White Tiger

White Tiger ★★★★

There's a Russian man who gets his tank blown up near the end of WWII. The tank that attacked his appeared out of nowhere and disappeared after wreaking havoc on the Russian forces. The man has burns on 90 percent of his body, and yet he survives. Thrives, even, healing all but a few scars in 3 days. He's sent back to the front lines, even though he's forgotten nearly everything except how to function and how to drive a tank. He's also developed a line of communication with what he calls the Tank God, and can talk to the tanks he drives. He is sent out on a mission to destroy the White Tiger, the ghost tank that attacked him at the beginning of the film. Things happen, and philosophy is discussed.

It is a Russian film, after all, and they like their allegories. This one's pretty strong, if all the talk of Tank Gods don't turn you off from the jump. Late in the film the characters higher up in the Russian army talk quite frankly about the things that our hero represents. He is the embodiment of war, they say, as he has forgotten all of his previous life and even his new name is forged in battle. He's the perfect war machine that just happens to be wearing a fleshy body. The White Tiger, too, serves some allegorical purposes. It is the fear the Germans instill in their enemies, and the ruthless efficiency of their forces made metal.

Oh, and the movie is about tanks, so there's some nicely made action scenes that turn typically boring tank battles into exciting combinations of cat and mouse and chess and explosions. It helps that we're talking about supernatural forces here so there's no much of the slow moving and aiming that normal tank matches would feature. The ruin porn is strong with this film as well; it's the end of the war and Russia is chasing the German forces back across the lands already destroyed by the latter's push into Russia. Some scenes were reminiscent of Paths of Glory's network of tunnels and trenches with crude wiring and commander's quarters set up in what only seems like luxury when compared to the absolute devastation they are surrounded by. Not everything in the film works perfectly, it's a little long and filled with a little too much repetition, but what does work is pretty fun and something new to see.