of a lost Russian tank during the Afghan war; doesn't sound like your normal action fare, does it? Despite its awkward origins, The Beast is a satisfying action yarn that unfortunately was never widely distributed. When Afghan rebels find the lone tank lost in the high desert, a cat-and-mouse chase commences with nail-biting, emotional precision. The Russian tank crew is also at war with themselves after the sympathetic driver (a stalwart Jason Patric) debates the brutal tactics of his commander (George Dzundza). This visceral action drama was adapted from--believe it or not--a stage play but keeps its feet firmly planted in the war-action genre. Director Kevin Reynolds's second film showcases his aggressive camera work that was featured later, less successfully, in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Made directly after the Afghan war, the film was hard to sell in the late 1980s. With the Russians speaking English (and the Afghans their native dialect), the viewer is uncomfortably bonded to the unpopular aggressors. Yet the film reverberates in the sweat and toil of battle, with Patric bringing a more dramatic flair to the role than comes from the usual set of cinematic action heroes. --Doug Thomas
3 of 7 member(s) found this review helpful.
Things have changed a lot since 1988.
Brent A. Anthonisen | Alpharetta, GA, USA | 09/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The political climate at the time of this film's release in 1988 made it impossible for it to obtain the distribution it deserved; the movie itself, taking place during the first full year of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, centers around a Soviet tank crew who are commanded by a miserable officer who is a veteran of the Old School...and the Old War (his details of his exploits as a child in Stalingrad against the Nazis are both chilling and exceptionally revealing). He has no regard for the lives of the people in whose country his armies are "guests" (the government in Kabul at the time was well- supported by Moscow), and he has neither regard for anything he perceives as weakness among his own troops, nor time to listen to anyone who would interfere with his command of them. This leads to the action that ultimately adds the twist of "Badal" (Islamic term for "revenge") as the tankers become lost in a box canyon and attempt to elude Mujahideen (Islamic freedom fighters) as they return to their column.
I know it's an insignificant and meaningless consequence to the actions of September 11, 2001 here in the United States...but I believe this movie should be reassessed and far more appreciated. The decision to allow the Soviets to speak not in the traditional thickly-accented English that can be expected from most intrigue movies, but instead with American dialects (any of these guys could have been extras in "A Bronx Tale") was inspired at the time, and it very effectively humanized an enemy that we in America had been indoctrinated to believe were "an Evil Empire". And in truth, the first scene of the armored attack of an Afghan village pretty much supports this categorization...but as the movie runs its course, you start to wonder.
The Afghans, in contract, speak their native tongue (with subtitles). This is an incredible feat, particularly pulled off by Steven Bauer ("Manolo", from "Scarface") as the young Khan who inherits his position after his elders are killed during Soviet interrogation. The Afghans religiously see their obligation to destroy the Soviets as divine will, and are thoroughly merciless in their attempts to do so. A group that begin the movie as oppressed but gallant freedom fighters slowly reveal themselves to be little short of brigands, literally (at least in the case of their women) thirsty for the blood of their invaders.
Of course, today things are different. Today we as Americans are only beginning to understand the horror that the conflict in Afghanistan was (and continues to be). Today we as a country ask ourselves what we were thinking when we pledged our support to the Mujahideen that eventually begat the Taliban in an attempt to thwart an "Evil Empire" who, for some reason, wanted to control the most worthless patch of land on this planet.
Therefore, I say with great conviction: Watch this movie...and when you find yourself wondering if it's right to feel one way or the other for one side or the other, then you find yourself understanding a little more about what war really is."
A powerful glimpse into a misunderstood war
Dave | Tennessee United States | 03/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's not surprising that this controversial movie isn't that well-known, but after the tragedy of September 11, 2001, watching this movie is even more important. The movie begins with a devastating Soviet tank attack on a quiet village in Afghanistan, during which a rebel prisoner is shown being run over by one of the T-62 tanks (one of the most grusome scenes in the history of cinema!). After "mopping up" the pitiful resistance, one of the Soviet T-62 tanks becomes separated from the rest and in no time at all is lost in the brutal desert, where Afghani rebels led by Taj (Steven Bauer, in an incredible performance) stalk the tank with the goal of destroying "the beast".
