Movies about World War II have shifted from almost shameless praise for the courage of Allied soldiers to a combination of war is hell and how brave our soldiers are.  This new formula is at the heart of Fury, a war film that spares neither the horrors nor potential greatness of war.

At the opening of the film, Sergeant Don "Wardaddy" Collier (Brad Pitt) is returning from battle in German territory, in the final days of WWII in his tank, Fury, with gunner Boyd "Bible" Swan (Shia LaBeouf), loader Grady "Coon-Ass" Travis (Jon Bernthal), and Trini "Gordo" Garcia (Michael Pena).  Their assistant driver is dead -- along with the rest of their platoon.  The new assistant driver is Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman), a typist who's never been inside a tank and only been in the army for eight weeks.  Collier seeks to teach the naive, idealistic Ellison about the horrors of war -- which is easy, as they're off to battle once again.  What follows is a mix of unit bonding and abuse, shoot-em-up battles, lulls during which even peace is tense, and a final battle against impossible odds.

Fury doesn't break any new ground, but it is well done.  The main dramatic conflict is between Pitt's Collier and Lerman's Ellison, as Ellison gets ground down and grows up as Collier brings him into his own war-weary world.  The movie gives a feel for the horrors of war, not just in the deadly battles but in the brutal aftermath (such as Allies soldiers machine-gunning corpses to make sure they're all dead, or not relaxing in an occupied town where any man, woman or child could still try and kill them). The movie builds to a nice (if slightly predictable) climax, and while it drags a bit in the middle Fury otherwise moves at a good pace.  For a good modern war movie that doesn't pull its punches or glorify the brave soldiers, Fury delivers.

Overall grade: B+
Reviewed by James Lynch

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