Red Tails (2012) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
294 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
George Lucas doesn't know anything about aerial warfare!
Lyle F. Padilla1 February 2012
I'm a former US Air Force F-4 Phantom Weapons Systems Officer (backseater).

You know this movie is crap when you start with a supposed fighter squadron commander who doesn't know the difference between a SQUAD (thirteen infantrymen) and a SQUADRON (48 fighter pilots).

To paraphrase General George S. Patton, George Lucas doesn't know anything more about real aerial warfare than he does about f --- ing! (And George C. Scott may have said "fornicating" in the movie PATTON, but the real Patton used the real F-word!)

Lucas was absolutely the worst person in the movie industry to do this movie. This movie is only the latest of many giant steps down the primrose path which Lucas started the world's movie-viewing public with the first STAR WARS movie in 1977; I distinctly remember the documentary on the making of that movie, in which Lucas patted himself on the back for patterning his battle scenes after what he claimed to be the most realistic dogfight scenes ever filmed, and at the same time in the documentary intercutting his scenes with those from A YANK IN THE RAF which were absolutely THE phoniest looking flying scenes ever filmed! And he hasn't bothered to learn jack about aerial warfare in the last 35 years; he's just conned most of the whole world into thinking his cartoonish creations are reality when they're the farthest thing from it.

The technical fallacies are far too numerous to list. Lucas doesn't know the first thing about physics or aerodynamics, let alone the complexities of basic fighter maneuvering required to put bullets into another airplane and to prevent another airplane from doing that to one's own. He just makes his CGI airplanes do anything he wants them to do to fit his fantasies and fiction. Lucas is welcome to create his own sci-fi universe where he makes the rules. But for an "historical" movie like this claims to be, Chuck Jones could have made cartoon Mustangs imitating the Road Runner and cartoon Messerschmitts imitating Wile E. Coyote and his Acme gadgets, and they wouldn't have been any more technically inaccurate.

But that's just about the technical fallacies and impossibilities. One of the biggest issues I have is that this movie was incapable of making the 332nd Fighter Group look good without taking cheap, lying shots at the other US Army Air Force fighter groups who fought in Europe in World War II. And it once again demonstrates George Lucas's total ignorance of aerial warfare in World War II, if not his blatant disregard for the truth.

Fighters assigned to escort bombers did not fly in and among the bomber formations, and they certainly didn't stay there when enemy fighters attacked. Escorting fighters flew above and to the sides of the bomber formations, weaving in zigzag patterns to maintain their airspeed while staying even with the much slower bombers. To "stay with the bombers" meant disengaging from the enemy fighters and returning to the flanks of the bomber formation AFTER successfully driving off the enemy if not shooting them down within sight of the bomber formations, rather than pursuing the enemy back to their home bases. It was somewhat of an issue in 1943 when the P-51 Mustang had not yet been deployed to the front lines. The older shorter-ranged P-38 Lightning and P-47 Thunderbolt fighters did not have the capability to stay with the bombers all the way to targets deep in Germany, and the bombers suffered horrendous losses to German fighters past the range limits of the P-38s and P-47s. As more 8th Air Force fighter groups replaced their P-47s and P-38s with P-51s, tasks were rotated among the fighter groups between bomber escort and fighter sweep, the latter meaning that the fighters flew out ahead of the bomber route to intercept the German interceptors before they got within sight of the bombers, and/or destroy them on the ground on their own airfields.

Total abandonment of the bombers was NEVER condoned. The 8th Air Force was primarily a bomber force, and by the Fall of 1943 the B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator heavy bombers were endangered species. Jimmy Doolittle, the commanding general of the 8th, was no dummy; his doctrine of employing fighters in both bomber escort and fighter sweeps reduced the bomber losses to 20-25% of what they had been before the arrival of the P-51. The Italian-based 15th Air Force quickly followed suit with that doctrine. The promise in RED TAILS fictionally given by Colonel Bullard (actually a thinly disguised version of the real-life Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.) to reduce bomber losses by 70-80% was in real life fulfilled by all American fighter pilots in the European Theater. They not only reduced the bomber losses to a fourth of what they had been, but effectively eliminated the German Luftwaffe over their own home turf wherever they found them, and not just near the bomber formations.

RED TAILS insinuates throughout the length of the movie that the 332nd was the only fighter group that stayed with the bombers and that the other fighter groups violated operational orders and standing doctrine by abandoning the bombers in pursuit of German fighters for their own personal glory.

The Tuskegee Airmen of the 332nd had a more than honorable combat record and a story to be proud of, a story which could be told without trying to make other US Army Air Force fighter units look bad by telling falsehoods about them. The Tuskegee Airmen deserve better than that.
419 out of 535 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
This Movie SUCKS!!!!!!
skull-2122 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The Tuskegee Airmen deserved better than this tripe! Their story is a marvelous one but Lucas has ham fisted it into a caricature. I am extremely disappointed by this film. I hope someday Hollywood will finally realize that truth is often...... more entertaining than fiction, particularly when it comes to aviation and history.

These men were HIGHLY educated, technically astute, and physically fit. The USAAC/USAAF was doing everything in its power to disqualify black applicants for flying assignments by setting standards for them that were ridiculously high. The plan backfired, resulting in a Fighter Group composed of truly exceptional men. Yet NONE of this is conveyed in "Red Tails". We have an insubordinate hot shot, an alcoholic, a guy who likes to eat his pipe, and a mush mouth who just tells jokes.

