FURY (director/writer: David Ayer; cinematographer: Roman Vasyanov; editors: Dody Dorn/Jay Cassidy; music: Steven Price; cast: Brad Pitt (Don Collier, a.k.a. Wardaddy), Shia LaBeouf (Boyd Swan, a.k.a. Bible), Logan Lerman (Norman Ellison), Michael Peña (Trini Garcia, a.k.a. Gordo), Jon Bernthal (Grady Travis, a.k.a. Coon-Ass), Jason Isaacs (Captain Waggoner), Brad William Henke (Sergeant Davis), Jim Parrack (Sergeant Binkowski), Xavier Samuel (Lieutenant Parker), Scott Eastwood (Sergeant Miles), Kevin Vance (Sergeant Peterson), Anamaria Marinca (Irma), Alicia von Rittberg (Emma); Runtime: 135; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Bill Block/David Ayer/Ethan Smith/John Lesher; Columbia Pictures (Sony); 2014)
“Successfully subbing Brad Pitt for the heroic soldier role John Wayne would have played in the 1940s & 1950s.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The title is taken from the name of the featured American tank. The macho escapist big-studio World War II action drama follows a 5-man tank crew, led by the honorable tough guy Sergeant Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt), and the blood-thirsty psychos who served with him throughout the war–gunner Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan (Shia LaBeouf), loader Grady ‘Coon-Ass’ Travis (Jon Bernthal), the Mexican driver Trini ‘Gordo’ Garcia (Michael Peña), and the cultured pacifist typist trained new replacement green rookie as the second driver Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman). The time-frame is April, 1945, during the final war days, deep in German territory and the Fury team–with combat in Africa, Belgium and Holland–are now going from town to town in a bloody mop-up mission in step with the 2nd Armored Division.
The story unfolds how the dainty Norman is forced to kill and after his initial aversion to killing he soon becomes a psychopath killer like the others in his tightly-knit misfit motley tank crew, and we witness how his innocence is corrupted by the war. Wardaddy, who takes Norman under his wing, in his brutish style, at one point says “Ideals are peaceful, history is violent.” Thereby the filmmaker refuses to sugarcoat the war and repeatedly shows how things become so crazed that the hero soldiers go beyond their war time duties to invade the home of two civilian women (Anamaria Marinca & Alicia von Rittberg) and torment them with their savage war-mentality.
It’s muscularly written and directed by former Navy man David Ayer (“Street Kings”/”End of Watch”/”Sabotage”), sparing us no violence and successfully subbing Brad Pitt for the heroic soldier role John Wayne would have played in the 1940s and 1950s. Nothing new is attempted in this particularly ugly war film, but it supposedly entertains as the Americans kill Nazis from the beginning scene to the climax. Ayers is a good craftsman and captures the insanity, brutality and brotherhood nobility of war. It’s served up with relish as a treat for action lovers, whereby the combat scenes have a video game look of unreality and the cartoonish characters never touch us emotionally. Though a forgettable film, it still leaves us with an unusually chilling Hollywood ending for a war drama, of the sole tank Fury taking on an entire SS company who are unwilling to quit even though their war is lost. The battle is waged because the tank was ordered to go behind enemy lines by their commander captain (Jason Isaacs) for some godforsaken reason, even though there’s no point at this time of the war for the winning side to take on such an unnecessary risky dangerous assignment when victory is just around the corner with or without this battle.
REVIEWED ON 10/17/2014 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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