War never ends quietly.
Wold War 2: a very bummer of an event, but great fodder for the entertainment industry. Granted, the last time I saw Brad Pitt in a WW2 movie he was scalping Nazis with the "Bear Jew" - so I expected this one to be a bit more "true" feeling. Most flicks about the 'great war' are at least half-way decent as far as quality, so lets see how one focusing on a tank crew can do. Will it tank our interest?
In 1942, the world knew only war. Alright, that's not all it knew, but that's the biggest thing on everyone's mind. The Germans may be losing the war, but their tanks our devastating monsters on the battlefield. Heavily armored and armed for bear, the American tanks take heavy loses against their fearsome counterparts. Our story starts with one such tank whose lost their assistant gunner, but manages to take out an enemy soldier without alerting anyone while they finish their repairs. As it turns out, this tank named Fury and it's surviving four members are the last of their company. Upon returning to their base, they fuel up and get a fresh new recruit for a replacement assistant - much to the entire crews disapproval - and then are shipped off to meet up with another company.
Along the way, the company looses another tank and the assistant gunner gets chewed out for allowing it to happen by not shooting the enemies simply because they were kids. This is going to be a problem, they say, and they don't care if it's a baby with a knife - if it's an enemy you shoot it. The rest of the trip is uneventful, and upon meeting up with the other company the remaining four tanks are sent out to rescue some forces pinned by enemy anti-tank guns. A dramatic battle happens, and at the conclusion our head of the Fury decides to force the greenhorn to kill a Nazi - something that's supposed to be a learning experience although doesn't seem to take so well. Their next sortie sees them clearing a town, in which the greenhorn finally starts doing his job as they rout the enemy forces stationed there. This is rewarded a bit with a nice character-building dinner with some locals - an event ruined by some crude behavior when the rest of the crew finds them - and immediately followed with watching the nice ladies house be bombed by German artillery.
Now full of rage, the greenhorn is ready to put down some despicable types and stop an oncoming force from hitting an allied medical group. Along the way, the crew runs into what could be their worst fear: the Tiger Tank. The American tanks prove victorious - but not without a three to one loss ratio, pitting the Fury as the only remaining tank to go protect the medical group. When they finally reach the crossroads where they plan on stopping the enemy forces, their luck continues to seemingly vanish as they run over a mine and blow a track. Before they can fix it however, an entire column of SS soldiers draws near. Will the crew retreat? Will they stand and fight? Do they have any hope of defeating the enemy forces?
You know what's great about this movie? The acting. Everybody in here does a good enough job that you can find them despicable or good, regardless which side. You might even come of thinking of the allied forces as a bit of a bunch of jerks, despite being the 'heroes' of the film. At one point, a character even mentions to his crew mate how the crew mate's a good guy even if the rest of the crew isn't. If there's supposed to be emotion in the scene, it's there. In that respect, it's kind of sad that the plot ends up falling a bit behind - with character moments like the dinner in the saved town coming off afterwards as only being there to try and advance the greenhorn to a state of having the drive to kill Nazis.
Effects work here is also stellar - you can tell it's a blockbuster style movie. A good deal of practical helps with making things feel authentic, and just how things are shot in general add much to the movie. The final battle scene provides all sorts of atmosphere - although by doing so it also brings up a few questions (like why, if all the soldiers are circling around the tank, does nobody shoot the man on the back of the tank). The violence levels are a bit high - as one would expect of post-Saving Private Ryan World War flicks - but are still handled well.
Audio does what it normally does - adds to the scene without stealing it. Balances are fine - particularly important in a movie that has a lot of revved up engines and other tank-bred noises during a good portion of it. There is one abrupt cut after the opening scene where the audio score is revving itself in volume as though something is going to happen, only to instantly cut to black and go quiet until the next scene - something that had me wondering if perhaps my disc was busted or something.
If you like the World War movies post Ryan, then you'll most likely thoroughly enjoy this movie - it's ideally more of the same, except on a tank! You get that army banter and all the violence of the action war genre, just with more heavy metal slinging giant shells downrange. If you don't enjoy those war movies, then this one isn't exactly going to win you over. It's also not something that should be watched if your looking to have your spirit uplifted (like a comedy usually would do) - as it's relatively grim and dark. That being said, it's an enjoyable addition to the war genre.