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Fury / Rated R for war violence, psychological torture and gore. Not Al.

Fury is a full-blown WWII movie. And it is a rare tank crew story. Right up front, except for golf course accidents, this is an-every-kind-of-violent-death movie. If you’re squeamish, don’t see this film. Otherwise it’s an entertaining – though over-long – war movie. It recalls three war movies and two westerns. Saving Private Ryan (1998) set the standard for realistic war violence, and Fury follows in its wake.

This movie also owes its tough no nonsense characters a lot to Sahara (1943), starring Humphrey Bogart, and The Sands of Iwo Jima (1949), with John Wayne. Fury also pays homage to include The Wild Bunch (1969) and any version of The Alamo – especially the most recent incarnation (2004).

The story follows a single tank crew which, except for one newcomer, has been fighting since the start of the war. Now they’re in the home stretch, trying to survive to see the end. The story takes place inside Germany during the last month of WWII in Europe, April, 1945. Hitler was dead by the end of the month, and the war was over in Europe by May 8. Unfortunately, the fight for the homeland is the one the Germans fought the hardest.- deploying children, girls, old men and anybody else who was still standing. Hitler insisted they fight till the end. Many did.

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The tank crew is led by “Top” Sergeant E-6, played by Brad Pitt. Pitt is terrific as the “tough as nails” persona the war has made him. He’s a cross between John Wayne and Humphrey Bogart. He’s accompanied by Shia LaBeouf – showing he can leave his personality out of the story and be the character he needs to be.

Michael Pena and Jon Bernthal are also in the crew. A new member, Logan Lerman, joins them, making for lots of high drama. LL plays a 60 WPM clerk typist without combat experience, who’s brought in as a machine gun operator replacement at the last minute.

All the crew members are especially good, although BP dominates. The story follows their march through Germany as the Allies proceed on their bloody campaign to take Berlin and win the war.

Two BP lines by writer and director David Ayer explain a lot about this movie. In one scene, civilians caught in the middle of the carnage ask BP when the war will end. He replies, “When your people quit.” When confronted by war’s raw and brutal violence, he again captures the zeitgeist of war: “Ideals are peaceful. History is violent.”

These are lessons for all times and all wars.

Although, as I said, this film is too long, it’s still terrifically entertaining, as long as you can stand the war violence. That’s why I’ve repeated the warning.

Rated 3.8 out of 4.0 reasons not to read this review if you have seen any of the four classic films mimicked by this movie. The spoiler alert is too late. Too bad. Tough as nails. That’s me.

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