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Taking A Shot At The Great American War Movie.
Brad Pitt and Fury. via

Brad Pitt and Fury. via

World War II is the biggest war canvas for the biggest stories. It’s that big.

War stories from every other conflict miss the moral certainty, the celebration, of wiping evil off the earth.

There’s nothing like a Nazi, or an Imperial Japanese soldier, biting the dirt to get an audience cheering.

Blow up a North Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Iraqi, or al-qaeda and you find a bully reaction popping up. Not so with Germany and Japan.

The goal of world domination brings out the best in retaliation. You’ve got to put them down ’cause the world depends on it.

Other wars have rules of engagement and political goals. WWII was balls to the wall kill or be killed where your momma and sisters would be turned into comfort women if you failed.

Fury takes a page from the approach James Joyce used in Ulysses: a story told in a single day.

Even The Longest Day had more than a day.

How will Fury stack up against other war movies?

Remember the scene in Clint Eastwood’s  Flags Of Our Fathers where two soldiers sit in a fox hole and one disappears into a Japanese tunnel? In Letters From Iwo Jima, the same battle from the Japanese point of view, Clint shows what happened to the soldier once he landed in the tunnel.

Here’s hoping Fury catches some of that crazy.

Remember the scar on handsome Tom Berenger’s face in Platoon? It looks like Brad has a few extra grooves in Fury. War is hell, even for pretty boys. The Charlie Sheen of 1986 went to the Vietnam War and collected internal scars. Kill or be killed might be the same in every war, but WWII makes us believe in good killing.

If Fury delivers that feeling, it’s done it’s job and you’ll leave the theater as conflicted as any triggerman.

The Monuments Men showed non-soldiers in war. Baby boomer aged men gathered to collect art stolen by Nazis, not get into gun battles. But it’s war and they do.

To win at war you need to be better killers and better land grabbers. If you end up with more soldiers alive than dead, and control land that was a battlefield, you’re called a winner.

To win in war movies you need a hero who goes above and beyond mere mortals, then at the height of their viciousness see what they’ve become. After that they either die a glorious death of self-sacrifice, turn away from destruction and seek salvation, or they keep chopping wood.

In a perfect war movie the hero becomes heroic accidentally, enters the conflict with goals at odds with kill or be killed, finds true love in the most unexpected of places, returns home accused of treason, and finds a measure of salvation in unusual circumstances.

This is the movie waiting to be made from a script titled Flying Home. It’s a movie made for big stars. George Clooney? Brad Pitt? These guys would work for director Ben Affleck in a perfect world.

Men, it’s time for Flying Home.



About David Gillaspie
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