It would have been nice to see a Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, or Clint Eastwood treatment on the topic. Maybe an interview with fighter ace Lee Archer and a few other Red Tails, then a flashback to the TRUE story, not this one dimensional nonsense.

A waste of some talented actors (and, my God, Terrence Howard was horrendous in this film) and special effects work (although some of the aerial choreography completely defied the laws of physics). The dialogue, particularly during the combat scenes is some of the worst I've ever heard. Also, the German "villain" is nothing like the Luftwaffe fighter pilots of World War II. These men were, as a whole, chivalrous and honorable, not to mention highly skilled and served for love of country, not for the fanatics who ran their government. The enemy in this film seems more like the Nazi/Hydra bad guy from "Captain America: The First Avenger" or something. Gag.

The acting is wooden, the writing atrocious, and the scenes disjointed. There is simply no cogent, coherent narrative here. It is basically a film about dogfights with shallow "drama" piecing them together. This film could have been so much better, but alas, George Lucas can't see the forest for the trees and squanders an opportunity to make a truly moving, memorable film that honors these men the way they should be honored.

Final analysis: This movie needs a lot more "Twelve O'Clock High" (a classic starring Gregory Peck, written by men who actually flew B-17s over Germany in combat) and a *lot* *less* "Pearl Harbor".
256 out of 338 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
One of the worst!
joed166722 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Horrible movie which did the same for The Tuskegee Airmen (1995) that Pearl Harbor did for Tora! Tora! Tora! Watching the movie, I felt like I was watching a Playstation game. The computer generated graphics were so unreal looking, unlike past WWII movies like Memphis Bell, Flags of our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. I expected far better from George Lucas but he made it look as if I was watching another of his Star Wars movies and his pilots were attacking the Death Star. There was also just too much unrealism like the P-40's appearing far superior to the ME 109's when in reality, it was the other way around. Or the four P-40's attacking the Luftwaffe base and practically destroying the whole base with little damage to themselves. Or the P-51 attacking the German destroyer causing massive explosions all throughout the ship, not to mention that by 1944, German surface ships were pretty much non-existent. And the B-17 bomber was a tough airplane and not brittle like the movie made it to be with wings sawed in half from enemy bullets. I also couldn't buy one of the white POW's who escaped with one of the Tuskegee airman (Junior), showing up at Ramstein air base to give them back Junior's dog tags then later on, Junior appearing back at the base. They were also very heavy with the touchy feely music throughout the movie.

The history of the Tuskegee Airmen is a great story to tell but this movie did a disservice and all too predictable. It's just too bad that movies drawn from historic events cannot be portrayed that way and instead, have to be Hollywoodized! This must've been a major disappointment for Cuba Gooding Jr., who starred in The Tuskegee Airmen.
118 out of 161 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
What an insult.
spentcasing29 May 2012
I figured with names such as George Lucas, Cuba Gooding Jr and Terrence Howard that Red Tails had to be a great movie. I couldn't have been more wrong. To start with the acting was sub-standard, it was as though I was sitting through a high school play. Everyone was very robotic sounding, no heart and soul per se. Gooding's performance was his worse yet and him constantly gnawing away on his unlit pipe, which he was pretending to smoke became an ongoing joke, I think they meant to put CGI smoke in afterwards but perhaps Mr. Lucas forgot or ran out of money to spend. On the bright side it was nice to see the guy that played Rick Simon from the 80's show Simon & Simon was alive and well. The plot was absolutely miserable. Characters that had no place being there, in particular the Italian love interest of one of the pilots. It seemed like the intent was suppose to be a sidelined plot, but if that was the idea, it failed. She had no place in this story. All the white folk are made out to be racists, save a few kind officers who pull for the Tuskegee airmen to get a fail shake, the white fighter pilots come off as over zealot morons who abandon their task at every whim to chase decoys, there is an alcoholic pilot who would have been booted from flying long ago, the reckless one that does what he wants and disobeys orders, who would have been court martialed and discharged in the first 10 minutes of the movie, and the list goes on and on, it was unbearable. Also, in this movie, apparently pilots are not subject to the laws of physics and G-force. The CGI looked cartoonish. The fighter planes were doing stunts and manoeuvres that would be obviously impossible in reality. Trains that explode and derail when shot at by 50 calibre guns, it goes on and on...Look I know it is a movie and not a documentary, but it kills me when at the beginning of the film it boldly states that this movie is based on factual events. The only factual events in Red Tails is that there was an all African American fighter squadron who painted their plane tails red, PERIOD. Bottom line, this flick had B-movie acting, crappy direction, a God-awful script, corny dog fighting scenes, cheap CGI graphics, unrealistic physics defying stunts and a out of place musical score, hip-hop music over the closing credits, please. I wish I never saw this movie.
47 out of 63 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
A weaker version of the 1995 film Tuskegee Airmen
FloridaBoy2421 January 2012
My biggest problem is that I saw the 1995 film Tuskegee Airman and loved it. I had to compare this current film to that and unfortunately found it extremely lacking.

I don't feel any connection to the characters in this film. Live or die, who knows or cares.

Contrasting that with the Tuskegee Airman, when people died in that film, you felt it. You cared about each single character and were emotionally invested with them.

