Tuesday, 24 February 2015


Lowdown: An American tank crew fights for survival towards the end of WW2’s European campaign.
Saving Private Ryan is a tough act to follow, at least when it comes to the visceral portrayal of the horrors of World War 2 fighting. Since that movie came along, at the second half of the nineties, not many a movie tried to follow its line of attack. Yes, you get your The Thin Red Line, but that was more of a psychological experience. But perhaps due to a Brad Pitt wishing to establish himself as the next Tom Hanks, Fury tries to fit itself exactly into the foxhole occupied by Private Ryan.
Fury revolves around the crew of Fury, an adequately named Sherman tank that’s been to the thick of World War 2 since D-Day and is now firmly into German territory. Everybody knows the days of German resistance are coming to end. However, this does not mean that the Germans are not putting up a fight; it is their homes they are now defending, with their Nazi regime forcing even the children to put up a fight or hang from the top of a pole at the public square instead. That one last push aside, Nazi Germany had significant technological advantages over the Allies when it came to tank vs. tank warfare. The result? Heavy casualties to the Allied armoured divisions.
We meet up with Fury shortly after a battle that has it as the sole surviving Allied tank. Not all crew members made it: there’s tank commander Don (Pitt). There's gunner Boyd (Shia LaBeouf, whose alleged retirement I regarded as a win/win situation but which does not seem to have happened). There's the psychotic and menacing mechanic (Jon Bernthal, who – since dying in The Walking Dead – seems to have established a niche for himself through The Wolf of Wall Street and now Fury). There's even a tank driver, but there is no machine gunner; the latter is now in pieces.
Given that times are tough, a newly recruited office worker of extreme youthful appearance and zero experience in battle, Norman (Logan Lerman), is offered as a replacement. It is obvious this Norman is at odds with the battle hardened crew; predictability wise, given Fury is an American movie after all, it becomes obvious that either mentor Don or student Norman will not make it to the credits.
If you’ve seen Private Ryan then you’d know where Fury is heading off to. You will have your battles, you will have the windows into the souls of the warriors as they witness death all around them (both with comrades as well as civilian population), you will have conflicts between the crew members, and you will get your final suicidal epic last stand against the concentrated forces of Nazi Germany. As I said, predictable.
To its credit, Fury is very intense. If it’s a war movie that you seek, you will not be disappointed; some scenes here look like they came straight off World of Tanks. If you are after a movie that shows the horror of war, look no further; I will argue that of all the war movies I have seen, Fury probably tops the list when it comes to me wondering how a soul battered by such war experiences can ever go back to being a functional member of a healthy society. Yet there is one thing that Fury isn’t: it isn’t Saving Private Ryan, and it doesn’t reach half the peaks achieved by Spielberg’s masterpiece.
Overall: Fury is good, but it cannot rise above second best. 3.5 out of 5 hard shelled crabs.

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