Review By: John Delia
Showing the violence, guts and destruction of WWII tank fighting, Fury punctuates the story with an explosive tale of death defying courage. Although fictional, the movie is based on the 2nd US Armored division and portrays extensive grisly combat using very realistic images. Explosive, gripping and pervasive the up close look is shattering and mind boggling. If you like war movies like Saving Private Ryan and Hamburger Hill, rush out to see this mind blowing war flick on the big screen.
The movie begins in 1945 Germany with Fury, a tank under the command of Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier (Brad Pitt), seemingly out of commission and covered in mud amongst some destroyed vehicles. A Nazi on a white horse rides past the tank and Wardaddy jumps the man for a swift kill. Letting the horse loose and getting back into his tank, we find his crew; driver Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan (Shia LaBeouf), gunner Trini ‘Gordo’ Garcia (Michael Pena) and mechanic Grady ‘Coon-Ass’ Travis (Jon Bernthal) nestled inside the small smelly interior. After a diversion, Wardaddy maneuvers Fury through some tricky terrain to an American encampment. There he picks up greenhorn Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) as a replacement for his dead gunner.
Wardaddy gets orders to go north and meet up with another division attacking Germany close to the Polish border. His tank and three others set out for the long trip. Along the way, the convoy meets with Nazi opposition in an explosive battle. With Fury still intact after the skirmish, Wardaddy heads away from the hedgerows toward his assignment in spite of the fierce fight. When they strike a landmine, the crew has to make a do or die decision.
Director David Ayer shows all the emotion, brutality, critical choices and heroism of war in camera shots that are so realistic they will make you cringe. He uses shock and surprise to craft his field battles showing attacking American troops walking behind tanks across the hedge rows. Invading American Sherman Tanks go up against heavily armored German Panzer tanks in a shootout that devastates both sides. Buildings are destroyed by the German military, killing many of their own civilians or whoever is in their way.
The squad of actors lead by Brad Pitt depicts American military strength and courage. Pitt’s the strong willed sergeant who will not back down no matter if it means his own death. As Wardaddy, he thinks of his men first, leading them into hell if necessary and then some. He’s a patriot and a legend that has fought on two continents and takes orders without question. Pitt tones down his character of Wardaddy, fighting hard here, but not as brutal a Nazi killer as Lt. Aldo Raine in Inglorious Bastards.
Playing the greenhorn recruit Norman Ellison is Logan Lerman. He makes his character a runt, a frightened soldier that fears for himself even when he has his sights set on the enemy. When it comes to defending the crew of Fury, he starts out a pacifist until Wardaddy puts the fear of God in him.
LaBeouf, Bernthal and Pena make up the rest of the tank team and each is as fearless as the next. They are fighters and don’t hesitate to take lives to save themselves and the battalion. Most of all, they are true to Wardaddy who they feel will get them out of the war alive.
The cinematography and computer graphics are phenomenal showing the realism of war. The attacks are vicious with guns blazing and explosions all around. Heads are crushed under tank tracks and blown off by gun and mortar fire. Blasts from Panzer Tanks penetrate the steel shell of the American Shermans like stones through water. Guns blaze atop the turret of Fury and blow off limbs and legs. It’s the depiction of all out war and it isn’t a pretty sight.
Fury has been rated R by the MPAA for strong sequences of war violence, some grisly images, and language throughout. It has a scene of sex, partial nudity and drug use. There is more gore and maiming than in the invasion scene of Saving Private Ryan.
FINAL ANALYSIS: It’s a war film that holds nothing back with stellar acting, fine direction and a huge budget. (B+)