Fury follows a battle hardened tank crew during the latter half of World War 2 as they've been resolutely pushing all the way right into the heart of Nazi Germany. Led by Don "Wardaddy" Collier (Brad Pitt), gunner Boyd "Bible" Swan (Shia LaBeouf), loader Grady "Coon-Ass" Travis (Jon Bernthal), driver Trini "Gordo" Garcia (Michael Pena), and their recently deceased bow-gunner Red. The inexperienced and completely unprepared Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) has been sent in to replace Red, and the firmly bonded unit typically reject him and give him a hard time at every possible opportunity. After Norman's reluctance to pull the trigger on a Nazi during a skirmish resulted in the death of their platoon leader, his tank, and his entire crew. Wardaddy makes it his mission to educate Norman on the harsh realities of war by making him execute a prisoner, personally.
After an all too brief respite, a platoon of four Sherman tanks are ordered to protect a vital supply line for the allies at all costs, of which 'Wardaddy' is placed in command of. When the Sherman's are ambushed by the far superior Tiger tanks of the Nazi army immobilizes three out of the four Sherman tanks, Wardaddy is able to flank the Tiger and exploit its weakness at its rear. As 'Wardaddy' reaches the crossroads 'Fury' is immobilized by a landmine, and with no way to fix the stationary tank and hundreds of SS Officers on their way through, Wardaddy and his crew have to decide whether to stay and defend the lines that are supplying the allies, or to tuck tail and run.
Fury takes place in a particularly brutal, savage, and desperate time during the tail end of World War 2 as the Nazi's find themselves on the verge of losing the war. Needless to say that a defeat is utterly unacceptable. What ensues is a sometimes cliched, but always riveting World War 2 drama that's focused more on the personal and intimate effects that war has on men, rather than on the history of World War 2 itself. Though it still sticks fairly close to the facts. I think Fury falls somewhere between the savagery of Saving Private Ryan, and the violent escapism of Inglourious Basterds. Although Brad Pitt plays two entirely different characters in these movies. The momentum stalled quite a bit midway through too, but the pause gave us some good insight into what such conditions can do to people, realistically. Many war movies tend to over-dramatize certain aspects of the psychological effects war can have on someone, I don't think Fury did.
Most of the cliches in Fury come in the form of the reluctant new rookie who's recruited into the battle hardened tank unit. Thankfully, the cliches are kept to a minimum with his character, and I actually enjoyed watching his character progression throughout the movie. His development felt uncomfortably genuine, instead of the same old contrived anti-war platitudes that we so often hear from the 'rookies' in these sorts of movies. Norman actually admits to 'Wardaddy' that he's acquired a taste for killing as time goes on, and he enjoys it, so the soldiers were not glorified or romanticized on either side. War brings out the worst in people, in all people. That's what time and circumstances can do to people, and I'm glad that Fury didn't shy away from that ugly truth.
The action sequences were intense, detailed and thrilling, especially the Sherman vs Tiger battle. I think the Tiger tank that was used is the last one in existence, so that's cool for history buffs, but David Ayer really managed to give us a sense of the claustrophobic nature of tank warfare. The climax might feel a little too bombastic for some, but I thought it felt appropriate given the time and their daunting circumstances. I thought the ending was a bit of a cop out though. I would have changed it if it were up to me, but it wasn't. I think a stronger ending could have elevated the emotional impact of Fury exponentially, instead it ends on a bit of a whimper, but maybe David Ayer wasn't going for an emotional gut-punch of an ending like Saving Private Ryan did. At the end of the day, Fury is no Saving Private Ryan, nor was it trying to be one, but it's still a highly worthwhile World War 2 movie. It's very good, just not great.
Written by - The Sentry - 28/11/2014