January 21, 2012
Review - " Red Tails " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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Directed by: Anthony Hemingway
Starring: Terrence Howard, Bryan Cranston, Cuba Gooding Jr., David
Red Tails is about the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II. Cuba
Gooding Jr plays Major Emanuelle Stance who leads a group of pilots.
The airmen consisting of Lightning (David Oyelowo), Junior (Tristan
Wilds), Smokey (Ne-Yo), Joker (Elijah Kelley), and the rest are
underfunded and under appreciated. Since they are African
American, they aren’t given a real mission like the white pilots are.
Plus, all they’re planes are old hand me downs, which are falling
apart. The only “missions” they are given is following a flight path of
white pilots about 2-3 days later, after everything has basically been
Colonel A.J Bullard (Terrence Howard) who tries to convince the
commanding officers to allow airmen to go on a real mission. Finally,
they give them a mission (Operation Shingle) to escort some bombers
off the coast of Italy. The Germans tried to pull them away from the
bombers, but they stood strong, and completed the mission with no
casualties. Impressed by this, they were taken more seriously by the
white soldiers. They were also given new planes which were painted
with red tails.
This is a great part of American History.
1944. World War II rages and the fate of the free world hangs in the
balance. Meanwhile the black pilots of the experimental Tuskegee
training program are courageously waging two wars at once - one against enemies overseas, and the other against
discrimination within the military and back home. Racial prejudices have long held ace airman Martin "Easy" Julian (Nate
Parker) and his black pilots back at base - leaving them with little to do but further hone their flying skills - while their white
counterparts are shipped out to combat after a mere three months of training. Mistakenly deemed inferior and assigned only
second-rate planes and missions, the pilots of Tuskegee have mastered the skies with ease but have not been granted the
opportunity to truly spread their wings.
The aerial views in this movie are spectacular! The special effects are terrific as it truly appears that several pilots from the
Tuskegee training program are in flight and making magnificent maneuvers upon the air that are nearly mind boggling. The
fact that the movie is based on true events stemming from the Second World War makes it even more fascinating.
The characters come to life as memorable names like Lightning, Easy, Junior and Deacon are featured and each has a
unique personality but they all have one common trait: they are gifted as pilots. They endure racism and scorn and yet when
they successfully protect a group of fighters from the enemy, they begin to win respect. The film contains some really funny
moments too. One black pilot says to a white pilot, "White people turn red when they become angry, green when they are
sick, and they are called yellow when they are cowards but you call us colored!" The audience I screened the movie with
laughed and cheered at this line.
The fights are genuinely compelling—and
I’d be remiss to not mention director
Anthony Hemingway for shooting them—
as they’re not simply a bunch of planes
shooting at each other. Air, land, and
water provide the setting for set pieces,
and, though it’s a bit overt, they explain
how each plane should go about attacking
its target, whether it is that train or jet or
air base or ship. Most importantly, they’re
pretty damn entertaining.
The sacrifices which were made in this
historically accurate film become apparent
as unfortunate events begin to touch the
Red Tails, the name that is given to the
pilots. This is a moving film in many
I thought it was a great telling of a true story. I give it a solid 4 stars, because the actors were excellent, the cinematography
was good, the combat effects were actually better than okay. The music could have been better, but despite that it is an
instant classic in my book.
The movie is fantastic because it shows the story of men who had to fight with honor and dignity against extreme odds in
order to fight with bullets and power against our country's enemies. Their story has been represented before on film, and
hopefully will again; it's a story worthy of being told over and over. Thumbs up to the actors, producers and all involved for
doing a very good job. Was it the best of the best job possible? Maybe not, but it was entertaining and enlightening. I
respect George Lucas for caring enough to put his money into this story, to bring it to the big screen like a major film,
despite the reluctance of many other parties in the film industry. Could some other director/producer combination have
made a technically more outstanding movie? Maybe, but they evidently don't care enough about the true story to do it.
Kudos to all involved!
The events portrayed a version of history that was very engaging, and in a way that was also realistic. The heroes weren't
shown to be perfect, with the flight leader having a drinking problem, for example, which seemed to cause problems, and
one of the other pilots being a real hotshot. Overall, I gained a lot of insight into the difficulties that the "colored" pilots
encountered but at no point did I feel like I was being "taught" a history lesson.
It seems like they didn't add a lot of extra drama to the story, which I almost wish they would have, altho the history as is has
plenty of drama and heroism. The drama developed on several levels; first, the reluctance to put "colored" pilots on the front
had to be overcome. Then, each mission had dramatic action, with all of the pilots and ground crew adding his sparky
personality to the dramatic tone. I felt
rise and fall and release of each
I was already aware of the Tuskegee
Airmen, and was excited to see what a
George Lucas production would do
with the story. Overall, I was satisfied,
altho it didn't have the melodrama of a
Star Wars episode, and I was looking
for him to go overboard a bit, maybe
just with the music. Those airmen were
heroes and they really deserve to
have a first class feature document the
important, if not vital, contribution they
made to the war effort. Now I know
some of their names and I fell in love
with them as patriots and gentlemen.