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REVIEW OF FURY STARRING BRAD PITT

year: 2014 rating: ***
“He was one of those guys that had that weird light around him... You just knew he wasn't going to get so much as a scratch here.”

That was from APOCALYPSE NOW about Robert Duvall’s gung-ho Colonel, and not a quote and/or spoiler for FURY starring Brad Pitt as the gritty, hard-nosed tank commander Don 'Wardaddy' Collier during World War II… Yet there is a similar light around Collier and his grungy crew: They’ve been through the ringer, from Africa all the way into the final stretches of Germany during the Big One's rowdy 11th hour, and it doesn't seem anything can scratch 'em. 

Collier’s soldiers are an eclectic lot that, although bordering on clichés, have their own distinct flavor...

Shia LaBeouf is Boyd 'Bible' Swan. With a verse for just about every situation, he's equally hardened and battle-weary as grittier "heathens" Michael Peña as the tank driving Trini 'Gordo' Garcia, providing comic relief without being obvious, and Jon Bernthal’s extra-grouchy redneck, Grady 'Coon-Ass' Travis (imagine his WALKING DEAD Shane combined with Merle Dixon). If there’s an antagonist other than Germans, he’s the man. 

Since the story begins with the troop already having experienced hell on earth, there’s not much development beyond their edgy banter and sporadic reflections. So it takes a fresh new guy to make the seasoned characters more interesting, and relevant…

During the first half, bright-eyed Logan Lerman, as the extremely boyish replacement Norman Ellison, seems too naïve and mismatched to be involved at all. One overlong scene, where Pitt’s Collier takes the kid to a room with two German ladies, hinders the necessary build-up. Leading to an all-out open field battle where the action is limited to the tank’s trudging pace...

But what makes FURY ultimately worthwhile is the last act: a gloriously gut-wrenching standoff these guys deserved all along, and a chance for the movie to truly live up to its title. Better late than never! 
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