Director: David Ayer.
Cast: Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Peña, Jon Bernthal, Jason Isaacs.
|"I'd kiss you, but they won't allow that stuff in the army for at least another 60 years."|
From early classic war movies such as All Quiet On The Western Front and The Big Parade through to recent efforts such as Lone Survivor and The Railway Man, the futility and brutality of war seems to have been shot from every imaginable angle.
So it's somewhat refreshing to ride along in the tank named Fury for a couple of hours and get a Sherman's eye-view of WWII's final months - a viewpoint rarely seen in war movies.
But Ayer's film still can't quite escape the "seen it all before" sensation that comes with the territory, and as the clichés start to pile up around Fury like dead Nazis, this tank runs out of gas.
Pitt stars as Sgt Collier, commander of the M4 Sherman tank, who has led his crew of Bible (LaBeouf), Gordo (Peña) and Grady (Bernthal) since the campaigns of North Africa.
When their fifth crew member is killed, new guy Norman (Lerman) is thrown into Fury and it's through his eyes we see the dehumanising effects and harsh realities of war.
This isn't necessarily a criticism - more the reality of the genre - but in this film's case, there is an almost overwhelming collection of clichés, leading to a strong sense of deja vu and an air of predictability.
Where Fury really excels is when it tries to give us something different, which is during its fantastic and fascinating tank warfare scenes. War films have regularly run through the trenches and battlefields, consulted with the generals, taken on secret missions, sat in the cockpits of fighter planes, and disappeared beneath the waves in a sub, but riding inside the armoured hull of a Sherman gives the film a novel perspective. The way it handles its "first kill" moment also stands out.
The cast is also great. The under-rated LaBeouf, who seemed like he'd gone off the deep end in recent times, gives the film's stand-out performance as the tank crew's teary-eyed religious zealot, although Lerman (in his meatiest role to date) and the always excellent Pitt are also stellar. The cast chemistry is strong, even if we hardly get to know the characters.
But under the weight of its familiarity and its strangely over-the-top ending, Fury's weaknesses become all too obvious.
It remains somewhat memorable for its armour-plated manoeuvres but also oddly forgettable at the same time due to its reliance on tropes. Fury is destined to be remembered as "that so-so tank movie" rather than a modern classic of the war genre.