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The Beast

By Doug Thomas

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.

 

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Kevin Reynolds

Stars: George Dzundza, Jason Patric, Stephen Baldwin

Released: September 18, 1988

Availability: DVD VHS


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