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Fury (Blu-ray Review)

23 Jan, 2015 By: John Latchem

Street 1/27/15
Sony Pictures
Box Office $85.71 million
$30.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for strong sequences of war violence, some grisly images, and language throughout.
Stars Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Peña, Jon Bernthal, Jason Isaacs, Jim Parrack.

History buffs should appreciate director David Ayer’s gritty World War II drama Fury, which shines a light on the life of U.S. Army tank crews during the brutal final days of the war. With the allies rapidly advancing toward Berlin, the fierce German counterattack made them earn every inch of land along the way.

The film offers a fictionalized amalgam of the tank crew experience. Brad Pitt plays the commander of the five-man crew of a tank named Fury, who begin the film having lost one of their own in battle. The replacement is a fresh recruit (Logan Lerman) named Norman whose timidity and inexperience contrasts sharply with the grizzled veteran crew (Shia LaBeouf, Michael Peña and Jon Bernthal), who won’t blink at summarily executing German prisoners.

Ayer’s script takes an unflinching look at the brutality of the war and the strain it took on American troops. Sticking the rookie Norman on the crew is a classic film device, giving the audience a surrogate with whom to follow the story. Fury gets involved in several intense skirmishes that begin to harden Norman as he experiences the dehumanizing realities of war.

Eventually, Fury finds itself isolated on a country road and face to face with a battalion of SS troops and a series of critical decisions to make about their best chance at survival.

The film offers several featurettes focusing on how the production strived to achieve realism in depicting tank warfare. The 11-minute “Blood Brothers” focuses on the way tank crews had to count on each other for survival, and training the cast to simulate that chemistry by working with actual WWII tank veterans. “Taming the Beasts” is a 13-minute featurette about the actual WWII tanks used for filming, while “Director’s Combat Journal” is a 17-minute piece that mostly deals with filming battles scenes with the vintage vehicles.

Most affecting is probably “Armored Warriors,” a 12-minute documentary about real WWII tank crews, featuring interviews with real veterans who served as consultants on the film and vividly recount several harrowing experiences.

The Blu-ray also includes about an hour of deleted scenes.

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