A World War II Flying Ace action movie. You know been there, done that before. You’ve seen it a young group of guys all from different places together in Europe fighting the good fight. Fighting Nazis. So why in the world is Red Tails so much of a big deal. Lucas on shows, articles in the New York Times all about how long and hard he’s been trying to make this movie. Well let’s just talk about the 80 pound Gorilla, it’s because it’s a film all about Black Soldiers. A big budget Hollywood spectacle all about and starring Black people. Now ain’t that something.
Red Tails is about the Tuskegee Airmen, who in WWII were one the highest decorated Air Force Regiments in the war. The film focuses on two characters, Easy and Lightning. The upstanding Flying Captain and his bad boy flying ace of a best friend. The Tuskegee Airmen start out doing clean up missions in the hand me down planes. Shooting trucks and doing recon on sites already passed over. When the upper brass almost ends the Tuskegee project because of beliefs that Blacks can’t be pilots they get a chance to prove themselves in battle.
Red Tails is a very by the books you know what’s going to happen war movie. Very old in it’s style of filmmaking like a lot of George Lucas productions. It feels at times like a movie you’d see John Wayne pop up in. All that being said it’s not really successful in what it’s trying to do other than the dogfight scenes. A ton of the dialogue is very ham-fisted with characters stating the obvious in situations. Now all the characters aren’t really stereotypes but really archetypes. You’ve seen these guys in almost every war movie ever so there really isn’t anything new.
Now where the talking scenes or scenes of motivation or discrimination are not what would have been liked, the all of the big set pieces are pretty well done. Essentially take all those cool scenes from Star Wars with X-Wings and Tie Fighters and replace them with WWII propeller planes from the US and Nazi forces and you have the same thing here. Big explosions, twists and turns, nice cuts, bodies flying and bases being destroyed. That is really the only real entertaining parts of this movie At least its major part of it.
See the thing with Red Tails is that it really isn’t that great of the movie. So if you go unless you don’t have a decent standard of movie taste you most likely won’t like and will be left wanting more. You could just go and log on to HBO Go and watch the film they made years ago and somehow mash up the cool dogfights from this with quality direction and acting in that in your mind. That might be too much to do though. This is really a movie you should wait to see at home on TV or something but if you do plan on supporting this in the theaters for whatever reason know what you’re going into.
Final Grade is a C-