Just been watching…(20)

Fury (2014)

***No real spoilers. But it is about WW2, so you know that the Germans lost***

This is a modern war film that is a lot like many not-so-modern war films. If you are a fan of war films, you will like it. If you enjoyed ‘Saving Private Ryan’, you will like it. If neither, then don’t bother to read any further, because you won’t like it.

I should really have watched this on the big screen, but I was too lazy to drag myself into Norwich. Instead I waited a while, and bought a used copy from Amazon for less than 40P! As much of the film is set inside the cramped confines of a Sherman Tank, it works just as well on DVD, watching on a decent-sized flat screen TV.

Set a few weeks before the end of the war in 1945, American forces are facing bitter fighting deep inside Germany itself. They are opposed by the powerful Tiger Tanks of the enemy, and fanatical Waffen SS soldiers who refuse to surrender. There is the usual scene-setting, as the various members of the tank crew are introduced to the audience. Every war film cliche is presented rapidly. Sullen prisoners staring from behind wire cages, long lines of defeated soldiers and displaced civilians lining the roads; the mud, debris, and shattered buildings of a war-torn land.

Cue some more war film stand-bys as we get to know the crew. There is the hardened and respected tank commander, ‘Wardaddy’ (Brad Pitt), the religious quiet man, ‘Bible’ (Shia LeBeouf) the lumbering good old boy from the south, ‘Coon Ass’ (John Bernthal) and last but not least, the token non-white, in this case a Mexican, ‘Gordo’. (Michael Pena). They all have nicknames, even the tank, which is the ‘Fury’ of the title. Into this mix arrives the out of place new boy, Norman. (Logan Lerman) He should be a typist, but as often happens, the army has mistakenly sent him into action as a tank man instead. (Sound familiar?) Then there is the green and nervy Lieutenant Parker (Xavier Samuel), and the tough Captain Waggoner. (Jason Isaacs)

Once we have established everyone’s role in the proceedings, we finally get to see some action. A good war film hinges on having good action sequences, and this is where ‘Fury’ scores. Realistic vehicles, tanks, and weapons, exciting action, and edge of the seat battles. Once the film gets into this, it never fails to convince, and does not rely heavily on CGI to show us what went on either. Without detailing every event, it is enough to say that you could feel the impact when a tank was hit, and ducked your head as enemy fire came dangerously close. There is also some diversion from the norm when it comes to dealing with the enemy too. Prisoners are shot out of hand, and enemy soldiers are ruthlessly mown down during the fighting.

New guy Norman does not want to fight, but ‘Wardaddy’ makes it his mission to toughen the boy up, and make a soldier out of him. He eventually nicknames Norman ‘Machine’, showing that he is finally accepted into the close-knit crew. I could go on about some scenes involving German women, child soldiers, or moments of kindness shown by these tough guys. But I won’t, because it is all about the action. The claustrophobic atmosphere inside the moving tank, the fact that they are outgunned by the superior German tanks, and the way that the crew stick together and look after each other.

As a war film, it works, and works very well indeed. Here’s a trailer.

If you would like to see more war films about tanks, then I recommend the Russian film, ‘White Tiger'(2012), and the Israeli film, ‘Lebanon’. (2009) (Stop yawning over there!)

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35 thoughts on “Just been watching…(20)

  1. I agree.. this film works good for me, Pete. Being a history nut and World War nut I do look for accuracy in war films. Things like the correct weapons being used, uniform detail, correct time frames, etc. Now, I don’t get all whacky like some people who might say, “If you pause the movie at the precise spot as the Fury tank fires at the Tiger you will see coming out of the muzzle a Type 3 AP Knuckleduster round. Everyone knows those weren’t used until AFTER the April 20 assassination attempt against Hitler. This should have been an early version Type1C HE Ballbuster round.” Yeah… ok.
    But you gotta admit… CG graphics in war pictures do open up new concepts of reality.
    By the way, I just watched a Youtube about some yearly tank exposition thing at some museum in your country.. and the Fury tank was there on display.

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  2. Sorry Pete, but this is one of the worst war films I have ever parted company with my money to watch! Everything about it stinks of Hollywood historical inaccuracy, like the film U-571! I forced myself to sit through it a second time, just to make sure that I was wasn’t being overly harsh, but came to the same conclusion! I will e-mail you with my complaints separately, rather than spoil this turkey for the rest of your readers. And I too am a ‘tank lover’!
    Regards to all.

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    1. Fair enough mate. At the end of the day, it’s just a war film. Good enough for 38P in my book. The story plays out pretty much as you would expect, and I didn’t think it was as dire as U571 myself.
      Cheers, and love to all the family. Pete.

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      1. And what’s wrong with U-571? Ok.. it’s fiction.. the sub “physics” were acceptable… the detail was good.. and I liked the plot. It’s wasn’t meant to be a docu-drama. I can vouch for the accuracy of the sub. At the end credits it lists the U-boats captured. I was born and raised in Chicago and I’ve got more time on a U-boat than the original crew. The U-505 is on display at the Museum of Science & Industry… and I must have been on that thing twenty times in my 65 years, between school trips and just visiting.. and with my own kids. Loads of photos. Even the Enigma machine. In fact, it was the first capture on the high seas our Navy made since The War of 1812 when we grabbed one of your boats.

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        1. I would have visited that sub a lot too, had I lived in Chicago. I did get to go around the Soviet-era nuclear sub, when it was on display moored on the Thames, in London. Same type as in ‘K-19:The Widowmaker’.
          Regards, Pete.

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  3. I read about this film when it came out, and would have liked to have seen it. Although I have viewed some World War II films at the movie theater, I only own a handful on DVD: “Enemy at the Gates,” “Patton,” “Inglorious Basterds,” “The Great Escape,” “Von Ryan’s Express,” and “Soldier of Orange.” (I wasn’t sure about including Spielberg’s “1941,” Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” and “Casablanca” on that list.) I haven’t bought any DVDs now for a couple of years (I have way too many already!). Maybe I’ll eventually get around to borrowing “Fury” from the library. Right now, I’m more into writing fiction than watching films….

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    1. I know you are busy writing, David, so always appreciate you taking time to comment. As I said, this was a second-hand copy, incredibly cheap from Amazon. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have seen it myself.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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