"Red Tails" squanders a great subject, reducing the real-life struggles and fierce heroics of the Tuskegee Airmen to rickety cliche.
Some of the action is fun. But if something about that statement doesn't sound right, well, there's your chief problem with "Red Tails." It sets out to ingratiate without provocation or complexity.
This much can be said of producer
But Lucas has overseen a movie divided against itself, part "Clone Wars"-aesthetic kicks, part dutiful sociology. The script, confining the action to 1944 Italy, places the occasional grown-up sentiment in a character's mouth, as when one member of the 332nd
The focus is on a fictional group of men stationed at
Producer Lucas, director Hemingway and his writers,
Yes, and they also deserve some dramatic vitality and plausibility.
If you go to "Red Tails" to learn anything (even heavily fictionalized things) about the origin of the Tuskegee Airmen, or the workaday racism they had to endure, you will be disappointed. When Howard's defiant colonel upbraids the Pentagon brass about their disdain for his men, the sequence is straight out of a comic book, per co-writer McGruder's description. But if we can't believe a scene such as this one would ever have happened that way, not in a million Earth years, then there's no real gratification in it.
Little romances a local beauty, while Julian loses faith in his leadership skills. Sick of being sidelined and marginalized in the war, the men of the 332nd finally get the equipment and the approval they need to prove themselves in the air, primarily as protection for bombers delivering their payloads. But "Red Tails" runs into serious storytelling snags, particularly in its episodic second half. The writing is self-conscious in the extreme, whether spoken by Germans ("
The actors do all they can. But Lucas and company did not get the script right with this one, which is the single, dubious link "Red Tails" has to "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."
"Red Tails" Movie Trailer
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