Fury (2014)

September 20, 2016

I expected more from Fury and maybe it was because I had higher expectation that I was a bit let down by the film.

Fury is a brutal World War II film that follows the crew of a tank named... Fury. I wish I could write about the plot of the film, but there really is not a plot. The audience is kind of led from one skirmish to the next, with a bizarre moment of playing house sandwiched in the middle.

Fury includes a lot of cliched war characters. There is the grizzled, conflicted and demanding leader, Wardaddy (Brad Pitt). There's the bright-eyed, innocent-for-a-little-bit n00b (Logan Lerman). There's the despicable asshole (Jon Bernthal) . There's the preacher (Shia LeBeouf). And there's that guy they threw in to make the crew racially balanced (Michael Pena).

Here's the thing about Fury, it has some meticulously filmed scenes of war in it. They are brutal and gut wrenching to watch -- a lot like the opening scene to Saving Private Ryan. But, there is nothing in between the combat scenes to tie the whole film together. What's worse is that the combat scene at the end of the film is so over-the-top and steeped in rah-rah heroics, it takes away from earlier scenes and what little feelings we have for the characters.

The problem with the film is that it seems to want to discuss a lot of ideas, but never really does it. One of the ideas that I can see in the film that is never properly looked at is how war and squad mates in war are an acting force in normalizing the horrors and violence of war. Ayer's script barely touches upon this idea but it is never fully realized.

There are some standout performances that need to be mentioned. Even though the Wardaddy character is cliched, Brad Pitt turns in a brilliant performance in the role. Shia LeBeouf shows that he can actually act and is pretty good at it.

Is Fury worth watching? Eh. Maybe. There's not much in the way of story to carry the film. There is a bizarre sequence in the middle of the film that brings the film to a screeching halt. The characters are a bit repugnant and the ending of the film is disappointing. But, if you want to see some decent action, it maybe worth it.

Spoilers

The bizarre sequence that I mention is the sequence in which Wardaddy and the n00b stop to play house with two German woman. When the sequence starts, I bought into it. It did go a ways to show how Wardaddy continued to have some humanity in him and that war did not have to be as horrific as it is. But, unfortunately, the sequence continued and continued and continued. At some point in the middle, I questioned if I was watching a different movie. Ayer's script could have benefited from cutting this whole sequence down. The running time of the film was well over two hours and cutting this sequence in the film down would have helped to make the film move at a quicker pace. As it stands, when we get to this sequence in the film, which is in the middle portion, the film comes to a grinding halt.

The end battle with a group of some 300 SS officers was so unrealistic that I tuned out for a lot of it. I was masterfully shot and edited, but I could not overcome the feeling of calling "bullshit". I mean, five guys in a disabled tank versus 300 highly trained German officers -- the tank crew takes out what looks to be more than half of the Germans from a fixed location. I just don't buy it. There were even shots of these highly trained Germans running directly into the line of fire. Oh c'mon. This whole end battle sequence was not well done.


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