Fury – 4 out of 5
|I'm pretty sure that man in the middle is a character|
from Game of Thrones.
War movies can be a difficult pill to swallow sometimes. Whether you like it or not, war movies are propaganda. Some are a little more subtle in that fact but, in the end (especially when made by Hollywood), they’re out to say how ‘Murica kicked some ass—said ass belonging to Nazis, Charlie or the absolutely horrible nicknames Toby Keith fans have created for absolutely everyone of Middle Eastern decent during our never-ending conflict overseas. Another issue is every certain war has their own stereotypes that come with it—for example, films about Vietnam always have "Fortunate Son" on its soundtrack and, apparently, everyone who served over there lost their mind and are on the verge of snapping and murdering innocent people any second. WWII has a little easier history with film because Adolf and his army were truly, honestly, absolutely fucking horrible people and the fight is as close to as a comic book-style Good vs. Evil match as you can get with war (I realize it’s not a popular outlook but war rarely is such a thing, there are so many shades of gray to consider). So, in that sense, I have an easier time watching war movies about WWII than I do about our more recent wars—especially skirmishes in Iraq. The thing is, history has already recorded what happened and how it happened so any debate, like the arguments over American Sniper recently has shown, aren't really around to get in the way in any significant or heated way…it also helps that this film is pretty amazing!
|The horse is a huge Pitt fan.|
|Fuck...look at that mane.|
In 1945 during the Allies great push in the war, Don "Wardaddy" Collier (Brad Pitt with some incredible fucking hair) and his team; Boyd "Bible" Swan (Shia LaBeouf), Trini "Gordo" Garcia (Michael Peña), and Grady "Coon-Ass" Travis (Jon Bernthal), are given a new recruit to join their tank crew after they lose their assistant gunner/driver. Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) is wet as wet can be behind the ears and has abso-fucking-lutely no experience in a tank and doesn’t have the stomach for war. Soon, Wardaddy and his crew are sent, alongside a few other tanks, to go hold a vital crossroads. Along the way, Ellison is given a harsh dose of the realities of war and the team sees all their tanks lost but the one Wardaddy and his team call home. Now, alone, they must hold the crossroad as an army of Nazis march their way.
|"This is Tyler Durden signing off."|
War movies about WWII are pretty straight forward: The war itself is dirty, horrifying and brutal and the enemy was so horrible that they would be cast as film villains for the rest of eternity. Like I stated earlier, enough time has passed that the ink on the pages of the history books have long since dried and there’s no real question or debate over whether or not we should have been involved. So watching something like Fury doesn’t involve some internal discussion like something akin to Lone Survivor would bring. Ultimately, this made it a lot easier for me to engross myself in and watch the characters go through their journeys and hardships.
|"They're pew-pewing at us, men. Quickly, pew-pew back at them!"|
The story that David Ayer (director of Sabotage, End of Watch and the upcoming Suicide Squad) wrote was something simple but incredibly effective. The drama, on paper, is nothing really new in the world of war movies. A tight knit squad has a new member that, initially, is an outsider and that outsider is unprepared for just how fucking insane war is. However, the strength of Ayer’s visuals and the incredible performances (and shocking, hardcore action) helped make this film standout and become something bigger than the cliché it had the potential to end up as.
|The Nazis legacy? Being villains in works of fiction until the end of time and having their|
leader be used as a comparison to people when they disagree on pointless shit on the Internet.
Ayer’s visuals perfectly showcase the theater of war that is WWII and that has been ingrained, nearly genetically, into audiences thanks to anecdotes from the Greatest Generation, documentaries, and history lessons. The world is muddy, greasy, dirty, smoky, cold, violent and hard to look at. He perfectly showed the horror that is war through not only the visceral and shocking (and I mean really shocking) violence during the action but through something as simple as the shots of the crew or the tank moving across the screen in the fire, smoke, blood, and wet mud. Combine this with Ayer’s drive to bring realism to nearly every aspect and you have a feature that feels more authentic than tales that were actually adapted from real life events in the war.
|To showcase how horrifying the action can be, that splatter you are seeing was once|
a person's face.
|War is fun...just kidding, it's not.|
Additionally, this film has some absolutely amazing acting. There were solid bets in the cast that you already knew were going to be amazing and they don’t disappoint. Players like Brad Pitt—whose handsomeness and good looks make me feel extremely insignificant as a man—and Jon Bernthal and Michael Peña are all actors I enjoy and have, almost with a perfect batting average, have always knocked it out of the park with me. Even Logan Lerman has a great track record as well with me. I dig him as Percy Jackson and a few other projects he’s been in—hell, I’ve even threw his name around when some buddies of mine and I were discussing who should be the next Spider-Man after Marvel Studios and Sony reached their epic deal. Granted, I will say that I occasionally thought Lerman was laying it on a little too thick with his "I’m losing my innocence in this war and this shit is horrifying as fuck" moments but it wasn’t horrendous. One actor, however, I was unprepared for…
|The look he's giving means he's either scared still or just shat his pants...which|
is also scary enough to make you stand still.
In past reviews, I’ve been quite unkind to Shia LaBeouf. I’ve called him names like Shia LaDouche or Stutter LaBadActor but, lately, I’ve slowly started to come around with him. While I didn’t care for Nymphomaniac and its sequel that much, I was impressed with LaBeouf's performance and that controversial Sia video with him in it really threw me for a loop because it was one of the most tragically beautiful things I’ve ever seen (unlike some denizens of the ‘net, I didn’t see pedophilia in that video…I actually saw the battle of parent and child when I watched it but what do I know?). And then this film came along and I saw LaBeouf who wasn’t stammering like a fool and staring wide-eyed at everything like he’s tripping on narcotics. I saw a realistic and moving performance and it has become the final straw for me to realize that this guy truly does have talent…I guess he just shouldn’t be in popcorn summer action films.
|Please keep the path you're taking your career on, Mr. LaBeouf.|
|This was expected, we all knew this shot was going|
to happen in the film.
Fury is pretty awesome but it’s not perfect. My complaints and drawbacks are minimal. Really, the only problem I had was I wanted more development from Gordo and Coon-Ass. Both have terrific scenes and help craft the dynamic of the tank crew but I felt I knew less about them than I did Wardaddy, Bible and Ellison. Finally, the film doesn’t offer a lot of replay value. While the story is interesting and intense and capable of being tragic, horrifying, shocking, amusing, dramatic, and filled with the indomitable spirit of soldiers out to do what is needed of them, it is a little on the long side and, even with all its shocking action and spectacular scenes, doesn’t contain enough memorable moments that I want to go and relive over and over again. That sounds harsh but I don’t mean it to be. The film is still really awesome and I will watch it again but it just didn’t have that certain magic to get me to watch it more than a few times in my life.
|Enjoy this still of Bernthal itching his head with a spoon.|
Despite my very minor criticisms, Fury is still a very incredible film that has a killer story, some "HOLY FUCK! Did that just happen?" style action and absolutely perfect performances.
|That tank should be nominated for an award. It's performance was incredible.|
I actually believed it was a Sherman tank.