The Tuskegee Airmen Deserve Better Than "Red Tails"

The Tuskegee Airmen Deserve Better Than "Red Tails"


Genre: Historical action drama

Premise: A group of heroic African-American pilots in the Tuskegee training program battle segregation on the ground and Nazis in the air.

Behind-the-Scenes: Executive producer George Lucas tried to get this movie made for the better part of 20 years.  Rumor has it that, unhappy with director Anthony Hemingway's work, Lucas himself took to directing several of the reshoots.

The Good:  The story of the Tuskegee Airmen is one worth telling.  The aerial combat scenes have a kick to them, despite the heavy use of CGI.

The Bad:  The script is full of hackneyed cliches and one-dimensional portraits of both racism and heroism during World War II.  Jingoistic and simplistic to a fault.  There are a number of talented young actors here, but they come across poorly thanks to heavy-handed dialogue that's all surface, no substance.  The two stars (Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Terrence Howard) are respectively stuck chomping on a pipe, and speechifying.

Should You See It?:  No.  The Tuskegee Airmen deserve better than this.  Check out the 1995 HBO movie starring Laurence Fishburne instead.

Rating: ** out of 5 stars.


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  • Totally disagree with reviewer.
    At least George Lucas is reminding America about these brave patriots.

  • It was much better than it had to be and was well worth seeing. It was a WWII movie filmed in the same way most WWII generation movies were. They were shot to present the purpose - not the individual feelings but the group. This way the movie can make its important points judged by the standard with the other WWII movies of the generation. With a Dad that flew light 2 engine bombers (B25) out of North Africa and was shot down over Italy, I have seen many of this generation movie and often discuss the war with this 94 year old. And despite his interest, he then, and following WWII had never heard of the Red Tails or the "T. Airmen". That IS the historical important point. If one has ever seen just one of the WWII generation films, Nick Sabin (COACH - ALABAMA in comments immediately after winning the national championship) said it best - I paraphrase as I remember his comments, "Every American should see this movie. Its about overcoming Adversity, American Can Do and Teamwork". RD Baton Rouge LA

  • As an African-American and a former USAF fighter pilot, I’m in my mid-40, and someone who knows a good deal the history of the Tuskegee Airmen. I have to admit that I was unimpressed with the movie. Everything that was stated about the movie in this review was SPOT-ON. George Lucas has once agree proved that he’s a genius when it comes to CGI effects, but his writing and directions is best left for professionals. Or at least people of his directing and writing talents, otherwise known as high schoolers learning their craft!!!
    I would go into detail as to why I didn’t like the movie but to go into detail would give away good potions of the plot or movie itself and I don’t like when others give away parts of a movie I intend on seeing. I agree that the 1995 HBO is a much better movie and more actuate to what they went though.

    2 stars

  • That's disappointing. I saw an interview with Lucas and he got me kind of excited to see an action movie without any white stars in it.

    But it doesn't surprise me to hear that Lucas over simplified it. Sad that he's incapable of creating good movies any more.

  • It's a good story, but the movie itself blew hard.

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