"I started this war killing Germans in Africa. Now i'm killing Germans in Germany."
It’s a safe bet that Fury is certainly not a traditional tale of bravery and sacrifice against incredible odds. This group of men stuck in a confined metal box and constantly being shot at. Tempers will be frayed, and egos will clash. There is no nobility, there is no victory, there is only survival.
In the closing days of the war as the allies make their final push into German territory a small group of men undergo a dangerous mission and… wait, this is not Saving Private Ryan is it, no. Oh, it’s in a tank. Okay. Anyway, mission behind enemy lines… ah, with only a tank with the word fury sprawled across the gun barrel.
It may seem cruel to instantly compare this to the best World War 2 film of all time (it just is). But the main selling point of this film was to depict a brutal and unseen side of the war. This phase is often thought of as being one to celebrate, but as this film depicts, the killing and violence is far from over. Actually, you know what, I cannot help but compare this to Spielberg’s epic drama. It may seem unfair, but so far this film looks as if it wants to everything that Private Ryan already accomplished. It has more effects and an ensemble cast to assist it though.
The cast all give a pleasing performance. Especially Shia LaBeouf, I believe that Fury could really be the start of a comeback for the actor. Brad Pitt manages to convey this brutal and horrific world into the tank and onto the screen. But the problem is that given that the last time we saw him in an army uniform was in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, one of the most charismatic roles of the last ten years. Here in comparison, with such a similar style he just looks a bit dull.
The other characters are difficult to pin down. There’s a new recruit who’s never been in combat before and at this point Spielberg should be more suspicious of how many plot points they have borrowed from him. Naturally the rest of the crew treat him as an outsider, but they do not connect with him at all by the end of the film. As a result you sort of dislike the main characters, I know it’s supposed to be a case of no honour in the tank but give us at least one likable character. Some members of the tank bully him more than others, but no one steps in to put a stop to it. Instead they just laugh along, so you just end up hating them all.
That does generate problems, in Saving Private Ryan you want the characters to pull through. Even if we do not know all of the individual characters you know enough about Tom Hanks to realise that every man he loses takes him further away from home. So you want them to survive for his sake. Fury seems to lack that kind of drama or development. There are a few clichés piling up as well, after all the plot is essentially a copy of Steven’s film, but in a tank.
There is fighting, big explosions, tense standoffs. It’s a nice mix of action. The film does do a great job of including a harsh realism in all of the scenes so the film can be held as a good look into the atmosphere of the war. It does a good job of immersing the viewer in this world. It manages to do what it wants by saying that there are no heroes in war. It is just about survival.
Fury may display its point of the horrors of war enough to send a message, but as a film it lacks enough dramatic depth to really standout. As an action film it works, as a message it works. But as a genuine tragic film about war, it misses the mark a bit.