By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
Writer/director David Ayer and his crew bring an impressive visual style and outstanding editing and visual effects to Fury, but unfortunately has a script with some questionable writing. This dark, gritty, and sometimes horrific war film has some truly impressive battle scenes, but the problems become apparent in the scenes not involving combat. If I were to watch this movie again, I would want to fast forward through these awkwardly written and paced moments. Fury is definitely worth a first time theatrical viewing, all the way through, but is a film that would require a remote control for subsequent viewings.
Brad Pitt stars as Staff Sergeant Don Collier, a hardened and grizzled commander of an army tank crew. It is towards the end of World War II, but the army’s tank division faces a formidable enemy in the German tank unit. The German tanks are much larger and have more firepower. Collier and his crew, which includes Boyd Swan (Shia LaBeouf), Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman), Trini Garcia (Michael Pena), and Grady Travis (Jon Bernthal), must summon up the courage and will to face their enemies in what are nearly no-win situations.
I will give kudos to Ayer, his cinematographer Roman Vasyanov, editiors Jay Cassidy, Jody Dorn, and all who worked on visual and sound effects because the tank battle sequences are truly amazing. These are the moments that held me enthralled and on the edge of my seat. However, Ayer makes some truly odd and bizarre choices in the writing and direction of one particular sequence showing the group during their down time. The whole scenario plays out quite awkwardly and drags on way too long. This, some continuity issues and poor choices, which unrealistically play out, really keep this movie from being an all-time, great war picture.
In addition to these problems, I was not particularly impressed with Brad Pitt in this movie. His acting isn’t horrible, but it feels like a toned down rehash of his Aldo Raine character from Inglourious Basterds. I expected more from Pitt and for this lead character. On the other hand, the acting of Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, and Jon Bernthal did actually impress me. Michael Pena does offer a little comic relief as Garcia, but ultimately doesn’t bring much dimension to the character. That may be the fault of Ayer’s writing as well.
The writing seems to be the main problem with this movie. I can get over Brad Pitt’s rehash of a performance, but the centerpiece scene in the movie really is just a waste of time and of the actors’ talents. I must highly recommend this movie for a theatrical matinee, simply for the battle scenes, but perhaps a trip to bathroom or the concessions stand may be in order during the soldiers’ R&R.