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Red Tails


I knew it was only going to be a matter of time. Recently I have watched a string of movies at the theater which I deemed very entertaining. I knew though, there would be more films I was going to be disappointed in and unfortunately Red Tails wasn’t as good as I hoped.

Red Tails is the story of the famed Tuskegee airmen and their contribution to the war effort in Europe during World War II. This is a great story to be told and an important one at that. I’ve read that producer George Lucas wanted this movie made and pretty much paid for the whole thing. He should have made sure the product matched the material.

Not everything was terrible. The CGI aerial battle scenes were exciting and well done. These action scenes were big and spectacular and saved this film from being a total train (or plain) wreck. Also, an effort was made to be true to historical accuracy and several minor details were as they should have been. Now, it was not totally accurate but most of the things that didn’t stack to reality were relatively minor and only a history nut like me would even notice. A couple of actors, namely Nate Parker and David Oyelowo, did much with a weak script.

Now for the bad stuff. Most of the dialogue was stiff and unnatural, full of lackluster speeches and empty platitudes. The story lines of the pilots were shallow and not fleshed out at all. Parker and Oyelowo did a good job but it was never established why each of their flawed characters had their demons. There was a romantic plot line that featured the usually fantastic Daniella Ruah that was just awkward and uncomfortable. The actors had zero chemistry or spark and had to work around an awful script. This plot served no purpose in moving along the story as a whole and dragged down the film’s pace drastically. Even on the issue of race and prejudice, this script came up way short of being intriguing, using stale, stagnant scenes that was as poor as it was unimaginative.

I’m sorry that such talents as Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Gerald McRaney, and Michael B. Jordon were wasted on such a poor film. It had a chance to be something special but it stalled when it got away from the CGI driven action scenes. It was like the film makers were torn between the idea of an action film and the idea of an important period piece dealing with an important and inspiring group of men. The movie made a big mistake fictionalizing all characters, probably so they could just spew out any contrived plotline they wanted.

If it is cool action with some really beautiful aerial views, this is the movie for you. It certainly has its entertaining moments and they are not few. My twelve year old son, who is a big history fan, absolutely loved the movie. He didn’t care about the writing or the love story, or the other side plots. He loved the planes, the dog fights, and the history. If those are what you like in a movie, you will enjoy this film. If you are looking for a well written drama with well developed characters and real, raw, believable story lines, you will be sorely disappointed.


Charles L Bloss Jr 3 years, 10 months ago

I will buy Red Tails when it comes out on dvd. I have an HBO movie titled Tuskegee Airmen. I found it to be a really good movie. Some of the same stars are in Red Tails, I expect it to be equally as good. The story of the Tuskegee airmen is fascinating. While initially these black aviators are put down by their white counterparts,and their training made much more difficult than training for whites they made it thru training with about the same percentage of drop outs as whites. They were given the task of escorting bombers who had been sustaining heavy losses When it is learned that while on escort duty they never lost a bomber, they are being asked for by bomber pilots. They had been intentionally shifted around to avoid any combat duty, when finally given escort duty, it enabled the airmen to show their stuff. They turned out to be extraordinary pilots. A mechanic painted a small part of one airplane's tail red , and the pilot saw it as he was going on an escort mission later. He said pain the whole tail of all the planes red. So the tuskegee airmen had all their planes painted with red tails. A cosmetic touch started by a mechanic eventually turned out to show the difference between white pilots, and black ones.

Bobo Fleming 3 years, 10 months ago

The Mustang p-51 they flew was developed with an American engine. It was a not a good plane. The American engine was changed out for a Rolls Royce engine and with some other changes it was made into a great fighter. Needless to say the Tuskegee airmen were given the older Mustangs with the American built engine. Everything they did they did with an inferior airplane. They were great pilots and great men.

Scott Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

When it is learned that while on escort duty they never lost a bomber, they are being asked for by bomber pilots.,,,,,,,

Although these pilots were among my heroes growing up the above statement is not true. Although bomber pilots in WW2 wanted any kind of support they could beg borrow or steal. My feeling is anybody who climbed in a WW2 home or in combat airplane were far braver than I.

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