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February 15, 2015
Fury Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
23/10/201422/1/2015Universal SonyDavid Ayer
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MA15+Brad Pitt

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Fury used real tanks during filming.

When Fury was first announced it got me thinking. When was the last great World War II based film? The most obvious answer to that is Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan, but can you believe it has now been seventeen years since that film was released! Of course we have seen other outings such as the brilliant TV mini-series' Band of Brothers and The Pacific but it has been a long time since a great World War II film - and finally we have one in Fury which focuses on a little-seen aspect of the war. Those who battled from within a tank.

April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named "Wardaddy" (Brad Pitt) commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.

Directed by David Ayer (End of Watch, Sabotage) this film really puts you in the heat of the action, and brutality of war. Indeed, the director has never been one to shy away from mature content in his films and Fury has plenty of swearing - perhaps more then any film set during World War II - as well as some very gruesome, but realistic, moments such as the tank rolling over a body squished into the mud, or a head being taken off by gunfire. These moments are fleeting rather then sickening and only add to the overall experience.

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Brad Pitt stars in the tank film Fury.
What really shines in this film, and makes it very much a journey you get invested in is the friendship and comradery between the five members of the tank crew. Brad Pitt is the leader "Wardaddy" and he puts in one of his stronger career performances. Fortunately the four other actors - Michael Peña, Shia LeBeouf, Logan Lerman and Jon Bernthal - each put in fine performances however it was Shia LeBeouf who stands out as someone putting in a pretty exceptional performance while Logan Lerman is great as Norman, a newcomer to the tank after one of their crew is killed in the mission prior to the films beginning.

Generally the film runs at a pretty brisk pace althoguh around midway into the film the crew liberates a town and Wardaddy and Norman spend time with two German girls and have a meal which is then interrupted by the remainder of the crew. While the scenes seemed overly long and unnecessary they actually become one of the more memorable sequences which define the futility and harshness of war. Hving said that I wasn't a fan of how it showed Wardaddy's tank crew at odds with each other and even disobeying orders to a degree.

Where this film falters slightly is in the last act which contains a battle sequence that simply becomes too excessive and unbelievable. Sure, tanks are built as killing machines, but surely a German SS batallion would come up with better tactics then to become cannon fodder.

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This scene feels somewhat unnecessary.
Ultimately Fury is one of the best war films we have ever seen - and we've seen a lot of them. What makes this so unique is that the film focuses on a little-seen aspect of warfare in the tank crew (in fact, the only other film we can think of which focuses on tanks so much is Kelly's Heroes from 1970 starring Clint Eastwood and Donald Sutherland!) but this film is much more realistic and focuses on the bond that grows in the small crew. While we had a couple of minor issues including a somewhat questionable ending, this is a film that deserves to be watched.

Fury comes to Blu-Ray with a gorgeous AVC MPEG-4 encoding at the films original 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The daylight scenes pop off the screen with natrual colours and ample fine details however with a considerable amount of the film taking place in the darkened tank interior or at night the transfer manages to handled these sceens proficiently as well without a hint of black crush or colour banding. Perhaps this is also due, in part, to Sony mastering the film at 4K level. Naturally the image is then dropped to 1080p resolution for the Blu-Ray but this is one film we would love to see in UltraHD Blu-Ray when that comes out late this year.

The Blu-Ray release of Fury has been lavished with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (16-bit/48Khz) track that is an absolute cracker and conveys the wonderful sound design of this film perfectly. From the quieter, dialogue heavy scenes, to the absolutely frantic battles where the surround sound and sub-woofer will kick in providing a frantic atmophere this film has all bases covered. Indeed you know this is going to be a thumping soundtrack that will shake your room at the 7:00 mark when the shells start raining down and exploding.

If there is one slight complaint - and this is more at the actual film then the transfer - some dialogue is a little mumbled due to their accents although we would have also loved a 7.1 mix and 24-bit audio as well.

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Alicia von Rittberg as Emma in Fury.
Other languages on the Fury Blu-Ray include an English Audio Descriptive Service track encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1 at 640kbps which impresses. Other non-English tracks include a French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which is every bit as impressive as the primary lossless English track while the disc also contains a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at 640kbps.

Subtitles are provided in English, English SDH, French and Spanish and we sampled the English track which was accurate to the on-screen dialogue and interestingly has a black background behind the text making it much easier to read.

There are only a couple of extras on this disc, although what is there is worth checking out. We believe there is also a 2-disc version available throguh JB-HiFi which has around 2 hours of additional bonus content which some people may wish to source for a few dollars more. Anyway the standard release includes the following extras, after trailers for The Equalizer (2:38), Whiplash (2:16), Foxcatcher (2:26) and Powers(1:32) which is a TV series coming to Playstation, and Predestination (1:32)...

Deleted & Extended Scenes (56:13/HD): A total of sixteen scenes are presented here and there is some fantastic material that could have been edited back into the film for an Extended Cut. These include "Alternate Camp Entrance" (7:58), "Giving A Hand" (3:51), "Bonding On The Way" (3:18), "D-Ration" (2:39), "Killing A Man" (2:48), "Nervous Soldier" (4:29), "Chocolate Bar" (1:00), "Cuddling" (0:54), "The Life Line" (2:24), "Shooting Horses" (9:09), "Taken By Surprise" (0:48), "Rose" (3:29), "Rose - Extended" (9:04), "A Close Call" (2:23), "Warning Wardaddy" (3:04), and "Burn Out" (0:34). The only disappointment is that the clips are only presented with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio at 192kbps, but the video quality is pretty solid overall.

Blood Brothers (11:08/HD): Running for 11 minutes this featurette focuses on the bonding of the men in the tank, and how the filmmakers got the actors prepared for the film including meeting the real veterans for insight into what it was like in the war, and the actors training and bonding for the role.

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Michael Peña actually learnt, apparently quite proficiently, to drive a tank for the film.
Director's Combat Journal (17:32/HD): Much better then your typical behind the scenes doco this is a great look at what went into the filming of Fury by director David Ayer with plenty of on-set footage as well as discussion about various shots and battle sequences in the film, as well as discussion about shooting on film and using longer shots and sequences in the film.

Armored Warriors: The Real Men Inside The Sermans (12:11/HD): This is a fascinating featurette with four veterans talking about their experiences during World War II with additional input from director David Ayer who had family members fight in the war.

Taming The Beasts: How To Drive, Fire & Shoot Inside A 30 Ton Tank (12:48/HD): Another very interesting piece this time focusing on the tanks used in the film, including using the five Sherman tanks, and the only operational Tiger tank in the world. This clip looks at filming with the tanks, filming on them, getting the actors to look like they were experienced with the tanks and filming in the confined spaces.

Photo Gallery (HD): This is a massive collection of 120 photos from the film and production.

Fury is a fantastic film which shows off an aspect of World War 2 rarely seen in films. With a solid script and solid cast this is well worth checking out and with a solid transfer and decent extras a Blu-Ray worth adding to your collection.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Universal Sony. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.