Now from what I can tell Fury is not based on any true story. I’m fine with this, not all war movies have to be based on something that really happened. In the last several years we’ve seen a minor come back for war films. David Ayer the director of Training Day brings a gritty vision to a film genre that I believe lost it’s balls recently. Problem is the film almost goes too dark.
Brad Pitt is a stand out in this film. Frankly without him the movie might have really struggled. He is the commanding officer of a tank lead by men who have seen too much combat. They’ve been together for a long time, fought through Africa and France and now find themselves in Germany with their foot on the throat of the Nazi’s.
The rest of the team is made up of “Bible” the religious man of the group played by Shai Labeouf. “Gordo” played by the impressive Michael Pena. Then of course there is “Coon-ass” played by Shane… I mean Jon Berthal. They are paired up with a new kid played by Logan Lerman. They pick at each other and at many times seem like animals. Slowly we see them become brothers. The actors are all fine but really don’t stand out against Pitt.
The best thing about this movie is that there really isn’t any secret mission they go on or anything. They simply lumber forward and fight off desperate Germans. In one scene they fight children armed with rockets. Unlike other movies that try and find some sort of light hearted or meaning to war, Fury makes it clear that war is brutal and disgusting.
My only issue with the movie is its constant mission to be dark. There is no sympathy here in this movie. The balance is just off, at many times I actually disliked Pitt’s crew, that’s fine I guess but it doesn’t balance well with the action. The last almost twenty minutes of the movie the crew fight off a hundred SS soldiers. The violence turns real to suddenly comic book silliness. If you want to go dark and gritty then that should flow right into the action.
That being said the film is still very interesting. Just be prepared this is not a “fun” movie. The violence is brutal and Ayer is never afraid to show it.
The plot is rather simple, Robert McCall(Denzel Washington) plays an ex-spy? Killer? Never really explained, all we know is that he’s out of the business and works at a fake Home Depot. Then one night he watches as a young prostitute(Chloe Moretz) get abused something goes off, he then goes on simply a killing spree, taking out every level of a Russian mob in Boston.
Where this film stands apart from most of the “ex-bad ass goes on a revenge binge” type film is that this movie is brutal. The violence is beyond over the top. McCall’s lack of empathy for the men he kills is interesting here but never looked into. They focus on him being slightly OCD, which again is just something to make his character stand out it never really becomes a part of the story. The movie is lightly based on a television show with the same title.
The film succeeds only in its action, the brutal R-rating is deserved and works. No CGI blood, this movie makes the violence very real. McCall weirdly barely uses guns and goes for books or tools to take out bad guys. Where the movie fails in not taking things a step further with the story. McCall is basically a quiet lunatic, I guess we’re suppose to believe he’s a nice guy who has an extreme on off switch but I never bought it. His brutality increases as the movie goes along and he seems very addicted to it. We spend most of the movie following McCall as he lays down his own balance of justice on, robbers, dirty cops, etc. None of which connect to the story. I thought they were going to use this for something greater but they never do. The film at no point tries to explain why almost all of a sudden McCall just goes on a vengeance binge. Somewhere in there was a very interesting movie, they decide to ignore and make it as generic as possible.
The third act of the film is so cliche riddled and so predictable, that it’s almost pointless to watch it. McCall also comes off as a quiet Superman. Nothing seems to hurt him and he seems to know what the villains are going to do several steps before they even think about doing it. Marton Czokas’ plays a very good Russian mobster. His character stands out in many ways, but by the end you know he is not a threat to McCall so the drama is gone. Nothing is a surprise, you’re just waiting for the next beat before the movie ends.
Antoine Fuqua is one of my favorite directors, he just makes good action movies. It felt like though the movie he wanted to make was held back here. It’s going on direction and then basically turns into Mr. and Mrs. Smith, by that I mean that it had something interesting going and then just decides to dumb it down and end it with a big shoot out in a department store. Kind of a let down.