Academy Award Winner Cuba Gooding Jr. and Academy Award Nominee Terrence Howard lead a powerful ensamble cast in this high-flying epic inspired by the real-life adventures of the first African-American combat unit to serve in World War II.
Italy, 1944. As the war takes its toll on Allied forces in Europe, a squadron of black pilots known as the Tuskagee Airmen are finally given the chance to prove themselves in the sky... even as they battle discrimination on the ground. Featuring jaw-dropping aerial action and thrilling special effects, Red Tails is a breaktaking tribute to the unsung heroes who rose above extraordinary challenges and ultimately soared into history.
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The Tuskegee experiment resulted in the first ever all African American fighter squadrons entering service in WWII. Through discrimination and appalling racism both at home on the front lines these pioneering aviators earned a reputation as tough, dependable soldiers and even began to be specifically requested by bomber crews for escort missions deep into Germany. This should have formed the solid basis for a movie that showcased what these men endured and the challenges they rose to meet. Instead we have a very visually stunning movie that seems to gloss over the racism in favour of excitement. Don't get me wrong, the P-51s, P-40s, Bf109s and B-17s all look stunning and the dogfights are exciting, it's just that there's a far more important story here that gets sidelined amongst the CGI. Even the characters don't add up to much and can be summed up in simple terms such as religious guy, alcoholic, hayseed, new guy and the inevitable talent on a self destructive path. The German characters are all pantomime villains that are clearly meant to be booed and hissed at, they are neither developed or well executed. There is also an absurd romance to boot. Even the addition of the ever brilliant Cuba Gooding Jr and Terrence Howard isn't enough to lift this movie to something greater. The movie proudly exclaims that George Lucas was a driving force behind it and given his gravitas I would have hoped for a better researched and better executed piece. What's even sadder is that Lucas is firm friends with Spielberg, a man who can really deliver a WWII epic warts and all, however in his hubris Lucas has clearly taken no advantage of this relationship, so what we have is one of the all time great WWII stories fumbled to make some money at the box office. What was genuinely annoying is that there is a 60min documentary on the special features who does tell the truth, it is poignant and moving, everything the movie isn't.
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