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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Fury (Blu-ray)
Fury (Blu-ray)
Sony Pictures // R // January 27, 2015 // Region A
List Price: $34.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by William Harrison | posted January 27, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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THE FILM:

Click an image to view Blu-ray screenshot with 1080p resolution.

Although much of David Ayer's Fury takes place inside an M4 Sherman tank, the most compelling drama is outside its metal walls, in the smoldering German villages torched by a desperate Nazi army. Ayer assembles a strong cast - Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena and Jon Bernthal - to man his tank, and Fury is a worthy return to the oft-explored drama of World War II. What carries Fury above its genre staples is the uneasy bond of the tank crew, which is less about camaraderie and respect than a shared place in an extended German hell. There is plenty of battle action and enough poignant drama to carry the film, and the interplay of Pitt and Lerman is a highlight. Fury might have spent more time away from the expected battle-tank action, but even this well-worm material is exciting and sturdily constructed.

Unlike in many war movies, the multi-ethnic and totally disparate crew of tank Fury does not come together for a weepy, bread-breaking kumbaya after learning tolerance and respect for others. Cooped up in the tank since the North African Campaign, the crew just barely gets along under the command of Sgt. Don "Wardaddy" Collier (Pitt). There's moody "Bible" (LaBeouf); smartass "Gordo" (Pena); and short-tempered "Coon-Ass" (Bernthal). None of the men welcomes the newly enlisted army typist (Lerman) sent to replace their dead bow gunner. After the boy freezes in battle and watches in horror as Hitler's teenage soldiers gun down the platoon leader, Wardaddy forces him to shoot a German prisoner. "My conscience is clean," the young soldier weeps. We know war is hell, but Fury explores a strange, painful apathy that creeps into each man after months of horror and loss.

Ayer, who wrote Training Day and directed End of Watch and Sabotage, will likely be a household name after the upcoming Suicide Squad. That seems like a good fit, as Ayer has proven his ability to wrangle large ensemble casts. While Fury is really Pitt and Lerman's story, each supporting player brings something to the screen. The best scenes in the film occur when Wardaddy and the young recruit have breakfast with two German women in a captured village. Pitt's sergeant is so damn tired of war and just wants to enjoy his eggs. Lerman's "Machine" enjoys the warmth of one woman's bed before the rest of the squad barges in to berate and taunt the women. The oasis is cruelly ripped away, leaving the men to return to the Fury.

The crew is tasked with guarding a vital crossroads, but the American armed forces suffer heavy losses. The combat is intense and realistic, and few are spared. Ayer and cinematographer Roman Vasyanov have an eye for beautiful carnage and despair, and the early morning German sunlight sends waves of light across body-strewn fields. Scenes in the tank are claustrophobic and genuine. These are men, not caricatures. Fury is refreshingly free of pretense or message, and instead captures a moment in time for its crew. The tank shields its occupants from collateral damage, and Wardaddy remarks that his view has remained the same since Africa. The men may part ways if given the opportunity, but each death is devastating. Fury spotlights small pieces of war, which are often the most powerful.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

Sony has begun to advertise its new releases as "Mastered in 4k" in preparation for the next generation of physical media. That is fine, because the 2.40:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image is spectacular - probably the best I've seen in recent months. This is a gorgeously filmic HD image. Sharpness is perfect, and each frame excels in clarity and depth. Close-ups reveal intimate fine-object detail, and wide shots reveal the landscapes, far-off fighting and ruins of war. Texture is impeccable: the fabrics of the soldier's uniforms and the inner-workings of the tank are life-like and intricate. Black levels and shadow detail are uniformly excellent, with only very minor murkiness in some pitch-dark shots, and colors are subdued but accurately saturated. I noticed no issues with aliasing or artifacting.

SOUND:

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is highly immersive, with nonstop ambient and action effects that surround the viewer. Clarity and range are excellent, and all elements are balanced appropriately. Sound reverberates inside the tank and throughout the sound field; bullets tear through the rear speakers and into the center channel with a LFE thud; and the subwoofer roars to life during battle. Superb! A French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is included alongside a Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. You get English, English SDH, French and Spanish subs.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

This single-disc release comes with a code to redeem an UltraViolet digital copy. The disc is packed in a Vortex case, which is wrapped in a matte-finish slipcover. Extras include sixteen substantial Deleted Scenes (56:13/HD), which feature some nice character moments that would have slowed the pacing. Blood Brothers (11:08/HD) features remarks from Ayer, the cast and military advisers on making the project authentic, and Director's Combat Journal (17:32/HD) follows the director as he works around the set. Armored Warriors: The Real Men Inside the Shermans (12:11/HD) sees several WWII vets discuss their experiences, and Taming the Beasts: How to Drive, Shoot and Fire Inside a 30-ton Tank (12:48/HD) is exactly what it sounds like. You also get an HD Photo Gallery.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

David Ayer assembles a strong cast for his WWII tank drama that never tries to make heroes out of ordinary men. The acting is good across the board, particularly from Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman, and Fury eschews genre trappings when it leaves the tank and ventures into the surrounding war zone. Sturdily constructed and dramatically sound, Fury comes Highly Recommended.


Additional screenshots:

William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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