Fury Review Part 3
I also have to say I loved the cast and their characters. Even Shia LaBouf didn’t put me off my feed and that is saying a lot. Of course having Jon Bernthal from the Walking Dead is worth Shia at his worst (and honestly he wasn’t bad. Image courtesy of the Walking Dead t shirt category). David Ayers has done many movies involving the simple yet complex dynamic of men and their relationships with each other. Films like Training Day and End of Watch really explored how men interact with each other in all their testosterone glory. This film explores that to the nth degree with the crew of Fury both loving and hating each other. You can’t spend months in the same metal can with five other men without some conflict and you can’t survive that long without developing a true bond of brotherhood. The introduction of the new recruit mixes that dynamic up a lot and the story digs into it in a very pleasing way.
On the other hand David Ayers did not exactly strain his brain writing this story. It boils down to the tank gets a new crewman who sucks and no one trusts and then drives around Germany shooting Nazis. I’m not kidding when I say that’s it. There was some character development (mostly for the new recruit) but the idea of a story arc and/or three acts is foreign to David. However when you do look at his other movies you realize that is kind of his signature style. End of Watch was almost a vignette documentary and even Training Day moved from set piece to set piece like chapters in a book. I don’t think this movie really need a lot more but at least on paper it was lazy.
The other lazy part was the fact that David must have gotten a book on WWII character cliches and checked off the first half dozen from the first page. For simplicities sake I am going to name them after Saving Private Ryan counterparts. There is the grizzled but combat fatigued commander dedicated to the safety of his men with a mysterious past and education beyond his station (Captain Miller). There is the new recruit who no one trusts and manages to get some of his comrades killed (Corporal Upham. BTW I don’t want to harp on this but the Fury guy was a clerical typist and in Ryan Upham wanted to bring his typewriter). There is the loudmouthed troublemaker (Private Reiben). There is the religious gunner (Private Jackson). Then there is the token minority (this one no direct Ryan connection although he was kind of the group conscious so I’d match him with Private Mellish). It was almost laughable but there is a reason stereotypes actually work. In other words, sure these characters were grossly borrowed from other sources but they really worked.
Oh, yeah. Like I said before the action was brutal and if you have a problem with the idea of American soldiers not always acting like the paragons of virtue we like to pretend they are this movie might throw you off. There is the execution of prisoners, fighting between soldiers, engagement of prostitutes, and a scene of romance that in a different light could have been construed as rape and definitely misogynist. Also children used as soldiers. You have been warned.