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TANK - 4 Slimes
Rated PG
Copyright 1984 A Lorimax / Universal Pictures
Reviewed by Michael Colander on 20 March 2008

The Characters:  

  • Sergeant Major Zack Carey - James Garner! Stereotypical butt-kicking military dad with a heart of gold, and his own personal Sherman Tank. Gets ticked off and decides to break his son out of jail.
  • LaDonna - Shirley Jones! She's Zack's wife and a handful, at that. She has a violent temper.
  • Billy - C. Thomas Howell! Zack's sixteen-year-old geeky son who gets framed for drug dealing.
  • Sarah - The prostitute. Not much else to say about her. She gets beaten for, uh, thinking the Lone Ranger is real...
  • Ed - Zack's best friend in the military and a black guy who keeps getting called "boy" by the evil Sheriff.
  • Sheriff Cyrus Buelton - Complete butt-wad, and a dense one, at that! He spends his time misunderstanding the Posse Comitatus Act as being a slam against him and thinking people are actually calling him a "pussy communist."
  • Deputy Euclid Baker - James Cromwell! He beats up the prostitute because he blames Zack Carey for ruining his pool game by singing (his reasoning is VERY hard to follow, so don't ask me why).

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Sergeant Major Zack Carey decides to move his son and wife to a new military base where he hopes to finish out his career with grace and honor. He becomes a bit of a celebrity right off the bat, because he's the only guy in the military who owns a working Sherman tank of his very own. This of course is partially what gets him in trouble.

One night he goes out into the town a couple blocks away from the base, and decides to eat dinner at a seedy-looking café. There he meets Sarah - a prostitute. While he doesn't want to have sex with her due to his being married, he finds no problem with just talking to her. He then decides to sing an old "seaman's song."

What he doesn't know is that only a few feet away is Deputy Baker, who is playing pool (and not very well, I might add). He screws up and loses the game and screams at Zack Carey for distracting him from the game with his singing. Zack apologizes and offers the Deputy a beer or money or both to make up for ruining the pool game. Deputy Baker refuses these "gifts" and instead slugs the prostitute as his revenge on Zack, and then he dares the Sergeant Major to a fight.

Instead, Zack says he will just leave and never come back, just to keep the peace. This doesn't work either. The deputy screams at him and then starts to beat the blazes outta the prostitute. This in turn finally ticks Zack Carey off enough that he knocks the deputy out cold and drops his gun in the nearest fish tank, and then leaves.

The next morning the Sheriff finds out the whole story and decides to get revenge by going over to Sarah's home, asking her if she believes in Wonder Woman and the Lone Ranger, and then beating her with his strap. He supposedly does this to show the whole town that it's not wise to test him, but then he keeps his abuse of Sarah a secret. The Sheriff also makes it obvious that he hates military men of all kinds. After that he then frames Billy on a drug charge and jails him.

He then blackmails Sergeant Major Zack Carey for ten thousand dollars if Carey wants his son out of jail with no trial.

Carey brings the ten thousand dollars to the department and gives Sheriff Buelton his ransom demand so that he can get his son back right away. The Sheriff then changes the deal and reveals that a quickie false trial has already been held and Billy has been found guilty and has been sent to a work farm that is filled with child molesters. In order to keep the boy safe Zack Carey will now have to pay the Sheriff ten thousand each year (you would think a place like this would be investigated).

Carey gets angry, gets in his Sherman tank, and goes into town. Finding out that the Sheriff is away on business he forces the deputy to release all the remaining prisoners and then strip naked while Sarah joins in on the "fun" by handcuffing the deputy to a pole. As this goes on, we get a camera shot reminiscent of the "praying in the nude" scene from the old Punisher movie, and this is NOT a pretty sight. If anything, it's a rather disturbing sight. Oh yes, I nearly forgot: on his way off base the MP's try to block the exit with two jeeps and then stand around "heroically" and order him to stop.

Now let me ask you: If you had a tank, would you stop simply because a bunch of MP's ordered you to do so?


In fact you would run right over their jeeps and keep on going.

Weirdly enough, soldier boy doesn't stop for the MP's, or crush their jeeps and keep on trucking. Instead, he turns and runs over the cyclone fence; in a slightly hilarious moment you can see the tank tread marks in the grass from previous takes. As if that wasn't dumb enough, the cops show they are even stupider than we thought last time by, and I am not kidding herea trying to stop the tank by shooting it with their rifles and pistols.

Yeah, that'll stop him.

The prostitute and the soldier then use the tank to break Billy out of jail, run over the police department, and blow up a car. The trio then head for the state border where they hope to get a fair trial. The good news is that the entire world sides with them. The bad news is that the evil sheriff, who likes to say "pussy communist," is after him with his evil police department and some evil drunk rednecks.

The best part of the film is at the end, when the tank gets stuck in a large mud pit and the Sheriff and his thugs do a tug-of-war with the people who have sided with Billy, his dad, and Sarah the prostitute. Yes, you read that right: a tug-of-war. One side attempts to tug the tank out of the mud while the villains are tugging to keep it in the mud. The sad thing is that they didn't even need to GO into the mud pit. Our heroes arrive at the mud pit and try to figure out their next move. While this is going on we get a wide shot of the mud pit, and a large area that would be perfect to drive through and keep going (and thus avoid the mud pit) is clearly visible.

