The Fourth War(1990)
Submitted by Anonymous
Elena is actually a spy working with Colonel Valachev. She lures Colonel Knowles over the border again so Valachev can kill him. Knowles and Valachev get in a fight in the neutral ground at the West Germany-Czechoslovakia border. With American and Soviet troops ready to shoot at each other, both Colonels realize what is happening and stop fighting.
Set in West Germany in the Fall of 1988, Colonel Jack Knowles (Roy Scheider) is the new commander of Camp Clayton, a US military installation near the border of Czechoslovakia. Col. Knowles, a veteran of the Vietnam War, is a no-nonsense soldier who is always looking for a fight, but he was assigned to Camp Clayton so he can stay out of trouble. While checking out the border with his XO Lt. Colonel Clark (Tim Reid) and some troops, they witness a Czech attempting to defect to West Germany. He is being chased by several Czech troops, who shoot and kill the defector just a few yards from the border. Their Soviet commander, Colonel Valachev (Jurgen Prochnow), scolds his troops for firing near the Americans, and Colonel Knowles wants to shoot back, but Lt. Col. Clark stops him. So instead Knowles throws a snowball at Valachev, who throws one back at him. Knowles’ actions quickly get the attention of his superior, General Hackworth (Harry Dean Stanton). He warns Knowles that, in this era of Glasnost, he can’t be picking a fight with the Soviets, so knock it off or that’ll be the end of his career. Knowles then returns to the base and confronts Clark, who sent the report to General Hackworth. Clark tells Knowles that he reported him because he was ordered by the General to watch him.
That night, a drunken Knowles, who is celebrating his birthday alone, decides to leave the base and goes back to the border. Armed with a rifle, he crosses the border and approaches a lookout tower. He purposely trips a wire, causing a 3-man patrol to show up to investigate. Knowles surprises the three young soldiers and easily disarms them. He then pulls out party hats and makes them wear them and sing Happy Birthday. Then he pulls out a grenade and throws it over their heads. After it explodes, the three Soviet soldiers see that Knowles has disappeared. The next morning, the three report what happened to Col. Valachev. That same day, Knowles takes a Jeep and returns to the border. Just as he gets out of it, a rocket-propelled grenade hits the Jeep and blows it up. Knowles walks back to the base, only to find out Clark put out an alert to look for him after a patrol found the burned out Jeep, and he also reported it to General Hackworth. Knowles tells him it wasn’t necessary, since the Jeep caught fire.
That night, Knowles once again crosses the border and approaches the lookout tower. But this time he blows it up, and he is chased back to the border by both Czech and Soviet troops. As the sun rises, Knowles is about to cross back into West Germany when he sees another defector. He catches her and helps her cross while they are being shot at by Valachev himself. After they get away, Valachev returns to his base and orders the border reinforced with barbed wire and landmines. In town, Knowles learns the defector, whose name is Elena (Lara Harris), is actually trying to go into Czechoslovakia because her daughter is still there. Knowles says he can’t help her, but gives her his personal phone number in case she needs anything. Knowles then returns to Camp Clayton, only to find General Hackworth waiting there for him. He tells Knowles that he knows that the Jeep didn’t catch fire, it was destroyed by an RPG, and only the Soviets use those. He also tells Knowles that the commander on the other side, Valachev, is just like him, a soldier who fought in an unpopular war (in Valachev’s case, Afghanistan) and loves to look for a fight, and he won’t allow them to start World War III because of their pissing match. The general tells Knowles to stop it, or he will be court-martialed and possibly imprisoned.
Later that day, Knowles gets a call from Elena, asking to meet at a nearby tavern. He arrives and meets her, and once again he tells her he can’t help her cross into Czechoslovakia. When he tries to leave, he sees Colonel Valachev waiting for him. He tells Knowles that he knows everything about him, and that he has been crossing the border illegally. Do it again, and Valachev will kill him personally. He also humiliates Elena by making her clean his boots with her clothes, and call her Knowles’ Czech whore. Now angry at Valachev, Knowles agrees to help Elena cross the border. They make it past the wire and mines and travel deep into Czech territory. Meanwhile, Clark and others at the base, aware of what happened at the tavern, begin to search for Col. Knowles. He also notifies General Hackworth what has happened. The next day, Knowles and Elena make it to the town where Elena’s daughter is. She goes to get her at the local ice rink, but Valachev is already there waiting for her. She tells him that Knowles is with her and he believed everything. Elena is actually a spy, and she was using Knowles to get him to cross the border again so Valachev could kill him. However, Knowles gets the drop on both of them. He knew she was in on it when Valachev called her his Czech whore. How could he know where she was from? While this is happening, Clark is meeting with Hackworth, and the general tells the Lt. Colonel that Knowles’ career is over, and now-Colonel Clark will be the new commander of Camp Clayton. But first, they need to clean up Knowles’ mess before it starts a war.
Knowles has Valachev and Elena in a car driving back to the border. After breaking through a checkpoint, the car crashes. Knowles gets out of the car and runs into the forest, with Valachev in pursuit and an injured Elena stays behind. Valachev catches up to Knowles near the border and they fight it out, using rocks and tree branches as weapons. As they fight in the neutral ground between West Germany and Czechoslovakia, American and Soviet troops are lined up on their respective sides of the border. With the two sides ready to begin shooting at each other, both Knowles and Valachev realize what is happening and immediately stop fighting. The movie ends with the two colonels looking at each other while General Hackworth, in a voiceover at Colonel Knowles’ court-martial, says that Albert Einstein was once asked what weapons would be used in WWIII. He answered that he didn’t know, but the weapons used in the fourth war would be sticks and stones.