3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Fury-ous!, 4 Mar. 2015
After director David Ayer’s previous film, ‘Sabotage’, left a sour taste in my mouth, his name was pretty much forgotten to me and it was only AFTER watching ‘Fury’ it clicked; this had come from the man who had pretty much made a mockery out of Arnold Schwarzenegger. All is forgiven, just, with this war film that doesn’t break the mould, but certainly adds nice new elements to the WW2 genre thanks to a fine cast, some brilliantly staged action and a fresh twist on the clichés of the past.
War films, primarily, need to focus on a unit; a team; a band of brothers/sisters who take you on a journey through Hell and beyond. We want to see interesting, ordinary characters pull together against the odds (we still need our heroes against evil) to triumph either in battle or in their own soul to overcome the horror of war and their own demons. Here we have our unit, and refreshingly they spend most of their time in and around a Sherman tank that acts as their home and safe retreat in battle. I found the creaks, rumbles and mechanical lumbering of the steel beast rather impressive to see and it made for a great new spin on war films that often focused on troops on foot.
Brad Pitt won me over with his portrayal as Wardaddy, the staff sergeant who leads his men on the battlefield with a firm command, steely gaze and strict duty to eradicate the Nazi under any circumstances. He shows a tough resolve without coming across unlikeable, and the few moments we see his tough outer shell crack is played wonderfully without being hammy and overly-dramatic. It’s clear that Pitt brings a great deal of understanding to a man he envisages lives for nothing except the end goal of winning, and surviving, the war.
Logan Lerman is our “normal” man, the one who represents the younger, fearful and morally conflicted soldier dragged into fighting and killing as so many other young men were drafted in to do. With a strong supporting cast of Shia BaBeouf, Michael Pena and John Bernthal who all play the typical soldiers – the humane one, the understanding one and the tough one – it’s a shame they are not expanded on more, because when they are all together and operating as a team, it makes for exciting, engaging and emotional sequences. They all manage to convey a front that they use to survive war, by almost convincing themselves this is what they are born to do – to fight, to kill and to survive. But, again, when their defences come down and they bond as a unit, it makes for some great viewing and you really feel the camaraderie.
As this plays out more as a war-based drama, exploring the bonds made and relationships forged in a variety of ways and circumstances, the action is also generous but never too much. Seeing and hearing the tanks blast and rip their way through buildings, fields, woodland and Nazi soldiers is, admittedly, rather thrilling thanks to the attack on the senses. Bullet holes steam, debris flies and tanks crush bodies and the Earth below effortlessly. The violence is gruesome; not as brutal and real as ‘Saving Private Ryan’ (can anything be?), but never the less it is shocking and powerful. Limbs fly off, heads explode, bodies are riddled and faces are caved in. As for the final 30mins, it’s a barnstorming assault of what we can only imagine war can be; exciting, tragic, tense and thrilling.
On the whole, it is a typical war-film; you’ve seen the rag-tag unit before, you’ve seen the father/son bonding, you’ve seen the bloody battles and you’ve seen the tense ending before in a variety of other films. But I think it’s comfortable ground to tread to deliver something entertaining, which is what these films are solely made to do; entertain. There is enough new twists and takes on the old formula to keep it familiar, but new.
Thanks to a strong story that is simple enough to follow but fleshed out with great drama, this never exceeds its 2hours 10mins running time and flows smoothly without any lag. Every scene is important, every conversation is relevant and every burst of the canon is crucial as the inevitable looms ahead as they advance through Germany. You’ll laugh, you’ll cheer, you’ll wince and you’ll think; just what a great war movie should have you doing.