Fury – 2014

War movies are the least in my collection. The reason being they are less memorable than other kinds of films. Though bullets ricocheting from my rear speakers is great, I still need a story built on people, relationships and personal conflicts. Something that goes beyond loud fight scenes, into the characters and their emotions. I wasn’t pumped or super excited when I saw the preview for Fury, and I think Brad Pitt being the front man had something to do with that. My suspicion was its just another film riding on his stardom to sell tickets, so naturally I questioned the quality of its stuffing. But when the Blu-ray went on sale for $14.99, what the hell, that’s a gamble I can stomach so I purchased it.

Fury_2014

Fury is an Action Drama, lets just call it a war movie. The main characters are Brad Pitt as Wardaddy or Collier, Shia LaBeouf as Boyd, Logan Lerman as Norman, Michael Pena as Gordo, and Jon Bernthal as Grady. The setting dates back to the war against Hitler’s campaign to conquer the world. American soldiers fighting Germans overseas end up bringing the fight back to Germany. This story centers around a five-man crew on a war tank named Fury.

The opening scene is mysterious and impressive. A silhouette of one soldier on a horse riding forward from the horizon. He’s very calm, almost like he’s taking a stroll. Then suddenly he’s tackled off the horse to the ground, where Wardaddy finishes him with a knife. We are now able to see the lifeless man is a German soldier of high rank. His horse gets the opposite treatment, she’s handled with affection and set free. An act that shows though Sergeant Collier maybe a man at war, he hasn’t lost sight of the value of innocent lives.

After taking the dead German’s tags, he reunites with his crew. We learn they’ve just lost a member in a recent battle, his body and blood still splattered in the tank. They are sitting ducks due to a mechanical issue Grady is working very hard to fix. He’s able to get the tank moving again and they drive back to base. The camera follows, showing us the grimness of the world they are in. Bodies are being raked into mass graves, there’s a disparity in the number of medics to wounded soldiers, P.O.Ws gazing hopelessly behind cage fences. Of course the terrain of choice is mud. Ever notice how military camps in movies are usually muddy? I think one reason is because visually, it adds to the unpleasantness of the whole business. Subconsciously, you and I watching know that’s one place we don’t want to be.

The storyline moves, and we learn another soldier is assigned to Wardaddy’s crew to replace the dead one. Norman, our new kid on the block is green. His service in the war thus far has been on the administrative side of things. Just like that, dude’s suddenly gone from typing messages to war tank machine gun operator. He struggles with the realities of his new post, and it becomes clear that Norman’s character is the thread that weaves this movie together. He’s a young do-good soldier immersed in the ugliness of war, realizing he’s there for one reason alone, to kill.

At this point we know more about the crew. Sgt. Collier or Wardaddy has earned the utmost respect of his men and leads them in father-ish kind of way. Boyd is a man of God, always spitting scripture from the Bible. Grady is the cray cray one with lose knots in the head. Gordo is our Latino tank driver and a bit on the sensitive side. Norman we already know is the new gun. Together, they work as a team, preserving each other’s lives while fighting for Germany’s surrender.

Somewhere around the middle of the movie, we get a Doc Holliday vs Johnny Ringo moment and it is a treat! Three American tanks against one beastly German fighter. For illustration purposes, think of three Hyenas facing one big Lion in open field, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. The fight must commence and even the survivor will be seriously scathed. The audio here is impressive, very well balanced. Personally, I hate when dialogue is overpowered by sound effects. A common pitfall in many films which I’m glad to say is not an issue here at all. In fact, the audio mix is one of the best things about Fury. I didn’t have to adjust the volume while simultaneously enjoying both dialogue and special effects.

The end is similar to how the story begins. Our five-man crew find themselves sitting ducks again after driving over a landmine that explodes and breaks their wheels. With a busted tank, and an entire German battalion heading their way, they decide to make a stand. Five soldiers against hundreds of enemy combatants. This is easily the best part of the movie and what makes it truly delicious is the lighting. Daylight is gone and it’s dark, yet you see the action unfold in amazing detail. How I would love to see the DOP at work in the behind-the-scenes footage.

An enormous question mark looms over the ending; I wonder why the clemency from this one particular German soldier. It’s not disappointing, I just don’t get the logic. That said, Fury is without doubt one of the best war films I’ve seen in a long time and makes it to my top-five list. My favorite is still Enemy at the Gates with Jude Law and Ed Harris.

The cast is awesome and they all deliver big-time. I’m not fond of Shia LaBeouf, he speaks too fast and way too much for my liking. But this time I actually enjoyed his performance. The only other movie I really like him in is Charlie Countryman. Brad Pitt is not just a poster boy for this film, he’s solid all through. Only overshadowed by Logan who in my opinion, is the viewer’s eyes into the story. Besides the guys in the tank, months later when I think of this movie, I’ll also remember Emma. Too bad she had to go out like that.

I’ll sign off commending the overall production value. The picture on Blu-ray is excellent. I love the smoke/mist/fog that’s ever so present through the film, creating a kind of mystery. The writing is five stars; I like how they allow you time to meet a character, even if for a couple of seconds before that person becomes a casualty. Forcing the message to hit home harder which I think is clever. Writers usually give villains a face so the audience can identify who the bad guy is. There’s no main villain in Fury, but because of the excellent writing, we know who the enemy is and where to focus our attention at every turn.

Conclusion:

Is this 134mins of my life I wish I could take back? Absolutely Not!

Will I see it again? Yes, unlike Apocalypse Now, which I consider my worst war movie purchase. I don’t get why all the fuss about it.

Is it worth owning? Yes. I purchased it on Blu-Ray

What about the audio? Ridiculously good! A well-balanced DTS mix down.

Should there be sequel? No need for one.

Who will like this movie? This is obviously a guy’s film, however its 2016 and I know ladies that can’t get enough of the UFC. So if you like action, a great story with well-written characters, big machine guns, war tanks and first-shooter video games, then this movie is for you.

Is it a Classic? I think so. Great war films are hard finds and this one checks all the boxes.