The commander of the lost T-62 is Daskal (George Dzundza), a tyrant who's so psychotic he has one of his own tank crewman machine gunned for being "a traitor" (which he wasn't of course). The tank driver, Koverchenko (Jason Patric) can't stand Daskal's madness any longer, and when his insubordination to Daskal goes too far he is tied up and left to die alone in the desert. The Afghani rebels find Koverchenko and prepare to kill him, but he begs for mercy and his life is spared by Taj. Taj gives him the option of joining the rebels in their determined hunt of "the beast", and Koverchenko readily accepts. Taj and Koverchenko learn to trust one another as they close in on the tank (which is quickly running out of fuel) for the kill, leading to an explosive confrontation.
Despite the fact that Americans play Soviet tank crewmen and speak English, I found this movie very thought-provoking and gripping from beginning to end. The casting couldn't have been better and the performances are outstanding, as is the chilling atmospheric music by Mark Isham. The cinematography is simply stunning, and the battle scenes are very graphic and intense. It's too bad that the dvd is full-screen only and contains hardly any special features, because a great film like this certainly deserves a special edition dvd. Still, it's at least very inexpensive, and this is a movie that no war movie fan should be without!
"When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, and the women come out to cut up your remains, just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains, and go to your God like a soldier." -Rudyard Kipling"
A marvelously written, directed, and cast war/anti-war film.
Brent A. Anthonisen | 09/01/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Beast" is a uniquely stirring film combining brutal realism with a moving portrayal of the human foundation of war. Set in Afghanistan in 1981, the film follows a Soviet tank crew that participates in the vengeful destruction of an Afghan village then becomes lost in the high desert. Running parallel to the story of the Russians is that of the Afghans who have survived the slaughter of their town and set out to take revenge on the Soviets. The story is a beautifully terrible tapestry of the tangled web of war. The Soviets destroy the village in revenge for (presumed) attacks by Afghan rebels--with whom the villagers have a blood feud. The divided Afghans unite to take revenge. The five-man Soviet tank crew proves divided in character and in skills. All the tank crew scenes reflect a scripting and directing realism so effective you can smell the diesel and spent propellant. The plot is driven by very human decisions and interactions. The near-miraculous turns in plot are made believable through meticulous attention to characterization. Underlying the plot is the powerful religious theme of the good underdog triumphing over the evil giant, as exemplified by David's triumph over Goliath. "The Beast" is a true rare gem worth seeing a dozen times."
Excellent war film
Brent A. Anthonisen | 01/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw this film on late-night television in 1989, and waited ten years for another opportunity, when miraculously, I found it at a local video rental. Despite its price and availability to me for rent, I shall buy it to insure that I can see it again. It is one of the best war films known to me, tightly constructed, very well acted (Dzunda is outstanding), and visually superb. It does not rely on violence for its impact, but rather on the dramatic development of conflict (and of bonding) amongst the participants. Unlike one reviewer, I found the plot compelling, with mounting tension until the final dénouement. It explores the beast in man, not to mention the Afghan women (see the Kipling citation at the outset). I would not be without it."
A great war film
Aaron Woodin (email@example.com) | Westchester County, NY | 06/14/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Perhaps the most underappreciated film of the 80's, the Beast stands out as a solid war epic, with heart, action and beautiful imagery. Set during the Soviet Union's brutal war against Afghanistan, the Beast chronicles one tank's attempts to get back to friendly lines. The conscience of the tank crew is a young soldier played by Jason Patric. Increasingly put off by the atrocities against civilians that his hardened tank commander (wonderfully played by a rather lean George Dzundza!) has them all commit, he is forced out of the tank and left to die in the Afghan desert. While waiting to die, he is set upon by the rebels, who spare his life, and accept his aid in going after his comrades' tank! There was a lot to like about the Beast. Good acting all around. Fine attention to military detail. Suspenseful, well-done action scenes. Haunting score by Mark Isham. And amazing, razor-sharp cinematography by Douglas Milsome. The images of the desert are haunting and beautifully composed. END"