This morality tale has been dated by the events in Eastern Europe. It tells about two combat colonels, an American and a Soviet, stationed along the border between West Germany and Czechoslovakia, whose personal war almost escalates into an international incident.
The film begins when a defector is shot by Russian troops while trying to cross the border. Angered at having to stand idly by, patrol officer Colonel Jack Knowles fashions a snowball and hurls it at Colonel Valachev, his Soviet counterpart. Valachev responds likewise.
The tit-for-tat incidences increase in intensity. Sneaking out at night, Knowles humiliates some young Czech soldiers. Retaliating, Valachev blows up Knowles’ jeep. Knowles reciprocates by burning a guard tower to the ground. Finally, Valachev delivers an ultimatum to Knowles: “Come over the border one more time and I’ll personally kill you.”
Knowles does just that, and as the two colonels scuffle atop a frozen lake in the open winter landscape, American and Soviet troops surround them. Realizing they’re about to encounter a hail of bullets, both men halt their fighting. Knowles again fashions a snowball, but this time throws it down. Narration is heard regarding Albert Einstein’s statement that he didn’t know what weapons would be used to fight a third World War, but the fourth War would be fought with stones.
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” Though the film makers probably do not intend it, the film shows on one level that this Scripture from James 4 is the reason behind wars, be they fought with stones, snowballs, or nuclear weaponry. However, once man’s sinful desires initiate a war, God does call His people to fight the just fight to protect the innocent and defend the nation given that His people are obedient to His Justice and Mercy as stipulated in Scripture. In other words, in very particular and limited circumstances, God does provide for just wars to combat the evil desires of a Hitler or a Sennacherib.
Unfortunately, the filmmakers do not realize that the answer to those sinful desires that war within us is Jesus Christ. Many in Middle and Eastern Europe, however, do understand that Jesus is the Answer, and it is their faith in Jesus Christ which has initiated the dramatic liberation of those countries from the evil of socialism. Whether those countries will be able to cast off completely the enslavement of socialism depends on the depth and breadth of their faith in God.
It was sad to hear so much obscene language in this movie, particularly by army generals and other high-ranking officials. If using obscenities shows forth a limited vocabulary and thus a low intelligence, one wonders how these men could attain such high positions. This being the case, THE FOURTH WAR is not recommended.
Some profanities and several obscenities; and, violence and revenge.