So my saying, wait for DVD, and if you want a much better film, buy the Tuskegee Airman. You wont be disappointed.
65 out of 93 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
Not even worth a rental
Don Wilson23 January 2012
This is a very unfortunate attempt to tell an important story and is a disservice to the men who lived these historic events. The character development is non-existent and portrays these men in a stereotypical light. The portrayal of the German pilots creates a comic book atmosphere, you can almost see the dialog bubble above their heads saying "Curses! Foiled again!" as they sneer at their adversaries. The flight sequences remind me of those from 1940s and 1950s films where the "planes" are plastic models on cables with the cameras panning the model to depict motion. The only flight sequences which are realistic are the landing and take-off scenes. I am extremely disappointed in this film and expected much more from Lucas.
181 out of 278 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
Bad joke
Isaac4 May 2012
After ten minutes I began to tell myself... this can't be it. I continued watching... it was it. A bad joke, a nightmare, rubbish. You know the constant sensation and the feeling that something is really wrong... I don't have that often with films... but this one managed. How I managed not to break it off and leave it be is something I still can't explain.

From the first to the last dialog... nonsense, flat, cheese, even stupid, not funny at all, even when they searched fun. The characters... why bother to play? How it is possible, that good actors make such movies will always astonish me. The story... there are probably a lot of teenagers writing better stories. An accumulation of stereotypes. Blacks are cool, fun, indisciplined, all buds, unbreakable, superheroes. The white pilots are mean, racists. The Germans are just the incarnation of robotic evil... or something like that. Realism... no way! Nothing was believable... nor the actions, nor the acting...

Lamentably it is not a film to forget easily... horrid films seldom are... because you are constantly reminded how stupid you were to have made the mistakes of believing it was something to see and then actually watching it till the end.
22 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
A Bad Musical Score For A Bad Movie
mideleon23 January 2012
Among the many problems I had with Red Tails, I suppose one of the most egregious was the incredibly overbearing and cloying musical score. But in a rather sad way, the score perfectly fits the entirely forced and artificial nature of the movie itself. Now, I know that typically a film's musical score is used to enhance emotion, but in the case of Red Tails, the music is so over-the-top, in-your-face, and cliché ridden that I couldn't help but laugh at times. One example is the music we hear when a soldier drives into an Italian town. Yes, we know we're in Italy, but in case anyone is confused we're treated to a musical cue that sounds like the spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp. And if you can't figure out that the German pilot is a bad guy, why, the music will certainly tell you! Well, that and the GIGANTIC SCAR ON HIS German FACE!

And I'm sure I'll be called a pinko/commie for saying this, but what was up with playing America the Beautiful during the credits? It felt so forced, like the music in one of those "patriotic" animatronic exhibits at Disneyland that gets mocked. And the reason those are mocked is because they are lifeless objects trying to manipulate and force us to feel something without actually LETTING us feel that way on our own. It's cynical trickery. And that's how I feel about the score of Red Tails and pretty much the movie in general.

The men of the 332nd were heroes and patriots. Real ones. But they were also real men, not the cartoon characters in Red Tails. And the Tuskegee Airmen deserve better than the childish fantasy of George Lucas by way of Anthony Hemingway.
76 out of 118 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
Dull Tails!
zardoz-1322 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Anybody who has seen enough World War II movies knows that Hollywood has to resort to elaborate artifice to conjure up equipment which no longer exists in vast quantities. Each year attrition depletes the number of Allied planes, tanks, and war ships used in combat. Worse, most of the Axis equipment has been destroyed. The Spanish Air Force furnished the filmmakers of "Battle of Britain" (1969) with scores of vintage Nazi-era aircraft. Most movie makers aren't that fortunate. Now, every time that you see a World War II relic fly, you wonder if they haven't matted in additional models, or relied entirely on miniatures. Virtually no World War II movie since the 1950s has used a Sherman tank. They rely on either the Pentagon for Cold War era equipment or mock up something that resembles a Sherman.

Freshman director Anthony Hemingway's aerial epic "Red Tails" qualifies more as a showcase for the digital computer generated imagery which can forge greater authenticity than a salute to the famous Tuskegee Airmen of the 332nd Fighter Group. This is the kind of movie that gives history a bad name. Clocking in at a torturous 125 minutes, "Red Tails" shows flair when it's in the air but crashes and burns on the ground. The biggest stars in its gallery—Terence Howard and Cuba Gooding, Jr.,--ride desks, while a flock of relative newcomers wing it. Of course, any movie that involves historical racism in our enlightened era has to fly in circles. For the record, "Three Kings" scenarist John Ridley and "The Boondocks" scribe Aaron McGruder deploy the dreaded N-word once and then fall back on clichés as creaky as a period World War II combat actioneer. Worse, they make the Tuskegee Airmen behave like stock characters. Occasionally, Hemingway and his writers go off on tangents which weren't necessary, such as a "Great Escape" subplot. Indeed, most of what happens here is a predictable as any second-rate war film. Essentially, "Red Tails" is "Gettysburg" with wings. Nevertheless, whenever they show the aircraft and the settings, you have to admire the extraordinary CGI that producer George Lucas' special effects outfit, Industrial Light and Magic, has wrought. Now, if they'd only made the melodrama look as genuine as the aircraft and other equipment. Mind you, the train that gets blown up looks terrific!

