The Thing I Like About …

Tank:  the part with the bikers.

Tank is the story of a man whose son Billy, wrongly imprisoned by a corrupt sheriff, is rescued by his Sherman-tank-wielding father, Zack.  For days they travel through the back woods of Georgia, attempting to get to the Tennessee state line and legitimate law enforcement.  At the state line, the corrupt sheriff and his henchmen create a barrier of eighteen-wheelers and a mud-field that stops the tank just short of the state-line.

But this father and son haven’t been isolated in their flight to justice.  Their struggle has been sent to every news reporting agency anyone could think of, Billy’s mom has been on television asking every mother who can hear her to call the governor of Tennessee, and Billy himself has been in radio contact with a news crew, explaining that his dad – injured and in need of medical attention – had been there for him, and so now he will stay with his dad.

A group of motorcycle riders, watching on the news at a bar, express respect and admiration for Billy and his dad.  When the sheriff sets up the barrier at the border, they show up too.  They contrive a ramp so that one of the bikers can leap to the trapped tank, and that biker risks life and limb to jump out there and bring the tow-rope to Billy.  They grab the rope – as does everyone else who has collected on the Tennessee side of the state-line.  And all those people hanging onto this rope start to move this huge Sherman tank through the mud.

I’m not sure if this is a realistic possibility; I’ve never tugged on a tank, with or without the help of burly, road-hardened motorcycle enthusiasts.  But I know that the kind of corruption the bad guys demonstrated is all too possible – and often an unhappy fact.  I know too that parents’ greatest worries are over things we cannot possibly control, that we spend our lives hoping that the world will be kind to our children and being able to do about it absolutely nothing; a movie that allows us to drive a tank to save our little guy is therefore a good movie, no matter how plausible or implausible it might be.

When the world becomes hostile and unfair and vicious, I would like to think there are fathers with tanks, and bikers, and groups of decent people waiting to pull the aggrieved to safety.  I would like to think that the evil in the world can be thwarted as easily as a corrupt sheriff can be thrown into the mud and laughed at.  I would like to think that the part with the bikers is plausible, and that, if we work together with good intentions and courage, it will eventually be the corrupt-sheriff part of Tank that seems unlikely.

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