For the entire month of April, Cinefessions will once again be locked inside The Asylum, reviewing tons of releases by the famed studio. Every weekday throughout April you will get another Asylum review. April’s podcast will also be devoted to films from The Asylum.
My first April in The Asylum film wasn’t a mockbuster, however this one definitely is, and in case you couldn’t guess from the title, it’s a mockbuster of Fury, which I’ll admit I have not seen yet. Set during World War II’s Battle of the Bulge attack, an Allied tank unit gets caught behind Nazi lines and risks their lives to save an orphanage. That’s the basic plot for this. There’s not much more to it than that other than some Nazi’s hunting the tank crew down on foot. For being based off a tank crew, though, we spend a huge chunk of the film outside of the tank and nowhere near involved with it at all. As a basic plot it’s not bad, but as someone who likes to keep up with history, there are some issues with the basic look of the film.
The region they filmed it in looks nothing like the Ardennes region as that’s mountainous and forest-ridden. The region in the film has some trees, but it’s not a dense forest and is really flat. Then there’s the fact that the Battle of the Bulge took place in Europe in the winter, and not only is there no snow or ice on the ground, but this was definitely shot during the summer. The Germans are also using Soviet tanks, not German tanks, which while they captured them, they weren’t deployed on the Western Front. On top of that, the U.S. troops keep referring to their tank destroyer as a tank, which it isn’t, and they would not have referred to it as such, but they continue to do so in the film. Am I getting a bit nitpicky here with an Asylum film? You bet your ass.
I’d be picky about a larger scale production as well. There’s no reason for it when they could have made amendments to the script, and the fact that most of the time when we see the enemy tanks, they’re CGI creations and not actual tanks. The lack of snow and ice probably has something to do with this being filmed in Alabama, but considering that was a huge thing during the actual events where they’d have to fire up a tank’s engines every half hour to keep the oil from congealing due to cold, yeah, that sticks a bit with me. Considering they filmed one of the other films for an apocalypse setting in Michigan to capture the snow, this is something that could have happened with Ardennes Fury as well.
Ok, enough of my ranting. Despite my obvious historical hang-ups about the film, this one ended up being better than I thought it’d be. Considering I’d braced myself for an abysmal time, though, that’s not saying a lot. This has the look and feel of an older war film, one made while things were actually going on, and we needed a feel good film to get us through the war. That’s not a bad thing at all, but it does have the issue of being a bit overacted at times, and a touch too cheesy. As far as the actors go, there isn’t an absolutely terrible one in the bunch, but with the material they’re given you wouldn’t have to do much to make the scenes work. You also probably won’t recognize a single actor in this unless you’re into B-movies, or Asylum films.
One of my other big beefs with Ardennes Fury isn’t necessarily the way the shots are set up, because they actually work really well throughout the film. It does look pretty good. The big issues visually are the tank battles and final chase sequences that rely on mixing up the CGI elements a lot. While they have a practical set of tanks available, they opt to mix things up and throw in a ton more CGI tanks that don’t match with the practical tanks driving around at all. Then there’s a scene where the U.S. tank destroyer takes on a group of ‘German’ tanks that looks visually laughable as these tanks just keep piling up, one on top of another, instead of driving around the disabled tank. Outside of these muddied action sequences, though, things aren’t too bad and the film moves at a good pace.
If you can get around the historical inaccuracies, some of the poorly chosen CGI elements, and the overacting, Ardennes Fury is a decent enough film. It’s a bit lighter than you’d expect from a war film, but that’s what they were going for. It does move at a good pace, and in keeping the plot relatively simple, it doesn’t fall into the insanity that was Asteroid vs. Earth. It’s a quick popcorn flick that I was at least mostly amused by, and certainly wasn’t the worst I’ve watched for this month’s outing in The Asylum.