"Red Tails" opens in Italy in 1944 as the black aviators, who prefer to be called 'Negros' rather than 'coloreds,' are flying antiquated P-40 Tomahawks on behind the lines missions. The Pentagon doesn't believe that African-Americans are courageous enough for the task at hand. In fact, the film quotes a racist excerpt from 1925 Army War College study that said blacks were not brainy enough, ambitious enough, or audacious enough to survive in combat. Consequently, our heroes fly custodial missions, literally mopping up what the Army has bypassed on the way to the front. If these guys are lucky, they get to shoot up a Nazi truck, and these fellows are itching to see some real action. Indeed, one of the pilots, reckless Lieutenant Joe 'Lightning' Little (David Oyelowo of "The Help"), disobeys his squadron leader, Captain Marty 'Easy' Julian (Nate Parker of "Pride"), when they strafe a Nazi transport train. Everybody else swoops in from the rear and riddles the train while the Germans gunners unleash a barrage of flak. Miraculously, nobody is wounded. Lightning decides to attack the train from the front, however, before it can enter the safety of a tunnel, and he blasts it to hell and gone. Watching the locomotive and freight cars buckle and explode makes you think that "Red Tails" is going to be a fiery ride.

Unfortunately, nothing really happens until the second hour when the Tuskegee Airmen join the fighting over Northern Europe. Interestingly enough, it seems that the white American fighter pilots who fly escort for the B-17 bombers on raids have a tendency to abandon them when they spot German fighters. What the American fighter pilots fail to recognize is the wily Germans are luring them off when the bulk of their fighters shoot the bombers to ribbons. USAAF Major General Luntz (Gerald McRaney of CBS-TV's "Simon & Simon") asks Colonel A.J. Bullard (Terence Howard of "Iron Man") about using his men to fly escort. Primarily, Luntz wants them to protect his heavy bombers rather than leave them in an aerial lurch. When Luntz promises that he will put the Tuskegee Airmen into brand, spanking-new P-51 Mustangs, Bullard takes him up on it. Initially, the white American bomber pilots don't have much faith when they see their first black pilot fly alongside them. Things change drastically when the Tuskegee guys stick to them and thwart the Germans.

Sadly, "Red Tails" seems designed for kids rather than armchair historians who have cut their teeth on History Channel documentaries. The subplots about an African-American pilot who wines and dines an Italian babe, while another struggles with his alcoholism are the embarrassing fluff of a soap opera. Mind you, these are dullest bunch of guys in uniform that you've ever seen. Not one single character stands out, and the Tuskegee Airmen were pretty outstanding individuals. Despite its glossy $58 million budget, "Red Tails" doesn't muster the dramatic clout of the Golden Globe-nominated HBO made-for-cable movie "The Tuskegee Airman" (1995) with Laurence Fishburne and Cuba Gooding, Jr. Moreover, Terence Blanchard's orchestral theme music keeps everything in snooze control for the duration. Not only the Tuskegee Airmen but also the audiences deserve best than "Red Tails" delivers.
37 out of 54 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
Walked out before the movie was over.
rrc-223 January 2012
I cannot speak to the whole movie as I could not be bothered to waste my time all the way to the end. I can tell you why I left though. The acting was terrible. It is almost as if the actors are shot up with some kind of depressant. When they are attempting to be funny it comes across as ridiculous. When they are trying to be serious it comes across as boring and slight. When they are trying to be dramatic or inspiring it falls so far short as to make you wonder why you are still there. (and why I left).

Aside from the inadequate acting, the characters themselves as written are not what you would expect. They are not disciplined or particularly smart. They are benign, happy go lucky, airy, slapstick caricatures. The shots of them in combat ring about as true as Spy Kids.

It is really as though the people involved in making this movie have never even bothered to view other war movies, never mind trying to reach for the tone and feeling of real life war. There is no sense that the true emotional core of this topic is ever seriously attempted.

This subject matter is so inspiring on its own that it is quite shocking to see that something this unfeeling and flat could be the result.
114 out of 183 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
Dreadfully contrived. Avoid.
SE-LA22 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
However remarkable the achievements of the real Muskegee Airmen, "Red Tails" is an unworthy telling of their story that will satisfy only the most unsophisticated viewers.

The script is heavy-handed, contrived, and banal. The dialogue is horribly stereotypical, and predictable and lifeless. Much of the acting is painful to watch. The directing is muddled and unclear, stringing together in the crudest manner a series of contrived and often-disposable vignettes obviously designed to push a message or elicit an emotional response rather than to develop the story.

The film's many problems emerge from the outset. These African-American airmen have been consigned to essentially non-combat patrols in areas where enemy planes haven't been seen in months. Yet in their first engagement with Luftwaffe veterans, they wipe the bad guys out while suffering zero losses. Seriously? Through the entire film, we never see them train, never see them study, never see them work on tactics or strategy or skills. All they do is complain and BS. I have no doubt the real Muskegee airmen worked hard to hone their technique; these characters do not. Nevertheless, they easily vanquish everything the Germans throw their way. Incredible.

I could go on and on and on, but suffice it to say that if you want to see a worthy telling of African-Americans' contributions to the US military, avoid this clunker at all costs and watch "Glory" instead.
48 out of 73 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
Anthony Hemingway should be embarrassed
Patrickgrem24 January 2012
The Script was awful (probably handwritten and about a page and a half of college rule paper) the acting was the worst, the love story was lame. Just an all-around BAD movie.

