I finally got around to watching “Fury” last weekend.
That’s the big tanker movie that came out last year starring Brad Pitt. It’s about a World War II tank crew barreling through Germany as the Allies went from town to town en route to Berlin in the late stages of the war.
First off, it has some intense battle scenes with realistic fire commands shouted by the crew. The tactics and tank formations used in the movie are pretty believable, too.
When attacking German troops and anti-tank guns behind a tree line, the American Sherman tanks got in a line formation and pounded the enemy position with plenty of main gun and machine gun fire.
The battle scenes are probably the best part of the film. Other than that, I had trouble finding the real theme of the movie, other than to say “war is hell,” which plenty of other movies have already done.
To that end, there are stomach-turning scenes, such as when a new tank crewman has to clean up the blown-off face of the soldier he is replacing.
In another scene, the tank commander, played by Pitt, forces that new crewman to kill an unarmed captured German soldier. That scene sparked criticism when retired Col. Samuel Floca, who served in the 2nd Armored Division, saw it at the Copperas Cove theater in December.
“I was disgusted and almost walked out,” Floca told the Killeen Daily Herald at the time.
And Floca was right to be disturbed. The scene was clearly a war crime — although I’m sure those things did happen.
The big problem I had with the movie was at the end. And, spoiler alert, don’t read any further if you don’t want to know how it ends.
After a combat engagement with a German Tiger tank, Pitt’s tank crew is the only one left from his platoon. When his tank hits a mine at a crossroads, Pitt’s crew is forced to decide between abandoning the tank or staying on it as a group of German infantry closes in.
They decide to stay on the tank and kill maybe a hundred or more of the well-equipped German SS troops.
That makes for a Hollywood movie, I suppose, but it’s not really plausible.
In reality, the tank crew might have been able to kill five or six enemies, but those infantry would have made mincemeat of the crew sooner rather than later. Half of the tank’s track was already blown off, and there was plenty of cover for troops to sneak around to the rear of the tank and fire away with a Panzerfaust, a German version of a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.
Anyway, I give the movie a “thumbs sideways,” and if you don’t watch it, you’re not missing a whole lot.
As for the greatest tanker movie ever made ... I don’t think it’s been made yet.