‘Fury’ – A tank crew in a World War II no man’s land on Netflix

David Ayer made the leap from screenwriter to director of action cinema marked by volatile, compromised characters and intense situations. His efforts have not always connected but at his best, they deliver impressive action with an edge.

In Fury (2014), Ayer leaves his familiar urban crime environs of Los Angeles for 1945 Germany. It’s the final days of World War II and an American tank crew is assigned to stop a German division while the Allies advance on Berlin. Brad Pitt is the crew commander Wardaddy, a man devoted to keeping his men alive, and Logan Lerman is the new kid, a green recruit pulled out of the typing pool, handed a gun, and dropped into a crew (which includes Shia LaBeouf, Michael Peña, and Jon Bernthal) that has bonded through three years of battles.

Set over the course of what seems to be a long, grueling day and brutal night, Fury focuses on their ordeal in a no man’s land. The only surviving tank in their group, they are grounded and exposed after a mine takes out the tread and stops them in their tracks. But their orders are to hold a crossroads to protect an American supply convoy against an advancing platoon and Wardaddy isn’t about to leave.

Ayer is all about conflict and collisions, between and within groups of violent men, and has consistently made the violence in his cinema visceral and vivid. He shows us the destructive power of bullets and knives and explosions in fleshy, bloody terms. Between battles the tensions within the crew rise with an odd volatility but that internal conflict and anxiety is set aside under fire, where they are unconditionally devoted to one another.

At its heart, Fury is an old-fashioned war tale, but the violence is seen through Ayer’s 21st century perspective. Ayer made his name with the screenplays for The Fast and the Furious (2001) and Training Day (2001) and went on to direct Suicide Squad (2016) and The Beekeeper (2024). This, along with his earlier End of Watch, is still his best work.

Jim Parrack, Brad William Henke, Jason Isaacs, and Anamaria Marinca costar.

Rated R

Also on Blu-ray and DVD and on SVOD through Amazon Video and/or other services. Availability may vary by service.
Fury [Blu-ray]
Fury [DVD]

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The Blu-ray and DVD releases include the featurettes “The Team” and “The Score.” The Blu-ray offers an exclusive third featurette, “A Historical Portrait.”


Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at RogerEbert.com, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.

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