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NOW SHOWING: Fury (2014)

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  • NOW SHOWING: Fury (2014)

    I know there is already a thread, but I am going to stay with my tradition of putting my Now Showing review on its own thread. Sorry if that offends anyone.

    NOW SHOWING: Fury (2014)



    “Fury” is the new WWII tank combat movie starring Brad Pitt. It was directed and written by David Ayer. He earlier had written “U-571”, a movie for which he had to apologize for historical inaccuracies. This time he took on a purely fictional story of a tank in the waning days of World War II Europe. The tank is a M4A2E8 Sherman and it is participating in the drive into Nazi Germany. The crew is headed by Sgt. “Wardaddy” Collier (Pitt) and they have been together since North Africa. They are part of the 2nd Armored Division (the “Hell on Wheels” division). The movie was filmed in the English countryside and had a budget of approximately $80 billion. The producers relied on four authentic M4s and a Tiger 131 loaned by a museum. The Tiger is the only operational one in the world and this was the first time a genuine one was used in a war movie.

    The movie opens in the aftermath of what must have been a tank melee. The title tank is the sole survivor of its platoon, but the assistant driver was killed. This opens the hatch for a green replacement from the secretarial pool named Norman (Logan Lerman). He is not exactly welcomed with open arms (like all other replacements in war movie history). Collier is determined to make a man out of him. Actually, he is determined to make him into the type of man that they have become. Norman will become a productive member of the crew once he learns to kill anything that moves and executes any S.S. bastard that crosses their path (because that’s what they would do to you). The arc is initiated with Norman starting off as a reluctant warrior with some naïve morals. He’s going to gain some testicles and lose that pesky conscience.

    The movie moves through the typical war movie flow of action followed by rest and exposition. The combat scenes are amazing and among some of the best of recent war movies. There is an assault across a field that features a dual with anti-tank guns. Urban warfare of the tank versus sniper variety. A four on one scrimmage against the Tiger which ends up accurately reflecting the odds against Shermans. This particular encounter reflects back upon the opening title card that proclaimed that American tanks were outgunned and outmaneuvered by more advanced German tanks. What sets Fury apart from this fact is that Brad Pitt is in command. The final cataclysm involves the defense of a crossroads against a large S.S. infantry force. It’s last stand time. Surprisingly, the combat scenes are not shot in the “Band of Brothers” and “Saving Private Ryan” style. They rely mostly on explosions and tracers with a medium amount of quick cuts. Add to that the unique tank scenarios where you are racing to get that shot off before it’s your turret that is blown to Hell. The action will have you on the edge of your seat, but not feeling dizzy. You also will not need sunglasses to shade any bright colors. This film’s predominant color is mud. In case you don’t understand the enemy, the music is very Wagneresque.

    Unfortunately, the rest and exposition scenes are troughs. Some of the interactions between the crew and the maturation and acceptance of Norman are awkward. There is a painfully forced blooding of the newbie that defies reality and is offensive toward WWII veterans. Ayer’s attempt to show the truly horrible effects of war on the psyches of the “good guys” veers too far into the trite territory of “warfare strips away your humanity”. There is also the equivalent of a dysfunctional family’s Thanksgiving dinner that includes the war trumps civilization theme.

    The combat scenes create enough good will from war movie lovers to overcome some curious flaws. The film has some extended lulls between the balls to the wall (which happens to be the only graphic wounding that the movie does not depict) action scenes. Curious partly because Ayer finds no opportunity to develop the characters. They are all stereotypes. Pitt plays the hardened leader who is haunted by losses (although he has apparently lost only one man in over two years of serious action). The movie hints at some deep psychic wound, but never delivers. It also implies that the crew blames him for something, yet they are ready to die for him with little questioning. The crew is heterogeneous with the Bible-thumper named “Bible” (Shia LeBeouf probably not having to act too hard), the psychopathic hick named “Coon-Ass” (Jon Bernthal chewing scenery as a cracker, not a Cajun), and the obligatory minority wise-ass named “Gordo” (Michael Pena loving not having competition for audience appeal). The acting is inconsistent. Pitt is solid and obviously has watched film of previous actors playing the exact same role. LeBouef is effective in leaving one to wonder if “Bible” is supposed to be a nutcase or a role model. Depends on if you are a fundamentalist, I suppose. Lerman is in over his head and makes the arc hard to believe. He is cursing up a storm by the end, so there’s that. Bernthal is the weak link. You would be obnoxious too if you had dead meat tattooed on your fore-head.

    The movie is definitely more enjoyable if you have not seen a lot of war movies. I found myself recognizing all the characters (Norman = Upham) and themes from previous movies. Heck, the movie ends with a last stand, who will survive scene. “We ain’t never run before.” And like all fictional cinematic last stands, don’t expect reality to interfere with the carnage. It is instructive to remind that this last stand is not based on a true story like “The Alamo” or “Zulu”. As usual in a war movie aimed at the general public, “Fury” builds to a climax that crosses over the line of reality into the realm of ridiculous. However, up until the end the film is a pretty good portrayal of the lives of tankers. The tank interior is authentic and the operation is well-enacted. The soldier talk is not jarring, although the addition of a catch phrase (“best job I ever had”) is a bit lame.

    Once again I have the dilemma of not wanting to scare off any future war movies. They come along so seldom these days that you have to lower your expectations to not be crushed by unfulfilled anticipation. “Fury” is a bit better than I expected. I was skeptical about a Sherman taking on the German army by itself. The movie confirmed my fears, but it was not laughable and it’s not like we have a lot of great tank movies for it to live up to. I am not a big Sherman fan, but I admire the men who went into combat in them. This movie does them justice, but to be a truly great war movie it needed a better writer than David Ayer. With that said, he has improved since “U-571”.