You think before it was released someone would have reviewed the movie and say " Man, thats an awful movie... Might need to rethink this one."

I am mad because this movie had so much potential and I in my opinion it fell flat on its face. It looked cheap and poorly done from the beginning. Should have left this one to a directer that knows what they are doing. This movie made Fly Boys look like it should have won Best Picture.
99 out of 163 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
An insult to brave men Warning: Spoilers
Did any of the idiots involved in this tripe ever read about WW2 and in particularly air combat or watch a documentary about the air war?

The planes in this junk seemed more akin to those flown by Luke Skywalker than any actual WW2 airplanes.

How the coloured actors involved allowed themselves to take part in this absolute insult to their very brave WW2 flying brethren amazed me. If the real Tuskegee Airmen had behaved like that they would have had little to complain about when the white fliers ridiculed them.

Whooping and hollering in air combat whilst speaking into their masks hanging beside their faces was frankly embarrassing to watch. It may have been a way to identify the actors but they did not do that in the Battle Of Britain film and we all managed OK. The ridiculous raid on the Nazi airfield with an endless supply of bullets was a major embarrassment and even films in the 60s were not that cheesy. Adding an equally ridiculous scowling Nazi airman who flies a super plane that does things impossible even for Hollywood made the film even more laughable. You did not see pilots in BOB swapping anecdotes as they shot down Nazi planes and whoopingly congratulating each other on a good shot when in reality they were fighting for their lives. The air combat was utterly ridiculous.

The Tuskegee Airmen was a very good film tribute to some fine men of colour who struggled against all odds to prove themselves worthy to fight alongside their white comrades. And whilst I am sure there were celebrations when they came back victorious after missions I am also sure that they were not a pack of childish idiots as portrayed here. The Tuskegee Airmen deserved a big movie remake but involving the even stupider half of the Lucas/Spielberg duo of useless film makers certainly was not what should have been on show. The white airmen were professional and disciplined fliers whilst their coloured counterparts were shown as a bunch of circus clowns. One new recruit salutes his fellow officers and is told "you can forget all that here, your home now boy." Another pilot flies home after a mission with a damaged plane and seems more interested in identifying his next girlfriend rather than coaxing his plane home. In the first half of the film these men are so unprofessional you would not let them wash the planes let alone fly them. This insults brave men who showed tremendous courage to overcome so many obstacles just to be able to sit in the cockpit. What would be the outcry if they had made the Band Of Brothers series with a bunch of retarded cowboy idiots instead of a highly professionally group of parachutists but it's OK to portray the Tuskegee Airmen like this? I don't think so, these lads deserved a lot better than this crew of idiots who should hang their heads in shame from director to actors.

This garbage is a History For Imbeciles reworking of a worthy chapter of WW2 and may amuse a few 12 year olds for an hour or so but was a shameful exhibition of a film. I was really looking forward to this but instead am appalled at how once again Hollywood can trivialise the most serious subject in pursuit of a buck. Garbage with a capital GAR!
22 out of 32 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
Disgraceful waste of celluloid..
Greywolf9073 May 2012
Having seen and enjoyed the original telling of this story, I thought I had better check this movie out to see what Lucas could do with the story.

I expected better than this, I am sure that anyone connected with the daring and groundbreaking efforts of the airmen in the war expected better too.

From the first scene to the last this 'movie' sucks relentlessly with as much gusto as dear old George can muster, you can almost hear his wheezing as if he is actually sucking a golf ball through a 100 foot length of hosepipe, It's THAT painful.

The story itself is deserving of a place in the history books, my sadness while watching tripe like this, is that newer generations than I, may well stumble over this 'D' movie in years to come and actually believe that this is how it was.

The script is appalling, the acting....acting!....I really was looking for signs of the cgi removal of the puppets strings throughout as I was almost convinced that these were marionettes/puppets as opposed to real walkin', talking' types.

The dialogue between the pilots during their battle sequences is laughable, not in a funny ha ha sort of way, but in the very nervous way that laughs are ejaculated when you hear such banal 'banter'

This is gung ho American tripe of the highest order, I am not sure if there are even Americans around any more who would be conned by the dialogue..... "We're (black) so we've been given hand me down planes".... "Yeah, feels like I'm flying my grandfathers Buick".....

pause for laughter......

While attacking a military railway......"Lets give the press back home something to write about..."

While attacking a battle cruiser......"How you like that mister Hitler...."

I am sure that Mr Hitler would have been more alarmed at having 80% of his massed military forces destroyed by single prop fighter planes that defy the laws of aeronautical physics and destroy with impunity.

Thank God for George Lucas, without him and his compatriots the rest of the world would still be under the heel of Hitlers Jackboot.

Here's another spoiler for you...............THIS MOVIE IS UTTER TRIPE from start to finish
16 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
Stealth_Ninja_Kitty22 January 2012
I expected better. The CG was impressive, but the aerial fights were very boring, no intensity to them at all. The acting was mediocre and I don't think the actors were talking like they were suppose to. By this I mean they didn't speak like they were from the '30s. They sounded like the stereotypical African-Americans, which was unfortunate.

