So I show up at the local megaplex in my giant panda outfit ready for some hot anthropomorphic-animal-on-anthropomorphic-animal action, but instead I find myself watching a World War II tank battle flick . . . and getting some serious stink eyes from the other people in the theater. I guess it just goes to show that the devil really is in the details because this was Fury and not Furry as I, in my plushy-lovin' haste, had misread it.
After taking off my panda hat and ditching the lotion and tissues, I settled in for a sepia-toned slog through the final days of WWII. Clocking in at more than two hours, Fury - which might as well be called Brad Pitt and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - is definitely not fast, only sporadically furious and though full of sound, yup, signifies nothing.
Pitt - often seeming like a bowel-obstructed version of Duvall's Lt. Col. "I Love The Smell of Napalm In The Morning" Kilgore from Apocalypse Now - is locked into tough-but-fair mentor mode (see also Fight Club, Inglorious Basterds, and Moneyball) as his Don "Wardaddy" Collier leads a team of war movie cliches into skirmish after skirmish against the blandest, most forgettable Nazis since every Stalag 13 goose-stepper other than Klink and Schultz.
Loading the big gun there's the backwoods hick, Grady Travis (Jon Bernthal), whose nickname is "Coon-Ass" in case his absurd prosthetic teeth and sodomy-threatening Deliverance drawl weren't enough to peg him as the hillbilly of the bunch. Firing the big gun is a Douglas Fairbanks-lookin' Jesus freak, Boyd Swan (Shia LaBeouf), whose nickname is, you guessed it, "Bible."
Driving the tank is the hot-tempered Latino, Trini "Gordo" Garcia, who can be counted on to shout the occasional "Vamanos!" and (Sony hopes) put some Hispanic asses in the seats for a film that's otherwise whiter than an Osmond Family Christmas Special. And it just wouldn't be a war movie without the green as grass, so-wet-behind-the-ears-it's-amazing-he-doesn't-drown-just-standing-there, never-even-been-inside-a-tank-before new guy, Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman), whose nickname is so fucktrociously stupid that it's not even worth mentioning.
A lot of the action scenes in Fury rely on the fact that in WWII German tanks were like Death Stars while American tanks were piece o' shit hoopties apparently made of crepe paper, held together with Scotch tape and about as powerful as a Daisy air rifle. Wait a tick. An American fighting force that's underarmored and underarmed? Looks like some things really do never change.
For a movie that takes place behind enemy lines with the dick-shriveling threat of death allegedly lurking behind every hedgerow, Fury only comes within a Bavarian mile of creating actual tension for all of about two minutes. When Wardaddy and Fucking New Guy stumble upon a couple of sexy frauleins, we're supposed to wonder if the Greatest Generation is going to get all rape-y. But then we recall that a Brad Pitt character is about as likely to rape someone as a Disney princess is to slip a nip or flash some cooze.
Oh, and yes, ladies and gay guys, though it aspires to be a hard-boiled, leather-necked, blood and guts WWII epic, Fury does stop things in their tracks for an obligatory shirtless Pitt scene. Because of course.
War movies are hell.
October 19, 2014