This is one hilarious goofy movie and it has some great stuff in it that you won't want to miss.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • In the 1980's "Jesus" was the equivalent of the F word.
  • The best way to show your kid that Wonder Woman and The Lone Ranger don't exist is to strip them naked and then beat them with a leather strap.
  • Shit rolls downhill.
  • Cops in the south believe that one can easily take a tank out simply by shooting at it with rifles and pistols.
  • The Posse Comitatus Act, when translated into Southern English, is actually a gesture for calling someone a "pussy communist."

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 4 mins - "Why would someone want to own a tank?" What kind of stupid question is that?
  • 8 mins - Ragbag?
  • 12 mins - If that's her idea of wild insane sex, I'll pass.
  • 30 mins - Ouch!
  • 106 mins - Someone likes that "praying in the nude" scene from The Punisher too much.
  • 109 mins - Yeah, that'll stop him.
  • 121 mins - Oh goody, bluegrass music.
  • 130 mins - Are we watching the right movie?
  • 139 mins - Go! Go! Go!
  • End Credits - These are the lamest end credits I have seen yet.

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note tank1.wav SgtMaj Carey: "What's 'Soldier's Magazine's' interest in interviewing me?"
Reporter: "Well, Sergeant Major, you're the only one in the U.S. Army who owns his own, fully operational, Sherman tank for one thing!"
SgtMaj Carey: "Are you kidding me? I thought everybody had one of these."
Green Music Note tank2.wav Deputy Baker: "Tell you what there ain't no need for. Ain't no need for no Army scumbag to come up here, to tell me what to do in my town, with my whore."
SgtMaj Carey: "You know something, deputy? You're right. You're just as right as rain. Your town, your whore."
Green Music Note tank3.wav Sheriff Buelton: "But any more lawyer noise and that kid's going to be shot trying to escape. Yessir, I got the power to do just about anything on that farm."
Green Music Note tank4.wav Sheriff Buelton tries to explain the situation to the Governor.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Cliptank1.mpg - 4.0m
Deputy Baker discovers that coming face to face with an angry man and his pet tank is no fun at all.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1]
Re: Tank
Reply #1. Posted on March 21, 2008, 09:43:57 AM by Jason Borlinghaus
After looking at the pictures I realized that Sarah, the prostitute, was played by Jenilee Harrison. Her one claim to fame is that she replaced Suzanne Somers on Three's Company. I think her character's name was Cindy Snow. I think she was supposed to be the cousin or niece of Suzanne Somers' character.

Jason (Child of the 80's).
Re: Tank
Reply #2. Posted on March 21, 2008, 12:28:32 PM by Son of a Bunk
I love this movie, well and truly. I had the pleasure of seeing it with a big, appreciative audience down in Alabama.

Seriously this is one of the most quotable movies ever made. Examples --

"Well, it's very hard to shoot yourself while cleaning it."
"I don't wanna dance the funky monkey or whatever they're doing."
"Sergeant, that's the best f**king peach cobbler I've ever tasted."
"Am I going to tell them that their governor is a kind and caring man, or am I going to tell them that he's an a**hole?"
"What are you doing?" "Stealin'."

A lot of fun. A LOT of fun.
Re: Tank
Reply #3. Posted on March 21, 2008, 05:45:28 PM by BoyScoutKevin
I'm glad to see all the love for this movie. James Garner has always been one of my favorite actors, and there is no better movie than seeing two b.a.s--badasses--get it on.
Re: Tank
Reply #4. Posted on March 21, 2008, 05:49:13 PM by Jay the Magnificent
the social commentary message of this movie out ways any repulsiveness
Re: Tank
Reply #5. Posted on March 23, 2008, 01:47:58 PM by Flangepart
Tanks...for the memories...

Nice flick, and the best pat it, they know what tank fans like. Cannons and car crushing!
Best use of a Sherman M4 since KELLYS HEROS.
Re: Tank
Reply #6. Posted on March 24, 2008, 10:19:40 AM by Eric B
I remember seeing this as a kid, and laughing so hard during the "tug of war" scene. You didn't really do it's insanity complete justice, I must say. First of all, a truck with a huge, foot thick steel cable pulls up. My dad at this point started flipping out, seeing where they were going with this. It gets worse: a biker sticks one end of the huge, hundred pound cable under his arm (!) and drives onto a makeshift ramp (!!) and flies a hundred feet through the air to the tank (!!!) My dad was totally atomic: "how the hell did they cut that cable? it's a foot thick, and I didn't see them cut it with anything!"

When four of the redneck people somehow outpull every human being in the state of Missouri, the frusturated good people hook the cable up to a bulldozer (my dad: "where the hell did the bulldozer come from? How the hell did they cut the other end of the cable?") and use that to help them pull. Hilariously, the bulldozer still BARELY outpulls the evil rednecks, who must have used their "evil redneck magic" to increase their strength. I haven't seen this movie in probably 10-15 years, at the very least, and this scene is still vivid in my memory.
Re: Tank
Reply #7. Posted on November 23, 2010, 12:01:38 AM by JPickettIII
I would love to see James Garner do that today.  The government would not take to kindly to a guy blowing stuff up with a tank.

Cool looking Sherman.


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