While other space cadets are waxing lyrical in their rave reviews of ‘Interstellar’ including Keith Cowing of NASAWatch.com, until we see it, you will just have to put up with a review of the World War II tank movie ‘Fury’ here. Actually, being locked up in a buttoned down tank (or just possibly a mini-submarine) is probably the closest you will get on Earth to what it is like to be cooped up inside modern-day manned space capsule, where the crew all eat, sleep and go to the toilet together. And so that is the excuse this writer uses in writing this review.
The film ‘Fury’ (2014), directed by David Ayer, follows the claustrophobic adventures of a Sherman tank crew as they fight their way through Germany during the latter stages of World War II. War is hell is the generally clichéd story in this movie which, to a great extent, has borrowed most obviously from the plot devices and characters of earlier World War II-set films. For example, there is more than a salute in its look and feel, to Spielberg’s war-and-wet-weather vérité-style shown in ‘Saving Private Ryan’ (1998). It also has echoes of the almost random unfairness and moral dilemmas in the similarly late-war-set ‘The Bridge at Remagen'(1969), to which ‘Fury’ obviously aspires.
‘Fury’ is actually name of a late model Sherman tank with its high velocity 76mm gun – the main star of the film. The other key characters are a wet-behind-the-ears new boy, and our humane hero, Ellison, as played by Logan Lerman – think of the Upham character in Saving Private Ryan (1998) – and a hard-as-nails but ultimately likeable Staff Sergeant tank commander, Don “Wardaddy” Collier, as played by Brad Pitt – think of the rough diamond types played by Telly Savalas in both ‘The Battle of the Bulge’ (1965) and ‘Kelly’s Heroes'(1970).
Meanwhile, the rest of the tank’s burly five man crew are shown to be both amusing and, at the same time, brutally cruel self serving types – well, that is until the final reel of the film is being played out. As they ride to enact Nazi Germany’s ultimate defeat, our heroes find that normal humanity and morality has no real meaning in total war.
In fact, bar Logan Lerman’s young US Army typist turned tank machine gunner, these “war film hardened” players look much older than the actual GI servicemen would have been in World War II. Perhaps that is what war does to you. Or more especially the stress of having to fight the dreaded German Tiger tank. Mind you, the 50-years-young Brad is still able to “play down” quite convincingly, proudly exposing his famous torso which, quite obviously, is not ready for ‘Dad’s Army’ yet.
So is this war film any good? “Hell yes!” as Brad Pitt’s US Army-sergeant character might exclaim in his Southern drawl. ‘Fury’ is an exciting, mesmerising ride, with characters that you begin to hate, and yet, later you find yourself rooting for.
There is violence (of course), as well as lots of swearing, drinking, and undercurrents of desperate sex and even love which soldiers facing death understandably obsess about.
In summary, it may be clichéd, but ‘Fury’ is an engaging and exciting war adventure, with the best Sherman versus Tiger tank shootout since ‘Kelly’s Heroes’ or even the more recent ‘Band of Brothers’ TV series.
Seradata’s rating is 8 out of 10 (9 out of 10 if you liked ‘Saving Private Ryan’).