The Fury (1978)
By: Stuart Giesel on February 29, 2012  | 
DVD
20th Century Fox | Region 4, PAL | 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 4.0 | 113 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Brian De Palma
Starring: Kirk Douglas, John Cassavetes, Carrie Snodgress, Charles Durning, Amy Irving
Screenplay: John Farris
Country: USA
External Links
IMDB YouTube YouTube
Often overlooked by other, admittedly better, Brian De Palma fare from the period - notably Carrie, Sisters and Dressed to Kill - The Fury is a daft thriller that is saved by some terrifically stylish scenes and a climax that has to be seen to be believed.

A secret government organisation headed by the slimy Ben Childress (John Cassavetes) rounds up kids with psychic powers with the intent of turning them into (what else?) controllable super-soldiers at a top secret school for the telepathically gifted. Peter Sandza (Kirk Douglas) is investigating the disappearance of his son Robin (Andrew Stevens) and obtains the assistance of a girl named Gillian (Amy Irving) who has psychic talents of her own.

The story's pretty daft, really, but what makes it work is the sheer bravado of De Palma's staging. He's a director clearly unafraid of showing off. The first half-hour or so is pretty silly, with some lame gun battles, forced humour and a weird cat n' mouse game between Sandza and Childress' goons. Once things settle in on Amy Irving and her psychic powers, The Fury works a little better. And it can't be a De Palma film without at least one or two standout moments - in this case, a chase scene shot almost completely in slow-motion and without sound effects, which sounds ridiculous and would have been in any other director's hands. And the very finale... well, let's just say it's jawdroppingly over-the-top - Rick Baker's makeup effects are impressive.

Though most of the cast are fine, Andrew Stevens has the on-screen charisma of a watermelon rind and is mesmerisingly inept in all of his scenes. It's as if in real life he is an alien sent to Earth to mimic our behaviour, but had unfortunately learned all he could about humans from a "how to" audio tape rather than seeing one in real life. Fortunately there's enough talent in Douglas and Cassavetes, along with reliable character actors like Charles Durning, to counterbalance Stevens' suckiness, and Irving is surprisingly good in one of her earliest roles. And Douglas, it has to be said, looked to be in fighting-fit form for his age. Also it's worth noting that an extremely young Daryl Hannah makes an appearance as one of Gillian's schoolmates, and a really young-looking (and much less rotund) Dennis Franz has a short role as - what else? - a cop.

The very definition of a guilty pleasure movie, The Fury is an uneven but enjoyably silly experience with enough good stuff (the direction, some of the acting, the effects, the score) outweighing the bad (dumb humour, Andrew Stevens). Though it's been overshadowed by other psychic-themed films - Carrie and Cronenberg's Scanners to name two - it's worth tracking down a copy, especially if you're a fan of the director.
Video
Presented in the film's original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the picture's grainy and certain scenes are chock-full of artifacts, so this is not a clean transfer, although the original source material probably wasn't that flash to begin with.
Audio
The Dolby Digital 4.0 track is decent, though there is little activity in the rear speakers and, being 4.0, there is no subwoofer activity. However, the sound mix is very good. The score is by the legendary John Williams, responsible for some of the most iconic film scores in cinema history. Clearly his work on The Fury is not as well known as his scores on other films from this period like Jaws, Star Wars and Superman: The Movie, but it's still a terrific piece of work.
Extra Features
Nope, nothing here, move along. Only a trailer for The Fury and some still shots.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
One of Brian DePalma's lesser works, but this is by no means a bad thing. The Fury is full of stylishly directed scenes, some decent performances and a strong score, along with a couple of impressive chunkblowing moments. Nothing great, but there are worse ways to spend your time. Unfortunately the DVD could have been a hell of a lot better.

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