It is April 1945. American tanks are out-gunned and out-armored by the German tanks. Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt) commands the Fury tank. He has promised his crew, Boyd “Bible” Swan (Shia LaBeouf), Trini “Gordo” Carcia (Michael Pena), and Grady “Coon Ass” Travis (Jon Bernthal) that he would keep them alive. So far, Don has kept his promise. When they return to the American base after an attack that destroyed the other tanks in the battle, and killed the last member of his crew, Don gets a replacement. Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) has been in the Army all of 8 weeks when he is assigned to Fury. Don is not happy about the assignment, but has no choice but to take the new recruit.
Fury and the remaining tanks from the base are given a mission to meet up with another tank battalion to overtake another city nearby. After several encounters with German troops that severely reduce the number of American tanks, Fury is sent to protect a nearby crossroads as a detachment of Germans head to the city. Don and his boys are the last hope for the Americans to maintain control of the city.
Fury is a loud, dirty, gritty World War II movie. It is definitely a Hollywood prettification of war. You get the feeling that you are in the middle of a battle zone, if for no other reason than the sound will literally shake you in your seat. This is where the movie excels. The action scenes are excellently done.. It is raw and brutal, as war is. There is an intensity that will almost put you on the edge of your seat. This intensity carries through to the final scenes of the movie.
Brad Pitt plays the seemingly always in control tank commander who knows how to get things done. The problem is, he’s almost too cool to be in World War II. His character seems a bit out of place. And when he takes his shirt off, to appease the significant others of the macho audience the film was intended for, he’s a bit too chiseled for someone who has been fighting in the war for 3 years.
I wanted to like Shia LaBeouf in this film. I’ve seen several interviews with him lately. He seems like he’s really turned himself around after a few years of bad choices (Transformers 2 and 3, included). But, as his tank name, “Bible,” indicates, he does little more than spout Bible verses the entire movie.
Logan Lerman is probably the stand-out in the movie. His naïve, not ready for war tank gunner is, I’m sure, how many new recruits felt when they were first thrust into battle. Logan is very convincing in the role. Kudos.
Perhaps my biggest complaint about Fury is that everyone is barely intelligible at the beginning of the film. I was struggling to understand anything anyone was saying. I don’t know if it got better as the film went on, or I just got used to it and was able to understand more. On top of that, all the characters seemed like they just wandered out of some backwoods shack. Very redneck. This may have been used to demonstrate the diversity and inexperience of many soldiers, and just what the war can do to a person. It was a little off-putting.
There also wasn’t really much of a plot. It was a lot of rambling around and shooting at each other. Yes, this is what war is, but it doesn’t always make for a good movie. You need some sort of underlying narrative to tell, aside from just following a tank crew through Germany.
Fury isn’t the worst movie I’ve seen. It just could have been better. The first step could have been cutting about half an hour from the film’s 2 hour 14 minute run time. The scene in the city they were overtaking could have been almost completely cut from the movie. Its point was to demonstrate the dynamics between Fury’s original crew and the new guy. But it just dragged on too long.
If you’re planning to see Fury, I would almost recommend waiting for the RedBox. However, if you want to experience it as the war epic it could have been, see it in the theater to get the full seat-rumbling effect.