The tank's the star
Fury Film Review
Fury is a dirty, brutal and engaging war film but ultimately struggles to distinguish itself beyond the unusual and claustrophobic confines of its metal beasts.Writer/director David Ayer has had a tough time of it graduating to the Hollywood A-list, with far too many compromises being made along the way – after penning Training Day he struggled through one corrupt cop / gang violence film after the other all the way up to and including the flawed Schwarzenegger thriller, Sabotage, which was mutilated by studios to halve his originally 3-hour vision (which, itself, was likely far from perfect). Fury too was given a latter-end budget boost, with requests for ‘more action scenes’ being made at the behest of the studio, making you wonder just what his first cut was like.Undoubtedly it is a strong and worthwhile effort, with some committed cast performances and a slew of tense action sequences which are shot superbly, peppered across a near-epic runtime. For a film called ‘Fury’ there certainly is plenty on offer, with every grenade, shell, or rifle round hitting home, and death waiting just around the corner for each and every soldier, and glory secured only in bloody battle. Pitt commands the piece, and has strong support from a few familiar Ayer faces, as well as some new additions to his fold, but the film ultimately belongs to the battle tank that the poor souls trudge around in.
Blu-ray Picture QualityFury hits UK shores on a Region Free Blu-ray which carries the same Mastered in 4K moniker that adorned the US counterpart which was released less than a month earlier. The results are undoubtedly first class, rendering the movie with a reference quality 1080p/AVC-encoded presentation framed in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 widescreen.
Mastered in 4K, Fury’s gritty imagery is rendered with a presentation that is just shy of perfect.
Detail is impressive throughout, observing the tiniest of nuances and background touches, with the landscape rich and textured and suitably battle-ravaged. Uniforms are authentically weathered, and the film perfectly captures the wartorn period, right down to the dirty, worn and scarred visages of the main characters. Close-ups excel, mid-range shots impress and broader, more cinematographic panoramas are frequently stunning, and even black levels hold up reasonably strong against all but the closest, frame-by-frame inspection. Overall it’s a hard-to-fault, utterly demo-worthy rendition of this feature, more than meeting the standard established by the Mastered in 4K label.
Blu-ray Sound QualityThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is just as impressive, engaging and engulfing right from the outset with a superbly atmospheric offering that puts you right in the thick of things. Maintaining dialogue priority across the front and centre channels, it’s the score and effects that truly engage.
This demo disc is certainly all about sound and fury.
Effects are intense and potent, with wonderful surround usage that sees rumbling tanks tracks crawl across your living room, thunderous shells rain down, and tracer fire whip overhead. In fact the film boasts almost as much aural as visual directionality. The thunderous battle noises ignite with full and fervent use of the LFE channel, and the battleground positively comes alive with all the furore that you might expect. Atmospherics are wonderful even when shells aren’t being blasted across the battlescape, with ambient nuances bringing further depth and resonance to the period environment. Overall it’s a spectacular effort, aligning itself with the near-perfect video counterpart.
Blu-ray ExtrasThe disc further appears to match up to its US counterpart when it comes to the supplemental features, offering up the same strong selection of Featurettes and extra footage. The Director’s Combat Journal is 18 minutes long and focuses on Ayer’s work on the piece, his style and technical prowess, and his command over the battle sequences. Blood Brothers runs at 11 minutes in length and looks at the background to the piece; grounding it in history and using real veterans’ accounts and ideas to enrich the authenticity. Armoured Warriors: The Real Men Inside the Shermans spends a further 12 minutes with the WWII veterans briefly seen in the previous Featurette, who reflect upon their experiences. Taming the Beasts: How to Drive, Fire & Shoot Inside a 30 Ton Tank is a 13 minute piece focussing on the real tanks which were used for the production. 16 Deleted and Extended Scenes amount to the best part of an hour of footage, and offer some interesting little character snippets that, it could be argued, would have only further enriched the piece. The disc is rounded out by a Photo Gallery and a number of Previews.
Fury Blu-ray VerdictThe tank is certainly a character in and of itself – the selling point for the film as much as Ayer and Pitt, since it is the main attraction which distinguishes Fury from its Saving Private Ryan brethren. This is an enjoyably gritty little war movie, even if, ultimately, it doesn’t quite manage to accomplish anything truly memorable.
The true horrors of war unfold in intimate scenes but these are largely eschewed in favour of more action please.
Sony’s Region Free UK Blu-ray is the same sparkling Mastered in 4K release that’s already hit US shores, and promotes the movie with exceptional video, excellent audio and a number of decent extra features. Certainly those who loved the movie should not hesitate in picking it up; those interested in this genre would probably do worse than blind buying it, but everybody else should test the waters with the rental first.
You can buy Fury on Blu-ray here
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