Tank Commander Don Collier (Brad Pitt) leads a group of soldiers on a mission to hold a crossroads from a Nazi SS division in 1945. His loyal subordinates have fought with him from Africa to France on D- Day and now into Germany. The veterans, Boyd Swan, (Shia La Bouf) Trini Garcia, (Michael Pena) and Grady Travis (Jon Bernthal) try to break in a new assistant tank driver, Norman Ellison (Logan Lehrman) who used to be a clerk typist before entering combat. Can the tank soldiers hold the crossroads until reinforcements arrive?
I have heard that Fury is based on a number of true stories from World War II. If that is the case, the collection of stories seem awfully disjointed, and lacking in continuity. Every movie about WWII had a mission to complete. In Saving Private Ryan, the soldiers try to recover a missing soldier, in the Great Escape, a group of allied POW's try to escape a Nazi POW camp, In Stalag 17, the allies try to uncover a Nazi spy in their midst, and probably the best of these is Band of Brothers, which follows the exploits of Easy Company the first parachute infantry regiment during World War II. There is no mission here, no cohesive story, the soldiers just hop from mission to mission, with seemingly no rhyme or reason. It's supposed to be a character study, but the characters are paper thin. Pitt is the leader of the group, but why do these soldiers follow him around through the whole war, and why are they willing to lay their lives on the line for him. The rest of the characters are little more than stereotypes, Swan spouts scripture at every turn, which is an insult to a true Christian. Garcia is a loutish Hispanic character, Grady Travis is the stereotypical Hollywood redneck, which is an insult to Southern people. And Lehrman is the new guy being put through the requisite amount of hazing before being accepted by the group. To top it off, the ending is shockingly unrealistic. If it wanted to concentrate on how muddy, and filthy and bloody war is they succeeded, but again, what kind of story do they want to tell, a heroic war story or a gritty anti-war war movie? The length of the movie, is far too long, and one scene, where the soldiers hold two women prisoner, encapsulates the problem. The scene goes on and on, and doesn't provide any insight to these men, or why they behave they way they do. 2 hours and 14 minutes is horrendously long for a movie with seemingly no point.
The acting is underwhelming. Pitt gives a dull, listless performance, and expects the audience to follow him regardless. It's like he's saying, "I'm a star, that's why you should spend 2+ hours watching me." Sorry, that's not good enough. After two lackluster performances in 12 Years A Slave, and World War Z, I'm beginning to have serious doubts about Pitt's acting ability. He is capable of giving a good performance, he did give a great performance in Inglorious Basterds, ironically a World War II movie. Logan Lehrman gives the best performance, but the character is so hackneyed and clichéd, that it's hard to appreciate his performance. Shia La Bouf easily gives the most insincere performance of his life as a Bible thumping evangelical, and Michael Pena should be ashamed of the lines he has to say. If I want a sermon, I'll go to church, if I want a negative Latino stereotype, I'll watch John Leguizamo.
There is one scene with outstanding cinematography, unfortunately it's the first scene, and then the rest of the movie is filled with a dull sepia imbued film. This is undoubtedly done for effect, but instead of illustrating an uplifting tone, it adds to a depressing tone. The pacing is slow and ponderous, much like a tank ride though Germany. The story meanders for a long time, before trying to build to an exciting ending. It doesn't.
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