Runtime: 2hrs. 14mins.
Saving Private Ryan set the standard for World War II films. It's the film every other World War II film aspires to be, and let's be clear, Fury falls well short of it, but it's not a bad film in its own right. It just isn't as good as I would have hoped. Instead of soldiers marching across war torn scenery to find another soldier and bring him home, we follow a tank crew as they work their way through various battles.
Don Collier (Brad Pitt) leads a crew of hardened war vets including Boyd Swan (Shia LaBeouf), Trini 'Gordo' Garcia (Michael Pena), Grady Travis (Jon Bernthal) all of whom have seen enough action we're not sure they'll be able to re-acclimate to civilian life. They even try. There is a scene where Collier and fresh faced new addition to the crew Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) head into an apartment building after successfully overtaking a city square. They find two German women hiding and decide to get cleaned up and sit down for some lunch. It's an attempt to feel like they're having a normal life in this war torn hell-hole. They keep up the charade only until the other members of the crew come bumbling in and spoil everything.
This scene is troubling in several ways, and works in perhaps another way or two. Firstly, Norman takes the young German lady into the bedroom to sleep with her even though he's hesitant to do so. Surprisingly she seems all too eager to allow him to have his way with her. Obviously this is bothersome, because while he doesn't force himself on her, under the circumstances she couldn't have felt like she had a choice. The rest of the scene is troubling purposely due to the other crew members inability to be civil to German civilians.
Again, it isn't a bad film. In fact, it's a gritty war film that follows a tank crew, and that's at least a bit different and interesting on its own. However, it doesn't really do anything I didn't expect it to do. I basically knew where all of it was headed by the time I took my seat in the theater, and predictably it hit all the check marks.
Many of the tank battle sequences are tense and along with a few of the smaller moments ultimately make the film worth the price of admission, but sadly, overall it's a missed opportunity.