Fury Movie Review
During World War II, most tank crews have a life expectancy of six weeks. This makes it all the more impressive that the M4A3E8 Sherman tank Fury has maintained the same crew for four years and as they would tell you, it’s the best job they’ve ever had.
Led by U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier (Brad Pitt – WORLD WAR Z), FURY follows the story of a tank crew and its commander in Germany during late WWII. The main gun operator is a Scripture quoting, God fearing man named Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan (Shia LaBeaof – TRANSFORMERS). The driver is a relatively easy-going Hispanic named Trini ‘Gordo’ Garcia (Michael Pena – END OF WATCH). The ammunition loader is a crazy, uneducated wildcard named Grady ‘Coon-Ass’ Travis (Jon Bernthal – The Walking Dead). The front gunner and assistant driver was recently killed in battle and the team has been assigned a new guy, a young kid by the name of Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman – THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER), who has been enlisted for just a few weeks and has never even seen the inside of a tank. Wardaddy promptly takes innocent Norman under his no mercy ruling vowing to keep him alive with the rest of his guys, as the five-man crew of Fury embark on a harsh and dangerous mission.
Tank movies don’t come along too often. So when they do, I personally, get a bit more excited to see a different perspective in the war genre. FURY offers a brutal and bloodthirsty visual on the effects of war. The opening scene in particular is framed in a more aesthetically pleasing way only to reveal a devastating blow of death and mayhem. The action throughout the film is incredibly intense. Unfortunately, while FURY pushes the action and doubles the gore, it lacks the emotional impact to qualify it to greatness.
The performances in FURY are overall strong, but the script doesn’t give enough material for them to be effective. Pitt’s rough commander is wise and heroic, yet despite his captivating delivery, the constant spouting of quotable dialogue becomes a bit too much to handle. In fact all the characters, while performed admirably, feel a little more like caricatures at times. Perhaps, it’s because we’ve seen similar versions of these same types of guys in war films before, but their distinct differences are anything except subtle.
Writer and director David Ayer made a big splash with 2012’s END OF WATCH, but last year’s Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle SABOTAGE was less than stellar. Having had his hand in some notable action films through writing credits, Ayer toys with some of the similar psychological themes for FURY that are prevalent in some of his previous work like U-571, DARK BLUE and TRAINING DAY, but mostly discards this notion and opts for the action-packed battles and explosions that are more closely related to his work in THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS or S.W.A.T.
FURY desperately wants to be SAVING PRIVATE RYAN but comes off a little more like RAMBO. That’s not a knock at RAMBO, as that genre has a place in cinema as well, but FURY hopes to be something that it’s not and audiences should adjust their expectations. High on tension, the emotional investment in the characters is never fully realized. Overall, FURY is an enjoyable film, at its best when it keeps the dynamic inside the steel war machine. When the film strays from its initial hold and falls into some Hollywood cliches, it prevents one from fully immersing into the story. For a better example of the inside working of a tank crew, I recommend 2009’s foreign film LEBANON.