World War II is a time of tragedy, dismay, horror, and for Hollywood an opportunity to make movies. We’ve seen this historical time period represented in so many ways that you wonder what battle, or aspect we have left to cover. This weekend, the historical archives have been rooted once again, to deliver to us the tales of tank battle warfare. My review is on Fury, the action thriller released this weekend to most major theaters. With all the premovie showings and Hollywood exclusives, I was curious as to what the design team had in store for me. What’s my verdict? Sit back, relax, and read my review.
Where to start? I guess on the first big strength of the film, the action. This movie contains a bountiful number of intense battles in the German countryside. These exciting and suspenseful bouts of metal behemoth chaos are filled with enough explosions and special effects to make Michael Bay jealous, though in this case they are actually relevant. Audience members will be brought into the full experience with the incredible editing of the audio effects, as bombs, bullets, and the likes soar through the theater. You might be thinking, big deal I have plenty of movies that give me a similar experience. What’s so great about this movie? For this reviewer, most movies don’t bring you into the full tank experience. Fury plops us into the mechanisms of tank warfare, showing us the inner workings and the teamwork required to full operate the instrument of death. Each team member, or cast in this case, plays an integral cog in the maintenance of the metal monster, and one gets to feel they are working alongside them the whole time. In addition, the battles have strategy behind them as well, each fight having a different element and target than the last. While the colored bullets of green and red were a bit ridiculous, Star Wars anyone, it didn’t take too much away from the thrill that was Fury’s action shots.
Action is only one element of the experience though, for it’s the motley crew assembled that adds more depth to the movie. Leading the cast is popular heart throb Brad Pitt playing Don the commander at large. Pitt does his role well, the stalwart general who puts up with little crap to the point of being a jerk seems to be a natural part for him to play. Yet, somehow he plays the paternal role to the group and has that softer side that makes him likable. Batting second in command is Shia LaBeouf who finally left the artificially created Autobots to fight a war on his own. LaBeouf surprised me with his performance, a character who was grounded yet not afraid to fight off the enemy. His pipes from Transformers were put to good use in this film, his screams actually relevant to battle instead of calling for Optimus. Such a mature role was a welcome asset to the film, and I look forward to seeing more of these in the future. Logan Lerman has also graduated to a more mature role, and was a good character to play Norman the typist dropped into the horror that is war. Lerman’s character makes a lot of transitions through this movie, and the young actor did a nice job portraying the struggles of a rookie in war. While the evolution into a Nazi killing machine was rather sudden, I think Lerman handled the emotions well and kept them in control. As for Michael Peña and Jon Bernthal, they too did a nice job as supporting character, playing the more aggressive and blunt tank soldiers that represent the animals men can become in the heat of battle. Regardless, the chemistry between this team was phenomenal, almost as if they were truly brothers of war and they were a team forged by battle.
As for the problems with the film, they start with the character development. Fury’s character development was rather poor at points. Yes, we got to see emotions and outlooks of each member towards the Nazi’s, but aside from that the history of the soldiers was left in mystery. Pitt’s panic attacks went unexplained, the pictures and backstory’s of the other crew, pretty much nonexistent. In truth only Lerman’s character had any real development, and that was due to him evolving into a true solider. This ambiguous nature made the characters a little one dimensional for this reviewer, and in truth a little hard to latch onto. In addition to this weakness, the next flaw in the movie is some of the scenes they put into the fray. Fury has a span of almost forty minutes of pure, boring, unnecessary downtime. As my buddy pointed out it was to relieve some tension and give some character development, but it failed for me and left me half asleep at points. Some post editing could, or scene directing I felt is needed to make a more relevant, and quicker, attempt to get some depth to our team. As for the ending, it leaves you a little cheated, proud at what unfolded, but at the same time disappointed by the inconclusive ending. There are a few other things that are a bit picky, but let’s wrap this review up shall we?
Fury is a great war story, filled with excitement, emotions, and brotherhood. I warn families to exercise caution with taking their younger family members to this, because it is bloody, filled with vulgar language, and intense. The battles themselves are merit enough to see this one in theaters, but the flaws I mentioned do take a way from the movie itself. It’s no Saving Private Ryan, but Fury is a nice change up from the genres that seem to flood the theater. My scores for this film are:
Movie Overall 7.5-8.0