    GRADE = B-

  • #2
    It's being panned everywhere.
    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
      It's being panned everywhere.
      Too realistic?
      Hyperwar: World War II on the World Wide Web
      Hyperwar, Whats New
      World War II Resources
      The best place in the world to "work".

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
        It's being panned everywhere.
        Actually, it is at a shocking 80% on Rotten Tomatoes.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by OpanaPointer View Post
          Too realistic?
          No. Unfortunately, directors and critics often mistake hellish for realistic. I am amazed at how many critics have lauded its realism. These are people who have not read a lot on military history and mistake graphic and gritty for realism. To that point, "Fury" gets the grit and grime down, but it is not very realistic in what happens in combat. Just one example for now. SPOILER ALERT: Leading into the last stand where the tank and its five man crew face over 200 Germans (and the movie makes it clear they are not Volkssturm), the director has numerous Germans carrying panzerfausts. In REALITY, the Germans would have made short work of a lone immobile tank. In the movie, only two rounds are pathetically fired.

          To tell the truth, I am uncomfortable with my B- because I could tear the movie a new one if I wanted. I just feel it is a sincere effort and deserves to be patted on the back. Thank God it does not claim to be a true story.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for that last one.

            I was planning to see it, but part of me did not like the idea.

            I'll wait for it to be featured on the Movie Channel.

            I am SOOOO hoping that "Thunder Run" coming out next year to be a good and realistic tank movie!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Capt AFB View Post
              Thanks for that last one.

              I was planning to see it, but part of me did not like the idea.

              I'll wait for it to be featured on the Movie Channel.

              I am SOOOO hoping that "Thunder Run" coming out next year to be a good and realistic tank movie!
              I am not recommending you don't see it. It has its charms.

              You and me both on "Thunder Run", but I think there is a very good chance they will "enhance" the action.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for posting a review. I am waiting for the Fury cams to appear on the internet, then I will scroll..........
                Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                Battle of Kalinin October 1941

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                • #9
                  I would rate it a B or B+.

                  Fairly believable in many scenes, I was actually shocked that I liked it.
                  My worst jump story:
                  My 13th jump was on the 13th day of the month, aircraft number 013.
                  As recorded on my DA Form 1307 Individual Jump Log.
                  No lie.

                  ~
                  "Everything looks all right. Have a good jump, eh."
                  -2 Commando Jumpmaster

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Agreed. I saw it today. I liked it. I recommend it.

                    I'm sure people in the know about all things WWII and armor can pick it apart but I thought it seemed to capture the essence of things. Plus, I appreciated some of the details like the way Brad Pitt's chevrons and 2AD patch looked like they had been hand sewn on in the field.

                    I have to love a movie that has an original Tiger I and STG 44s. I can't remember ever seeing a WWII movie with STG 44s before.

                    I might go see it again.
                    "Shoot for the epaulets, boys! Shoot for the epaulets!" - Daniel Morgan

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      What one must remember is that the majority of movie going public, to the most part, are totally ignorant when it comes to movies like this. They go to see the actor and the could care less if what is put forward is even remotely plausible. I get a lot of shushes from the wife when watching TV(however even she has started making comments). Have started going to movies (damn their expensive) and remember to keep silent until we are out of the theater. Since she will not watch this will have to wait until it hits the DVD stage.
                      Too Much To Do Too Little Time

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by FTCS View Post
                        What one must remember is that the majority of movie going public, to the most part, are totally ignorant when it comes to movies like this. They go to see the actor and the could care less if what is put forward is even remotely plausible. I get a lot of shushes from the wife when watching TV(however even she has started making comments). Have started going to movies (damn their expensive) and remember to keep silent until we are out of the theater. Since she will not watch this will have to wait until it hits the DVD stage.
                        "The Equalizer" started at 3:40, "Fury" at 3:50. Peace broke out here.
                        Hyperwar: World War II on the World Wide Web
                        Hyperwar, Whats New
                        World War II Resources
                        The best place in the world to "work".

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KRJ View Post
                          Agreed. I saw it today. I liked it. I recommend it.

                          I'm sure people in the know about all things WWII and armor can pick it apart but I thought it seemed to capture the essence of things. Plus, I appreciated some of the details like the way Brad Pitt's chevrons and 2AD patch looked like they had been hand sewn on in the field.

                          I have to love a movie that has an original Tiger I and STG 44s. I can't remember ever seeing a WWII movie with STG 44s before.

                          I might go see it again.
                          Actually, that was somewhat of a flaw. Field uniform insignia was rarely sown with a cross stitch, dress uniforms done that way are more common. Other minor issues exist but nothing major. Some of the dialogue in a few scenes was over done as well.
                          My worst jump story:
                          My 13th jump was on the 13th day of the month, aircraft number 013.
                          As recorded on my DA Form 1307 Individual Jump Log.
                          No lie.

                          ~
                          "Everything looks all right. Have a good jump, eh."
                          -2 Commando Jumpmaster

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 101combatvet View Post
                            Actually, that was somewhat of a flaw. Field uniform insignia was rarely sown with a cross stitch, dress uniforms done that way are more common.
                            I don't know how common it was but I know that I have seen it in old photos.
                            "Shoot for the epaulets, boys! Shoot for the epaulets!" - Daniel Morgan

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Still better than "Battle of the Bulge", ain't it?
                              Hyperwar: World War II on the World Wide Web
                              Hyperwar, Whats New
                              World War II Resources
                              The best place in the world to "work".

                              Comment

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