Runtime: 100 Mins (Est.)
It’s very easy to review a really bad movie or a really good movie. Mediocre movies are the real pains in the ass to review since they offer nothing to outright lay praise on or attack. Screenplays are worse since they’re basically a blueprint, a good director can pull something out of a weak script. Fury is written by David Ayer, the first ten minutes or so are mediocre. Then it hits the gas and goes straight into WW2 action hell, the good type of hell. So it was easy and fun to review, despite the early scare of boredom. This is just a screenplay review, so as ever things could change between it and the final product. Expect residual spoilers. That said, we’re long overdue a good WW2 movie, especially a tank feature. We’re going to get a hell of a show with this movie, I’m certain of it.
The movie is set in the final weeks of WW2 as WarDaddy (Brad Pitt), commander of a Sherman Firely goes headlong into German lines. The story basically is told through the eyes of Logan Lerman (Norman), an 18 year old replacement radio operator for WarDaddy’s tank, and how the young recruit manages being thrown into the meat grinder without any preparation. What Ayer offers here has been a long time coming, not just another WW2 action movie but one focused squarely on tank combat. It’s what I’d loosely call a mixture of Saving Private Ryan and Kelly’s Heroes, with a heavy influence from The Beast of War (review). In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if that movie is what gave Ayer the idea for this one. There are a few similarities that are probably best discovered by watching both movies.
It’s not the perfect movie screenplay. A lot of the dialogue and character interaction feels adolescent and bordering on cringe. It seems like David Ayer can’t introduce a story without his central characters being loud, annoying and firing off dick jokes. This is the mediocrity I’m talking about opening this thing. It also doesn’t help that I really do not like Brad Pitt, and it doesn’t help that his WarDaddy character is annoyingly impervious to all and everything that is happening around him. There’s a strong touch of ‘Aldo Raine’, the joke character from Inglorious Basterds (is silly pastiche shit all Tarantino does these days?), unconcerned and slightly insane. The character is supposed to be one worth studying, but really, it’s just another thinly veiled ‘playing to the crowd’ ego trip to suit Pitt. Which leads to the movies biggest problem and something I feared when Pitt was announced as the lead – Pitt and his tank are practically in ‘God Mode’ throughout most of the movie, tearing his way through all enemies with comparative ease. Fearless. And that’s annoying.
The good outweighs the bad though. This is a pretty vicious and gritty screenplay and is only to happy to let us know about it. The floor of the tank, for example, is described as being awash with blood, gasoline and piss. It feels like we’re really inside a tank with all the grit, lingo and orders that come with that environment. Roaring engine, chaos and hell. It also promises a fight between two Tigers and three Shermans in a field, around a barn. This especially has me excited, it’s the first time this kind of thing has been done in a long, long time. I’m fascinated with just how they’re going to pull this off, the Tigers are not mockups/replicas and there is only one operational and running Tiger in the world. The action is also too intense and detailed for CGI to be used. For teal tank nuts, this kind of thing is like the recreation of the T-Rex in Jurassic Park. This battle takes place by the way, in a movie where the last 60 minutes are comprised of near ceaseless war action, culminating in a battle against the SS.
Despite the less than agreeable cast, the only thing that could ruin this movie is the dreaded shaking-cam-syndrome. If David Ayer doesn’t go there, we got a winner. For sure.