The dialogue in this movie was very cheesy, and the way the characters acted during aerial fights was very unrealistic. They didn't seem concern at all that they could die. Sadly, I wished death upon the characters so the movie would end, the worst part is how many times the film tries to be funny with comic relief and the filmmakers could have at least make the aerial fights intense and gripping, but no, they made the fights boring with lots of explosions (Michael Bay status).

This has to be the most disappointing war movie I've ever seen. Don't make the same mistake I did, 2 hours of my life wasted because of this movie, don't... make... the... same... mistake...
83 out of 148 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
I don't even know what to say.
chasetafer070717 February 2012
I registered for IMDb just so I could write this review. This is by far the absolute worst movie I have ever seen. I walked out of the movie theatre laughing, but it was seriously awkward. As I drove home I felt like I was in another life where our species is capable of creating dog poop and smearing it all over a screen and calling it a movie. Not joking. A cat could have come up with a better plot. A lizard could have written a better script. I felt like I was watching a bad episode of Tailspin.

At one point one of the pilots sees a German do some trick with his plane. A few scenes later this man is in jail. A few scenes later he is flying, pulls a handle, and his plane automatically does a backflip. He learned how to do it from the German.

I think the script may have been written in crayon.

When the white pilots speak in their bombers, they sound like retarded robots.

A guy is taken as a prisoner of war in what was supposed to be an emotional scene. Abruptly the scene cuts to a man playing a guitar and happily singing. The transition was just awkward.

A guy has a fuel leak in his jet and he's been shot, but his plane is perfectly capable of flying and landing (he has flaps and landing gear). His superior officer tells him to bail out instead of landing (makes no sense). He can't get his canopy open, so then his superior officer tells him to just land (why not do that in the first place). He comes in for a landing and like two feet above the ground some nightmare of physics happens, and all of a sudden the plan is tumbling down the runway in a devastating crash. Someone pulls the pilot from the wreckage and he is apparently OK. About five minutes after the crash, the fuel that had been leaking catches fire and the plane explodes. Very very very very stupid.

I am a pilot in the Air Force. I just left the movie and my head was spinning. I couldn't believe that I had actually just seen such a terrible display of humanity. This movie makes Fast and Furious look like Shawshank Redemption or Gladiator.

If you wanted to make me commit suicide, you would put me in a room with this movie playing 24/7.

This is such rubbish.

I seriously do not have words to describe my feelings right now. I am not even disappointed. I almost feel like it was so bad that we actually achieved something with this movie. Like we may have actually done something that never has been done before and never will again.

I feel like this movie was an absolute sin.

I seriously am trying to get across to you, the reader, a feeling that cannot be put into words. My head has been spinning for the last hour. Because of this movie I am struggling to truly comprehend reality.

After 1 hour of this movie I was ready to walk out or fall asleep, but I was just intrigued by the absolute devastation I was feeling that I stayed and finished it.

The movie really doesn't end, the screen just all of a sudden starts rolling credits.

This movie is kind of like a Chuck Norris joke in and of itself. I don't know if that makes any fact none of this review has made sense, but I feel like it is the sum total of my emotional response to the absolute worst movie I have ever seen.

I told my buddy who saw it with me that I was going to come home and watch Nacho Libre in order to re-ground myself.

Stupendously horrific.
38 out of 63 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
Tuskegee Airman deserve better this
gregeichelberger17 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Anthony Hemingway (with assistance from George Lucas) has done something few directors have been able to achieve - he has created a war film almost completely devoid of drama, passion or interest. And given the subject matter of this movie, that's an amazing statistic.

Based on "true events," "Red Tails" is a chronicle - somewhat - of the famous group of black pilots who began their segregated training in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1943. The men were supposed to augment their white counterparts in mainly mop-up missions in already occupied European territory, but a shortage of white pilots necessitated their entry into active combat.

Formally becoming the 332nd Fighter Group, but forever known as the Tuskegee Airmen, this brave unit, who fought a two-front battle - first at home against white skepticism and racism during training, and then over the skies against Luftwaffe pilots - deserved a much better story than the tepid, disjointed effort Hemingway gives them here.

The first problem is that we're given no context as to what these men went through in Alabama, where the dangers they faced by an angry surrounding Caucasian populace was equal, if not worse, than what they would face against the Germans. There's nothing about this segment of the real story, instead, we're deposited directly in Italy in 1944, months after the first group has shipped out overseas.

Few in the audience will realize just how difficult this part of these pilots' lives really was, and Hemingway certainly could have shown SOME kind of backstory to bring the point home. With no racial context whatsoever, when one of the men, Joe "Lightning" Little (David Oyelowo, "The Help," "Rise Of the Planet Of the Apes") finally meets some bigots, it's as if they dropped down from the planet Mars.

Another sin Hemingway commits is to tear down the reputation of white fighter pilots in an effort to build up the Tuskegee Airmen, a device that is completely unnecessary. The opening scene shows moronic escort pilots abandoning their heavy bombers like crazy while stereotypical evil Germans mow everyone down.

The black airmen can stand on their own record without making the white pilots look like foolish glory hunters who willfully sacrificed the lives of the bomber crews. There's enough room in the story of World War II for both races (and many, many others) to share credit.

Then there's the dialogue and - to a certain extent -the over-the-top acting. This is never more evident than when one of the men tries to land his crippled plane, uttering things like, "My head, it hurts," "I'm getting dizzy" and "I must have passed out." These are lines that could have come directly from those B-grade propaganda pictures cranked out during the real war.

