Pitt and his soldiers try to end a war with "Fury"

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"Fury" 3/4 stars - In April 1945, United States Armed Forces pushed deep into Germany in hopes to end the Second World War. In the late stages of any war, experienced men fighting on the front lines obviously show signs of war weariness with grim outlooks, hardened nerves and blank stares. For one team of soldiers (Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena, and Jon Bernthal) - who served together to “kill Nazis” in North Africa, France and now, Germany - they have fallen into this zombie-like state. Their days, weeks and years have morphed into a never-ending slog on the battlefield within their tank in a motorized infantry, and before the Germans finally give up, many more people will die. This is writer/director David Ayer’s premise, and he offers an effective, but ugly look at the savagery of war (but truly, is there every a beautiful look of war?). Drones are not dropping bombs from 20,000’, but instead, men are blowing each other up with land-based artillery guns or killing within close quarters. In the very first scene, we see Sgt. Collier (Pitt) jump out of his Sherman tank and repeatedly stab a SS soldier in his left eyeball. Right away, Ayer warns us of our difficult 2 hour 14 minute experience of last throes of WWII’s European front. The movie’s title refers to the white-painted letters on Collier’s main tank gun, and it certainly delivers “FURY”. The movie features Collier’s crew of three in familiar interactions we’ve experienced from many other war movies, as they reminisce about previous battles, argue over benign topics and bond when it most counts. The chemistry is good, but not terribly unique or special, and their apple cart teeters a bit when a fresh-faced kid - Norman (Logan Lerman) - with no fighting experience joins their group within the ironclad war machine. Norman needs to grow up in a hurry, and Collier shows his anti-hero colors, and - along with Norman - the audience feels the need to buckle up for a hellish journey across the rolling green fields and through shattered villages under miserable gray skies. Tanks and foot soldiers alike march on foot through mud and on broken bodies, and with enemies threatening Americans from anywhere direction on the German countryside, the tension reigns high. Actually, dread reigns high, and Pitt, LaBeouf, Pena, Bernthal, and Lerman realistically play their parts of coping with despair and bringing death. “Fury” is an engaging war picture with hang-wringing suspense and high drama. Obviously, we know how the war ends, but the fate of these five lonely men remains a huge question. The narrative and the performances make this a war film more than a worthy trip to the theatre to discover their fates.

Image credits: Columbia Pictures