Red Tails has been a long time coming, George Lucas has been working on it for quite some time, I first heard about it around a year a go, I think I saw an early posted that had been mocked up. Right off the bat I knew exactly the sort of film he was making, and lordy did I ever want to be proved wrong…
The story is about the African American pilots in the Tuskegee air command. They were the first African American pilots and endured chronic racism as well as shoddy, second-hand equipment.
The movie is a Lucasfilm production but directing credits go to Anthony Hemingway, better known for his TV work on things like: The Wire, Falling Skies and CSI: NY. For the actors we get Terrance Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr, Nate Parker, David Oyelowo, Ne-Yo and more.
What we don’t get is a decent movie. Not even close. I can, without hesitation, say I haven’t seen a movie like this for quite some time, and not in a good way.
As I said I had an inkling what sort of movie this would be and I was right, I didn’t want to be, but I was. The pilots of the Tuskegee endured some awful things and this movie just sees to compound their misery. Hollywood has stepped back to the 80’s and made a ‘Fuck-Yeah America Rules And Kicks-Ass’ movie. It’s a crying shame to see. It’s not even a good example of an ‘American Rules And Is Best At Everything’ movie, in fact it’s probably the worst.
The script is just awful, I mean truly, truly awful, I almost want to bring out the ‘R’ word here, but I won’t, I’m not an African American so can’t say if it is or not, but I wouldn’t be pleased!
For instance, one of the pilots has a picture of Jesus in his plane, which he refers to as “black Jesus”…WTF? The pilots are shown laughing and joking whilst in aerial dog-fights or generally killing Germans…again, seriously?This was 1944 in Italy, World War II, the people fighting were not laughing and joking as they did so, everything you read says it was hell on Earth!
There’s a scene were an injured Tuskegee pilot crash-lands, his plane bursts into flames, literally in flames sat at the side of the runway. Amazingly, they manage to get to the plane, get high enough to the cockpit (the wings have fallen off at this point) and pull him out, saving his life…ok then.
Also, if you search on YouTube for WWII aircraft footage you can see some of the moves plucked straight from these films. This is about the only factually accurate thing in the movie, it’s littered with mistakes literally from the start.
The film opens by saying it’s 1944 with a song playing in the background. This song is: “It’s Been a Long, Long Time,” which was written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn to celebrate the war’s end and not released until 1945. FFS! They say “Aircrafts” with an ’s’, whereas you say “Aircraft” traditionally, particularly in 1944. The pilots never experience any sort of G-Force, I could go on. Oh and there’s a completely pointless love story thrown in for good measure!
The only good thing about this film are the dogfights, they aren’t brilliant, but they are good, the CGI is impressive.
But the movie is just so awful. There’s an orchestral ‘trying-to-move-you-to-tears’ score running throughout which just pisses you off. There’s every black Hollywood stereo-type in this movie, it’s a crass, cliché ridden heap of god-awfulness.
The Tuskegee Airmen deserve so much better than this George Lucas, cartoon, fantasy that he’s dreamed up. He has recently said he’s going to stop making large-scale films and possibly films altogether, on the basis of this: good riddance!
You can buy Red Tails on DVD here: Red Tails (DVD)
You can buy Red Tails on Blu-Ray here: Red Tails (Blu-Ray)