But let's get to the plot, which tells of a squadron of Tuskegee pilots, including Little, Ray "Junior" Gannon (Tristan Wilds, "The Secret Live Of Bees"), Maurice "Bumps" Wilson (Michael B. Jordan) and leader Martin "Easy" Julian (Nate Parker, "The Great Debaters"), among others, who are assigned rickety planes for duty far from front line action.

These young actors do the best they can, but the dramatic roles seem a bit too much for them, at times. Even the inclusion of Oscar nominees Terrence Howard ("Hustle & Flow") and Cuba Gooding, Jr. ("Jerry Macguire") does not help.

The pilots do distinguish themselves, however, enough to draw the ire of a villainous white colonel (Brian Cranston, "Malcolm In the Middle," "Breaking Bad" TV series) trying to shut the unit down; but kindly Gen. Luntz (Gerald McRaney, "Major Dad") sees something special in the group and allows them to cover an amphibious landing and then to escort bombers over German territory.

Of course, the men do not leave their bombers and become heroes, so much so that Luntz allows them to take the bombers in their first leg in an attack on Berlin itself. In this battle, they will see an example of the Messerschmidt-262, the world's first jet aircraft.

This doesn't seem to faze these pilots, though, because the Nazis in this movie are the gang that couldn't shoot straight, and even with the ability to travel three times the speed of a propeller-driven aircraft, are still routed at every turn.

These dogfights are decent CGI footage, but are nowhere near as compelling as those in other films such as "Top Gun," "Memphis Belle," "The Blue Max" or even the 1927 silent film, "Wings."

To top it all off, Hemingway then throws in a ridiculous love story between Little and an Italian woman that is totally out of place, as well as a short segment that turns the picture into "Stalag 17" and "The Great Escape." Plus, a melodramatic, manufactured "happy" ending tacked on puts the icing on this entire disappointing experience.

I give the director(s) some credit for trying, but in an effort to make another "Glory" or even "A Soldier's Story," they have turned the true story of a group of brave men battling the odds from the enemy and their supposed comrades into a dull, soulless, heartless A&E documentary.

Then again, however, at least the documentary would be telling the real story.
50 out of 86 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
An Old-Fashioned War Movie
blackhawk6621 January 2012
RED TAILS, the movie about the Tuskegee Airmen that was produced by George Lucas, premiered today. My wife and I went to an afternoon matinée. We both enjoyed the movie. If the STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES movies were Lucas' attempts to recreate the serials of the 1930s and 1940s, then RED TAILS is his 1945 war movie. It has a very old fashioned feel about it, as if it had been made in 1945 and then stored away until now. I like that but not everyone does. The movie has received a lot of negative reviews from the professional critic class. Many of those reviews dislike RED TAILS because of that old fashioned sensibility. Apparently, war movies made now are only allowed to be cynical and anti-war. RED TAILS is neither anti-war nor pro-war, but it is definitely pro-heroes. There are no anti-heroes in this movie; the pilots and their ground crews are portrayed as real heroes. Some reviews opine that the characters are shallow and not well developed. Again, I did not feel that at all. The characters, including relatively minor supporting characters, seemed well rounded and each one unique enough that it was easy to tell them apart, even when they were in cockpits with helmets and oxygen masks covering much of their faces. Maybe some of the characters were stereotypes that we have seen in war movies many times before, but for me, that added to the period feel of the movie. Another common thread in the professional critics reviews is that they were unhappy that the movie did not devote more time to exploring the discrimination experienced by the Tuskegee pilots. I don't think this is justified, either. The movie does show the pilots experiencing discrimination, both institutionally in the way the Army assigned them missions and equipment, and individually in their interactions with other soldiers. However, it is also true that is not the main focus of the movie. The movie's focus is on the air battles and how that combat effects each of them in different ways. In interviews, Lucas has said that his intent was to show the Tuskegee Airmen as heroes, not victims. I think he succeeded.

Okay, that addresses some of the issues that are clouding this movie. For some of us, the question is; are the air battles done well? The answer, IMHO, is a resounding "yes." In making the movie, they had three P-51 Mustangs, one B-17 Flying Fortress and a C-47 available for filming. Everything else is CGI or full scale mock-ups. As is to be expected for a movie which had its visual effects supervised by Industrial Light and Magic, the CGI is outstanding. Squadrons of B-17s, P-51s, P-40s, Bf 109s and Me 262s fill the sky and look completely real. The dogfights are shot and edited so that it is not difficult to follow the action. There is none of the super fast cutting that is the bane of so many action movies these days. There is plenty of air action, too, though it was not enough to satisfy me. Of course, they could have made the movie nothing but air action and I still would have wanted more.

