Once again Hollywood is at pains to point out the Biblical theme that victory comes with a price tag, and this time the tag is tied to a Sherman tank.
Fury is a vehicle – pardon the pun – for a whole lot of stars in a struggle of epic proportions. Brad Pitt stars as the battle-hardened Staff Sergeant Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier, a veteran of the 2nd Armoured Division. He commands a five-man crew in charge of an American tank christened ‘Fury’ in the last months of World War 2. Their tight knit team is made up of Corporal ‘Gordo’ Garcia (Michael Peña), Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan (Shia LaBeuof), ‘Coon-Ass’ Travis (Jon Bernthal) and last-minute replacement ‘Cobb’ Ellison (Logan Lerman). It’s April 1945 and German resistance is seemingly on the verge of collapse after the Battle of the Bulge. Cobb is tempted to believe that the war is all but over, but ‘Wardaddy’ assures him there are still sacrifices to be made:
“If you think it can’t get worse, it can. And it will. The dying’s not done. The killing’s not done. It will end soon. But before it does a lot more people got to die.”
Not surprisingly the opportunity soon presents itself. Fury’s tank crew find themselves the only piece of armour protecting the flank of an American infantry division from an oncoming assault. Determined elements of the German forces are still prepared to defend the dream of the Third Reich. When Fury is damaged by enemy fire Wardaddy and his crew have to decide if they’ve done their bit for the war effort, or if their ideals are enough to sustain five men against an approaching 300.
Fury draws on familiar themes of a soldier’s commitment to the man serving next to him, and personal sacrifice that have already been showcased in productions like Band Of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan. But it’s not surprising World War Two serves up more illustrations given the conflict was one shaped by ethical challenges. A generation of Germans had been taught to believe their inherent superiority allowed them to set aside morality where lesser races were concerned. Likewise the Allied forces believed they had a duty to liberate weaker countries from the grip of tyranny. But Fury is an excellent reminder that these ideals had to be owned at the personal level if they were to mean anything.
Wardaddy warns Cobb that, “Ideals are peaceful, history is violent.” This is a lesson I think modern generations are in danger of forgetting. As a man who has served in our armed forces, it amazes me that people are shocked by death of each an every Australian who serves in a warzone. They are carriers of our national ideals, and the best of them know what is at stake or they would not don the uniform. The same might be said of Christians. We should not take up Christ’s colours lightly because He warns us:
“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”
The only real way that Wardaddy can prepare Cobb for the battle to come is to be brutally honest about what lies ahead. The casualty is usually the unprepared soldier. If, as Christians, we think we will somehow evade the conflict then we are presenting the enemy with an easy target. If, however, we take advantage of the armour Christ supplies then we will find ourselves safer on the battlefield than any Sherman tank could make us.
Release Date: October 23