As World War II draws to a close, reports of an indestructible, ghostly-white Tiger tank spread amid the Soviet ranks. After barely surviving a battle with the almost-mythical beast, Red Army Sergeant Ivan Naydenov becomes obsessed with its destruction and returns to the battlefield inside a special T-34, determined to find and defeat the White Tiger.
AN AMAZON REVIEW:
This is NOT a historical drama. This is about the psychological effects of war. The White Tiger is a mystical killing machine that vanishes when it pleases and emerges when it is ready to cause havoc. It can drive into a swamp only to reemerge elsewhere. Even a captured German officer speaks of it in fear. We first meet our hero Ivan close to the beginning when Soviet mechanics are trying to tow out his wrecked tank. He is in the driver’s seat horribly burned (over 90% of his body). Of course, no one can survive that but Ivan is a miracle soldier. The startled mechanics send him off to a field hospital where jaded doctors know he cannot live but show mercy and treat him anyway. He miraculously heals without so much as a scar. Having amnesia, the Army gives him a new identity and puts him back into action. Ivan now has a mystical connection to tanks. He can talk to them. He also prays to the tank God, a golden T-34. And, he can feel the White Tiger, which he is determined to destroy. He eventually joins a select crew with a specially modified T-34-85 and the hunt is on. I won’t spoil the ending but I cannot imagine this movie being made in Hollywood. This is a thought provoking movie, not a pure action flick.
For history buffs, there are WWII era vehicles, some wrecked (Pz IVF2, Matilda, BT-7, T-34) and some not (a stationary M-3 Lee makes a couple of appearances and there are plenty of T-34’s, including some 76mm armed). The wrecks turn up quite often as props. I am not well versed in Soviet uniforms but they looked great as did the weapons, trucks and other equipment. The Tiger is, of course, a mock up. Judging from the forward position of the turret, I would guess that is a disguised T-34. Nevertheless, they did a good job with the exception of rather large side skirts with which no Tiger was ever equipped (clearly intended to hide the Soviet suspension, not to be accurate).
The after-battle scenes are as horrific as the battle scenes. When tanks explode, crewmen burn to death. There are scenes of horribly burned men hanging out of hatches or lying next to their burning tanks. It is graphic at times. There was a real effort to display the horrors and carnage of war. The soldiers in the field look like they have actually been in the field and have been working. They are dirty and greasy. No male super models here.
As a former tanker, the real joy of this film was watching the interior shots of the crew in action. T-34’s were cramped inside and had limited visibility. This movie makes that apparent. Whether watching the loader ram a round into the chamber or watch Ivan drive the tank, they did a great job making this movie. And it was nice to see that every round fired by a tank is not an automatic hit and kill. Although not a historical drama per se, I cannot think of a better tank movie. Review by Justin Bittick.