Fury 2014 (R)

This action film is spoiled by having a completely unbelievable premise.  The film begins with the misleading statement that American tanks were smaller and less effective than German tanks.  This may have been true at the beginning of the war when Americans had lighter and more antiquated tanks, but by the period of the end of WWII this problem had been corrected and American tanks were roughly comparable to German tanks.  Furthermore, I know that units had to be rapidly restored to combat strength due to heavy attrition in the invasion of Germany in WWII, but I find it very hard to believe that the Army would put a clerk typist into a tank crew with absolutely no combat training.  Why would they risk such a valuable and advanced piece of equipment on a rank amateur who knows nothing about the tank operations?  The hapless crewmember, Norman, is subsequently cursed at, slapped around, and even forced to shoot unarmed prisoners.  This tired out “toughen him up” routine is against military doctrine because shooting prisoners violates the Geneva Accords.   This kind of behavior was highly unlikely to be tolerated after the widely publicized incident in which General Patton was reprimanded for slapping a hospitalized soldier with combat fatigue.  Even more unbelievable is the final battle in which a single tank with broken treads kills hundreds of crack SS troops.

There are several anachronisms in the film.  Phrases such as “mechanical issues” and “right on” were not in use during the WWII era.  There are also some mistakes with props such as cigarettes, lighters, and pinup posters, which are from later eras.  A character named Emma wears a dress that seems too short for the period.  There are numerous mistakes made with weapons and tactics including the use of the term and Willie Pete, which was not used until the Vietnam Era.  In one scene, only a single soldier is killed inside the tank while everyone else is unharmed, and in another two grenades go off inside of the tank and the interior of the tank and a person’s body are largely undamaged.  Lastly, they talk about Tic Tac candies, which were not invented until the 1960s!  Once again, Hollywood continues its love affair with the F-word despite historical reality.  Yes, I know that soldiers cussed, but the non-stop profanity and crude slang used in this film are unrealistic because they would interfere with combat efficiency and the proper respect for higher ranks. 

In general, the crude and uncivilized behavior of the American troops stereotypes all Americans as seemingly barbaric.  Very few American soldiers are shown to behave honorably.  They are depicted as insensitive brutes, who kill for fun.  Vicious retribution is swiftly shown toward any American who shows regret for killing.  Similarly, all Germans are depicted as universally evil and any kind of outrageous behavior towards them is justified whether they are soldiers or civilians.  The subtleties of anti-Nazi resistance in Germany are ignored or glossed over.  The movie has a heavy-handed “war is hell” theme where everything is shown as gritty and depressing, and people have grown calloused to the loss of human life.  While some of that was no doubt true among some combat weary troops, nothing is shown of the high morale and eager anticipation for victory and the end of the war that most Allied troops also had at this stage.  In conclusion, the graphic violence and non-stop profanity make this film unsuitable for classroom use.  It has no real educational value. Besides, I could not stop laughing to think that some might mistakenly read the sign on the tank to read "Furry" instead of "Fury". Kind of takes the ferocity out of it, doesn't it?

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