Fury Blu-ray Review
“War is Hell” is a noteworthy phrase that was at some point uttered nearly 150 years ago by William Tecumseh Sherman, a general who served for the Union during the American Civil War. He was supposedly addressing a crowd of 10,000 who had just graduated from a military academy. It was line from a tired, bitter man who had seen too many die. The only thing he had left was words of wisdom in the hopes of stopping people from going down the same traumatic path he had. FURY is about that path and it’s sad, inevitable outcome.
FURY drops us deep in war torn Germany during 1945. Don “Wardaddy Collier (Pitt) commands an M4A3E8 Sherman (and yes it’s named after William) tank by the name of Fury. At gunner is Boyd “Bible” Swan (LaBeouf), the loader is Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis (Jon Bernthal) and driving is Trini “Gordo” Garcia (Michael Pena). Their original bow gunner has been killed in action and their replacement is a recently enlisted Army typist by the name of Norman (Lerman). He’s quickly picked on for his lack of experience and never having killed a German.
While all these men have already become accustomed to shooting anything that moves and Don even speaks the native tongue of Deutschland, Norman is a bit leery and his hesitation even costs the life of some other soldiers. Don (Pitt, playing a more blood hungry Nazi killer than he did in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS) is very much a leader. He’s been in battle since American troops were first penetrating Africa and fighting off Axis soldiers. So it’s up to Don to put Norman through a trial by fire and teach him the sadistic joys of killing the enemy.
FURY is a very cliché filled movie with plenty of one-liners; speeches about the toll of war, and guy talk bubbling with swear words and derogatory discussions about the female refugees they pass along the muddied paths. Most movies would have been fine with this aged concept of simply showing us a war torn group of comrades, but the introduction of Norman and the indoctrination of his gentle soul is what gives FURY it’s bite. Without Norman being broken down and built back up in stunningly violent fashion, FURY would be another run-of-the-mill war movie.
What also makes Norman is a necessary component is it brings out the little bit of humanity that’s still deep inside Don. It’s seemingly gone from the rest of the group. Norman’s compassion about killing a man surrendering himself upsets the group dynamic of “if it breathes, kill it.” The most telling scene is a moment after American soldiers have taken over a town. While soldiers pillage and partake in the spoils of war, Don and Norman find a woman and her young adult daughter. There’s an underlying sense of dread that permeates throughout scene because you’re not quite sure how this will play out. Without giving too much away, the horrors of war quickly spill in, just drumming up more anxiety.
By the end, FURY becomes more like five Rambos in a tank, but that doesn’t mean the action is still an entertaining slaughter. Overall, the idea of FURY is that the call of duty for thousands of young men was ultimately dehumanizing and rarely glorious. So with that in mind, I leave you with the full quote of what Sherman said to those 10,000 young bucks in the crowd back in 1880. “There’s many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory but it is all hell.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) Such a bleak landscape is seen beautifully on this blu-ray. Such a gruesome thing appears so gorgeous.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The audio mixing is impeccable when it comes to the levels between dialogue and gunfire. The sound on this blu-ray is ultimately flawless.
Deleted and Extended Scenes (56:13): The box proudly advertises more than 50 minutes of these scenes. In all there are 16, with a few alternate ways scenes pan out. It felt like watching another movie, but not in a good way. Most of the content is lengthier dialogues that are supposed to establish our characters better, but sometimes come off as a couple of men just shooting the ****. I could understand this amount of extra footage that would be entertaining for a movie worthy of a medal of honor, but this one, not so much.
Blood Brothers (11:08): This is not necessarily based on any real set of people of their events, but this takes a look how they wanted to make the movie as authentic as they could. A very interesting look at the adjustments made.
Director’s Combat Journal (17:32): If you love the way this movie was shot, you’ll love this feature. It’s a very in-depth piece focusing on Ayer and direction and editing focus. It also highlights a couple of the challenges he had shooting this movie.
Armored Warriors: The Real Men Inside the Shermans (12:11): This is probably maybe favorite extra. This talks with WWII veterans discussing their real life experiences during combat.
Taming the Beasts: How to Drive, Fire and Shoot Inside a 30 Ton Tank (12:48): This focuses on attempting to find some real tanks and equipment from WWII. It also shows them training the actors on how to maintain and drive a tank.