If you haven't seen the movie. Stop reading!!
We pick up the story of a Sherman tank, pulling in for repair and hopefully rest for it's battle weary crew. With 'Fury' painted in white on the barrel of it's gun, the Sherman M4A3E8 rolls onto the screen and you can't help but take in how big this tank is and the sound it produces as the tracks turn through the mud.
One Tank, One Crew, One Way Out.
The setting is typical of a lot of WW2 movies, the backdrop of a war torn Europe is really well captured in this film. Everything from the fields to the towns, you can tell a lot of work went into spotting a number of good locations for filming.It's this backdrop where we meet the crew of the tank named 'Fury' for the first time. I'll break down the cast, the story and all the extras than went into making this WW2 Fall blockbuster.
Jon Bernthal (top) plays Grady 'Coon-Ass' Travis and is the loader in 'Fury'. Bernthal plays this character very well and you can almost smell his breath behind his dirty smile. He has a no care attitude and brings a sharp tongue to the rest of the cast. Shia LeBeouf is the gunner and plays Boyd 'Bible' Swan, a quick shot, bible verse quoting character. He see's the good and bad side of the war and as much as I think people expected LeBeouf to 'ruin' this film. He did a great job in his role and is dead accurate on the main gun.
Norman 'Machine' Ellison (top) is played by Logan Lerman. Norman is newly trained, and has been brought out from behind his typewriter to fill a gap of Fury's recently killed assistant driver/mg gunner. Of course he doesn't fit in right away. Why should he? The men of Fury have been to hell and back, they're looking to finish up and get on with winning the war so they can go home. He's quickly brought around by Michael Pena's character, Trini 'Gordo' Garcia. He's the driver of the 30+ ton Sherman and sits up front with Norman. Garcia quickly realizes that Norman is out of his element and get's the new replacement to wake up and do his job so they don't all get killed!
Brad Pitt. Enough said......he's killed Vampires, Nazis and managed to slay some Zombies. He's back in another WW2 role and taking on the Germans once again.
Ok, well he's Don 'Wardaddy' Collier. As the tank commander, he gives the orders and his crew carries them out. They've been carrying out his orders since the North Africa campaign, and trust him with their lives. He's gotten them this far, so why not stick with it. Collier takes Norman under his wing quickly, if for nothing else, to educate this kid the hard way. With everything from words to direct action, we see Pitt as a great leader and willing to make the sacrifices necessary to help his commanders. No matter the cost.
The 'Bad Guy'. Everyone should know this tank, the Tiger I E is a key component of the film. Even though it's screen time is short, it makes a huge impact. As a fully functional tank, the movie ensures that you get to see the real deal and not a computer generated knockoff on the screen. Even though it's late in the war, this tank is still feared by the Allies. Low on fuel, spare parts and veteran crews, these tanks still packed a punch when they were on the battlefield.
A new guy is thrust into a veteran tank crew and he has no place being at the tip of the spear. It's typical of a lot of movies, and Fury isn't any different. Norman quickly has to learn to fight, befriend his crew, survive and all at the same time. Collier (Brad Pitt) has to get his tank to a crossroads and hold off German opposition. Leading a small column of tanks and surviving numerous encounters with Anti-Tank guns, tanks and even a run in with a German Fräulein who makes him lunch. After all of that, only the Sherman 'Fury' remains, it's up to the five man crew to hold the vital crossroads in true Hollywood fashion, 'at all costs'. After Fury blows a track after hitting a land mine, the Germans close in on Fury and its crew. Norman is put out front in a tree line and observes the incoming Germans. He runs back to warn his comrades so they can prep for the incoming onslaught. It's time to take on whatever the German army can throw at them, kill or be killed. This fight is the climax of the movie, low on ammo and the Nazis finally getting organized, we see just how far some of the combat tested crew is willing to go.
These guys were looking for more than Brad Pitt's autograph.
The sights and the sounds of this film are truly awe inspiring. The whole movie is really well presented. It feels authentic and you notice the preparation that Pitt and his cast mates must have undertaken to fill that cramped work environment. As with every war movie since 1998, the comparisons are drawn to 'Saving Private Ryan', this movie is so far removed from that, it would be an unfair comparison. 'Fury' is more than capable of standing on it's own as a good movie with a decent story and great character portrayals. You may not see any of the actors on the Oscar ballot, but it's very likely this film will capture an award or two in the cinematic, special effects or sound category. I will say the story does pause in direction, and some of the scenes are predictable. I was half expecting to see a rescue by American armor, aircraft or an artillery strike. Nevertheless, the last minute 'comeback' never materializes. Fury is a solid WW2 film for those seeking authenticity, or just a good action movie you can watch on a Friday night with your gaming buddies. I'll be looking for this on Blu-Ray once it comes out. I can't wait to see an extended version, with behind the scenes content and it'll be a great addition to my WW2 movie collection.
US Tank Upgrade available in LW Tank Company lists that can have a M4A Sherman in it's HQ. For +75 points, upgrade your Company Command team in your HQ to contain 'Fury'.
Fury is an M4AE8 tank with a Fearless/Veteran rating as well as the following bonuses:
On the Way: With one of the best gunner and loader crews in the ETO, Fury always shoots at full ROF and re-rolls misses during the shooting step.
Tiger By The Tail: Having a good driver means never exposing your weak side. Fury never faces the wrong way when encountering enemy teams, as such Fury treats all hits as having hit their front armor when making armor saves.
Best Job I Ever Had: Leading by example, Sgt. Collier can talk or fight his way out of sticky situations. Any platoon in a Tank Company that contains Fury in it's HQ may re-roll unsuccessful platoon morale checks. If the re-roll is successful, the platoon continues to fight on! Otherwise the platoon is destroyed as normal and is removed from the table.
More Pigs to Skin: The crew of Fury is always aware of their surroundings and can never be surprised by enemy teams. Infantry teams do not get the benefit of Sneaking Up On Tanks (p.153) when assaulting Fury. Fury is able to conduct defensive fire normally in the assault step.
Matt 'ViciousEgo' MacKenzie has been interested in WW2 and gaming since a teenager. He regularly contributes to DiceDevils.com, is retired on weekends and is a host of Dice Devils Podcast, a monthly look at FoW and other gaming.