Tag Archives: war

Movie Review: Fury (4 *’s) (2014)

I don’t usually watch military movies—they normally don’t interest me, but Fury seemed like an unusual and intriguing story; so I went to see it with a friend. It’s a war movie set in Germany during the final Allied Invasion in World War II. The main characters are the five man crew of an American tank called Fury. It stars Brad Pitt (as Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier), Shia LaBeouf (as Boyd “Bible” Swan), and several other lesser-known actors. Logan Lerman plays the latest recruit to the crew: Norman Ellison, a green private who is ill-prepared for the job ahead.

The story begins, roughly speaking, with Fury’s return to an Allied base after a brutal combat in which they lost their gunner. The master sergeant assigns private Norman Ellison to replace him, much to Don Collier’s dismay. In any event, they are given a new mission: to assist in the capture of a nearby town. Six tanks short, they proceed on their mission. It is a quick success; they capture the town, execute an SS Nazi, and disarm the children who were being armed against them. (Yes, according to the film, the Nazi’s used children as soldiers, and if they resisted, they were hung up to die and serve as examples to other children).Then, they are assigned another mission: to take and hold a crossroads. It’s a critical juncture between the Allied Forces and the Germans. It is there that their courage, resolve, and stamina are truly tested. A lone tank with limited ammo against several hundred troops. Can they hold their position? Or is their destruction inevitable? I’m not telling.

Strengths: the special effects were good, the acting was good—Shia LaBeouf, in particular, did an excellent job. For once a religious person was represented by Hollywood in a non-demeaning way. The plot held my attention throughout the film. And there were no logical loopholes (but, of course, I think it was supposed to be based on a true story—I think) that I detected. Weaknesses: there were none that I noticed. For a moment, I was going to say that the use of plastic was a problem because I wasn’t sure how long that material has been around, but according to Wikepedia, it’s been around for quite long.

Anyway, I’ll give Fury a full four stars out of five.

Old Movie Review: Red Dawn (2012)

Joining the list of recent 80’s remakes, we have “Red Dawn” starring Chris Hemsworth, a.k.a. Thor. This is based on the 1984 movie of the same name starring Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen.

 

In the original movie, the Soviets and a few smaller countries (Cuba and Nicaragua) invade the U.S. This time around, it’s the North Koreans (I heard that originally it was going to be the Chinese, but, thin-skinned as their oppressive government is, they raised holy-heck over it and Hollywood backed down, changing it to North Korea. Oh well), which to me, makes the movie somewhat implausible from the get-go. (I mean, really: North Korea? I know they have a nuke, but it still seems like a David and Goliath type of scenario to me). The implausibility is mitigated somewhat by one scene where it is stated that the North Koreans “had help.” And a Russian anti-insurgency specialist does show up later in the movie. Additionally, the North Koreans used some sort of super-weapon: a massive electrical pulse that took out all our power grids. Everywhere.

 

Anyway, that’s the premise of the movie: the North Koreans invade the U.S. And two brothers, one a rough and tough ex-marine (Hemsworth), and the other a football player, lead a group of high-school students and a little bit older people in an insurgency. The movie follows the story of that insurgency. There is blood, death, and explosions. It’s not a very intellectual movie, but I don’t think it was intended to be. It’s more of a story of patriotism and national spirit.

 

Strengths: well, we’ll give it a few points for being patriotic. That’s always a plus. I thought the acting was fine with the script they were given; beyond that, though, nothing stands out. Weaknesses: well, there were several of these. First, there was the premise which I discussed above. Additionally, and more importantly, for much of the movie, it seemed to lack a well-conceived plot. There was nothing more specific driving the characters than insurgency. And that just led to shootings and explosions without much more meat for the brain. For a brief time, they had a specific objective—get the North Korean top-secret case—but other than that it was just too generalized. And I didn’t like that. Additionally, and this is also important, it seemed hard to follow for me. This may have been related to the too-generalized plot, but whatever it was, it detracted from the enjoyment. Finally, and this may have just been the CD, but the action—I mean the actual movement of the characters across the screen—was jerky. This last defect bothered my friends more than it did me, but at times even I was annoyed.

 

Overall, I’ll give the movie three stars out of five.