The Fourth War Review

Image for The Fourth War

Two trigger happy border commanders, with no war left to fight in, determine to fight against each other on the German-Czech border.


Egad, another cold war confrontation thriller! This one might have squeaked past its long-expired sell-by date on the grounds that it is an allegory, even a psychological drama about individuals not ideologies - but for one small thing. It's crap.

Roy Scheider plays Colonel Knowles, an unsympathetic, embittered Viet vet in charge of a US post on the West German border with Czechoslovakia. Jurgen Prochnow is his Soviet counterpart Valachev, an Afghan vet equally embittered. These two "disillusioned, pissed-off heroes" are longing for action, and in their need to square off engage in little boy games that escalate from snowball-throwing to mania and tanks at ten paces.

Things get even more absurd when a fishy Czech babe defects into Scheider's arms, and the resolution — with the world on the brink of war, of course — is just laughable. All concerned would seem to have taken leave of their senses.

Boring and Silly, Ronin is a better example of Frankenheimer's direction