When Fury was first announced it got me thinking. When was the last great World War II based film? The most obvious answer to that is Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan, but can you believe it has now been seventeen years since that film was released! Of course we have seen other outings such as the brilliant TV mini-series' Band of Brothers and The Pacific but it has been a long time since a great World War II film - and finally we have one in Fury which focuses on a little-seen aspect of the war. Those who battled from within a tank.
April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named "Wardaddy" (Brad Pitt) commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.
Directed by David Ayer (End of Watch, Sabotage) this film really puts you in the heat of the action, and brutality of war. Indeed, the director has never been one to shy away from mature content in his films and Fury has plenty of swearing - perhaps more then any film set during World War II - as well as some very gruesome, but realistic, moments such as the tank rolling over a body squished into the mud, or a head being taken off by gunfire. These moments are fleeting rather then sickening and only add to the overall experience.
Generally the film runs at a pretty brisk pace althoguh around midway into the film the crew liberates a town and Wardaddy and Norman spend time with two German girls and have a meal which is then interrupted by the remainder of the crew. While the scenes seemed overly long and unnecessary they actually become one of the more memorable sequences which define the futility and harshness of war. Hving said that I wasn't a fan of how it showed Wardaddy's tank crew at odds with each other and even disobeying orders to a degree.
Where this film falters slightly is in the last act which contains a battle sequence that simply becomes too excessive and unbelievable. Sure, tanks are built as killing machines, but surely a German SS batallion would come up with better tactics then to become cannon fodder.
If there is one slight complaint - and this is more at the actual film then the transfer - some dialogue is a little mumbled due to their accents although we would have also loved a 7.1 mix and 24-bit audio as well.
Subtitles are provided in English, English SDH, French and Spanish and we sampled the English track which was accurate to the on-screen dialogue and interestingly has a black background behind the text making it much easier to read.
Deleted & Extended Scenes (56:13/HD): A total of sixteen scenes are presented here and there is some fantastic material that could have been edited back into the film for an Extended Cut. These include "Alternate Camp Entrance" (7:58), "Giving A Hand" (3:51), "Bonding On The Way" (3:18), "D-Ration" (2:39), "Killing A Man" (2:48), "Nervous Soldier" (4:29), "Chocolate Bar" (1:00), "Cuddling" (0:54), "The Life Line" (2:24), "Shooting Horses" (9:09), "Taken By Surprise" (0:48), "Rose" (3:29), "Rose - Extended" (9:04), "A Close Call" (2:23), "Warning Wardaddy" (3:04), and "Burn Out" (0:34). The only disappointment is that the clips are only presented with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio at 192kbps, but the video quality is pretty solid overall.
Blood Brothers (11:08/HD): Running for 11 minutes this featurette focuses on the bonding of the men in the tank, and how the filmmakers got the actors prepared for the film including meeting the real veterans for insight into what it was like in the war, and the actors training and bonding for the role.
Armored Warriors: The Real Men Inside The Sermans (12:11/HD): This is a fascinating featurette with four veterans talking about their experiences during World War II with additional input from director David Ayer who had family members fight in the war.
Taming The Beasts: How To Drive, Fire & Shoot Inside A 30 Ton Tank (12:48/HD): Another very interesting piece this time focusing on the tanks used in the film, including using the five Sherman tanks, and the only operational Tiger tank in the world. This clip looks at filming with the tanks, filming on them, getting the actors to look like they were experienced with the tanks and filming in the confined spaces.
Photo Gallery (HD): This is a massive collection of 120 photos from the film and production.
Review By: Dave Warner