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Friday, February 27, 2015

Fury a Movie Review

I am not much of a movie goer, I just don't make it to the theater that often so I missed Fury in Theaters and only recently saw it via Netflix were I get most of my movies.
A lot of people I know had enjoyed the movie(with some technical quibbles)  and I was eager to see it.   The movie start with us in side the tank Fury and Easy 8 type Sherman under the comand of a tough as nails Sargent with the Nome de Gerre of "War Daddy" played by Brad Pitt.  They just lost their assistant driver/bow gunner.  The crew has been together since 1942 when they went ashore in Africa in operation Torch.  They manage to get the tank running again and head back to base.  There we meet the replacement Norm who is trained as a clerk.  We also meet several other grizzled Sargent and a young lieutenant who probably graduated from West Point or OCS about the same time these guys arrived in Europe.  They have a mission to go join up with Baker company (an infantry unit) and on the way the LT and his tank get knocked off).

Once they find Baker company we meet my favorite supporting character Captain Waggoner this guy is the image of war weary but determined infantry officer he feels like he has his own movie that just happens to intersect with this one(and its one I want to see!). He has a platoon that is pinned down and needs support he sends War Daddy and his tanks out to save the men.  When War Daddy looks a the map and purposes an alternate route Waggoner says ".. You can ride on a fucking magic carpet for all I care. I know who you are. I know you know what you're doing. You just paste them hard for me. They murdered some good boys out there today. "
Thus starts the best part of the film the Tanks rescue the infantry and together they take out a defensive line of AT guns and MGs then they move into the town and working together clear the town of resistance street by street.  The tactics used seem very realistic  Along the way Norm has to be broken in a process that War Daddy does in non-too-gentle a fashion but by the end he clearly  is on his way to being part of the team.

We then have a brief interlude as the crew over nights in the now captured town. Next Morning Waggoner send War Daddy and his tanks off to hold a cross road that "some troops are approaching."  He doesn't know how many or what they have but its critically important they hold the cross roads because a Germans could make it through and kill lots of allied support personal.   The tanks go off alone which is inexcusably stupid from a tactical stand point in 1945.
Along the way the encounter a Tiger I and this tank takes out every US tank but Fury in a the fight. The results are bit of stretch but the tactics could have been lifted from Flames of War the US tanks use smoke then charge and go for flank shots.  Furry is left alone to continue the mission...

They reach the cross roads and then hit a mine... knocking off a track and immobilizing them just on top of the cross roads.  At this point the story goes off the rails.  They send Norman off to a high point to watch the approaches while the rest of them try to repair the track, so far so good.  Then when Norman comes pelting back down the road at twilight with the news that two to three hundred SS infantry are on their way the only sensible move is to grab hand weapons, toss a grenade in the ammo box of the Tank and get the hell out of there.  They don't have a radio (it was knocked out in the fight with the Tiger) and if holding a cross roads with 4 tanks by them selves is a bit silly, trying to hold it with one broken one is suicidal and no soldier would tell them to do it. They ought to run but this is Hollywood so they don't they fight it out OK if they don't we have a sort of disappointing movie if our heroes are not heroic and there are all those defenseless rear area troops to worry about. That said this suicide last stand sort of undermines War Daddy's motivation, state earlier in the film, to get his crew through the war alive...

The problem is both sides fight stupidly (OK if you accept the tank crew should stay in this situation they fight their damaged tank really well) and after the clever tactical move we saw earlier int he movie at least one side should be smart about this. The other problem with this fight is the SS after initially being surprised by the torrent of fire coming from what they believe was a busted and abandon tank behave in an absolutely stupid manner they attack the tank in human waves (lots of them get killed) then they try sneaking down the side of the road and hitting the tank with Panzer Faust, but they do it close to the tank on the road when they have woods and field on either side of the road to work with. That kills one crew man.  At no point do they do the logical thing and just go around the immobile tank swinging wide in the dark!

The scene is still visually stunning and the acting feels very real.  You can see each man think it over and decide to stay, go down fighting you feel each death its powerful, its gut wrenching and I at least couldn't help thinking 'they all knew better'.   Norm survives by slipping under the tank through the escape hatch and is rescued the next day by infantry... so I guess there really was something between Furry and all those rear area troops.

I loved the first say 2/3rds of the film but the last part nearly ruined it for me.  See the movie for the first part and then forget what ever you know about tactics and common sense and enjoy the explosions and gun fire at the end if you can.