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Last month while flipping through TV channels late at night, I decided to watch an older movie that turned out to be pretty darned good. It’s called “The Beast”, made in 1988. (Do not confuse this movie with a similar title made-for-TV featuring a rampaging squid that terrorizes a New England fishing community!) THIS version of “The Beast” (also know as “The Beast of War”) is about a Russian tank and its crew who — after decimating an Afghan village in a rather gruesome attack during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan — escape into the surrounding dessert. The tank makes a wrong turn however, ultimately trapping the crew in a rambling dead-end canyon.
Hold on to your hats. The tale unfolds quickly as a band of vengeful Afghan rebels begin to play a deadly mongoose-and-cobra game with the wayward tank and its dwindling crew.
The tank’s psychotic commander is played by George Dzungza (TV’s 1990-1991 overweight “Detective Sergeant Max Greevey” in the first season of “Law & Order”). Dzungza’s performance goes beyond outstanding.
As I chomped popcorn and watched the tale develop, I could not help drawing wonderfully classical parallels to Hermann Melville’s infamous Captain Ahab character in “Moby Dick”, as well as the Philip Francis Queeg character played by Humphrey Bogart in “The Caine Mutiny”.
A must-see for serious movie enthusiasts. “The Beast” is not for children! Watch or rent this one if you get the chance.