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Fury's fresh take on the well-trodden 'war is hell' path

TAKE the goriness of Saving Private Ryan and throw in the OTT madness of Inglourious Basterds and, hey presto, you've got Fury.

The story is hackneyed enough - raw, naive recruit joins battle-hardened cynics and has to learn to lose his humanity to survive.

But where Fury is different is in the level of violence - bullets blow off legs and heads, tanks squash bodies and soldiers burn to death, a lot. This isn't one for the faint of heart, and it's borderline war porn.

It opens in the dying days of World War II as a US tank crew moves deeper into Nazi Germany.

But the war is far from over as diehard SS units fight to the last drop of blood, determined to take as many of the enemy with them as possible.

In the tank - outgunned by superior German models - are commander Don 'Wardaddy' Collier (Pitt). He's assisted by veterans Boyd 'Bible' Swan (Shia LaBeouf), Trini 'Gordo' Garcia (Michael Pena) and Jon Bernthal as Grady 'Coon-Ass' Travis (Jon Bernthal).

One of their number, Red, has had his head blown off - literally - and they're not too happy with his replacement, rookie army typist Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman).

They're right to be worried - God-fearing Ellison has no experience and has the worst thing in combat: a conscience.

On their first patrol, he can't shoot German children who attack their tank column with a bazooka. The commander in front of them is turned into a fireball, and shoots himself in the head. So far, so bad.

To make the rookie a "soldier", Collier orders him to execute an SS prisoner in cold blood. He flinches, desperate to hang on to his humanity. But as with all these movies, the horror overcomes him and when his German girlfriend is killed, he transforms.

The action scenes are gripping, but all too often unbelievable. Like Das Boot, this movie is ultimately about the futility and madness of war. But here it puts the idea in your head with hammer blows.

DVD extras: The Blu-Ray has an UltraViolet code, 16 deleted scenes, making-of featurettes and a history special