Is it a perfect movie? No, of course not. It has a couple of subplots (a romance and a prison escape) that are well done but not really necessary to the movie (though my wife would disagree with me about the romance). Some of the dialogue is a bit clunky, but what kind of George Lucas movie would this be if that were not the case? It is filled with beautiful aircraft, though, and for me that makes up for any shortcomings. If you don't mind a war movie that is not cynical but instead is about courage under fire and patriotism, then I think you will enjoy this movie.
155 out of 291 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
Just One Word: BAD
oskar_toledo11285 February 2012
And a little advice to all of you out there: Save your money and just go watch "The Tuskeguee Airmen" from the History Chanel's Dogfigths show, online for free ... And why cant someone give to George Lucas a candy and send him forever home, Please?. He has already made tons of money, why he just stay at his ranch, fantasizing whit "his universe", and stop destroying histories that, without his hands on them, could be awesome to see on film!!! I am an aerial WWII combat sim fan (not much credibility :) on that one), but much of of the millionaire CGI showed in the movie are the cheapest done in the last years for a movie of this kind of topic, aerial warfare, and shows better done in games like iL-2 Sturmovik whit mods and adds!!! And the narrative of the history, oh dear, just go figure, is even worst than Pearl Harbor!!! So, History bufs, service men, Historians, aerial warfare fans, good film fans, etc, STAY AWAY FROM THIS ¿$%&!.

20 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
Bring a pillow & jammies. This one's a sleeper.
Bolly_Boba_Booboo29 March 2012
So entirely disappointed by the most boring movie ever. I kept twisting and turning and ho-humming in my seat waiting and begging for something to happen. Nothing ever did. Sure there were a few scenes where the 3D looked acceptable. I wasn't looking for a special effects movie, I was looking for the story...... The story was so geared towards movie buffs, old movies; there is hardly a child that will understanding nor care about the plot. I almost fell asleep. I had such high hopes for this one. I didn't cry, I didn't chuckle.... just watched, and watched, and watched. It felt like it would never end. After awhile all I could think of is the $20 I spent plus the $20 for popcorn and soda and what I could have done with my $40.
14 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
sadly, such a lot of wasted potential
HelenMary14 January 2013
I had high hopes for this; Cuba Gooding Jnr, Terence Howard, David Oyelowo and Bryan Cranston in the same film? Surely this would be a master work of cultural importance highlighting egregious racial slights in WWII which were - clearly - absurd? The topic laid open the opportunity for aerial combat scenes that would make Top Gun look like walk in the park given that it's nearly 30 years on and surely SFX would have improved exponentially - it's LucasFilm for crying out loud - George Lucas knows a bit about SFX, right? Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. WRONG. This was Red Tails, light. The Disney version of the story, if you will.

The acting, with the notable exceptions of Oyelowo, who tried SO hard to carry the film, Gooding Jnr & Howard who given their heavy-weight were woefully under-utilised but still shone in every scene (especially Howard) but who has Terence Howard in a film and only give him about four scenes? Who!? David Oyelowo's maverick-type character "Lightening" was the only character with depth, but even he struggled with the ridiculously poor script and naive plot formation as the film was a staccato of - largely predictable - events. Of course the dogfights and flying scenes were key but there was so much potential that was glossed over. insubordination, alcoholism, unlikely romance, fear and righteous rage at a government scorning them because of the colour of their skin! It could have been mindblowing... it should have been edge of the seat tense but nothing about this hit the nail on the head. It missed on every point. Direction, score, script, acting etc and even the aerial combat scenes were poor. It had no passion, or realism. There were a few good aerial moves but it was without emotional response, consequence or discipline!

For telling a true story, or at least based on true events and the Tuskegee Training program, these airmen were fighting to prove wrong (!) a Government edict that stated that Black people weren't smart, coordinated, skilled, brave or loyal enough to fly a plane in battle and would chicken out, as they were gutless. What a story to take part in!! Woefully disappointing. The moments of bravery, sentient, beauty, faith and camaraderie were glossed over, not enough made of them, and it felt like it dragged; I was convinced it was a three hour film as whilst things happened, they didn't *HAPPEN.* Overall it was too ... vanilla. This film shouldn't have been a 12A. It should have been real and raw and visceral. Oh what a waste.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
very disappointing
jeff-frank30 January 2012
Donna and I went and saw Red Tails last night. I must say I was very disappointed in it, almost boring. The original HBO Tuskegee Airmen was good, it showed what they had to go thorough to serve their country. Except for maybe 5 min Red Tails could have been about any squadron in WWII. Some good special effects but not very much, a lot of Lucky courting some Italian girl, didn't bring much to movie. All in all very disappointing. I would give it maybe two stars and that's a stretch. So much history about the Tuskegee Airman you would think that they could have made a better picture. If you didn't know some of the history this movie would be confusing and meaningless it was just plain terrible ;-(
19 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
I threw it away and it was a Christmas gift.
armtanker4 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is awful. German planes all nicely lined up on a paved airfield. I laughed so hard. The German dispersed their planes. The flying sequences are a joke and so is the cartoon like computer battles.

I was given this movie as a Christmas gift. I watched it and threw it away on Christmas.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
Perhaps the Most Inaccurate World War 2 Film Ever Made
johnpelaro27 May 2015
When the 332 Fighter Group, usually known as the Tuskegee Airmen, started flying bomber escort missions in May of 1944, much of the Luftwaffe's front line combat strength had already been decimated, largely as a result of Operation Pointblank, which reached its peak during Operation Argument, Big Week, February 20-26. This was a focused attempt, largely the brainchild of Jimmy Doolittle, to savage Germany's aircraft industry and decimate its fighter squadrons. It went into full scale during January of 1944, and ended in April, as bomber missions then started a concentrated campaign to cut Germany's supply of oil and to cripple its transportation infrastructure prior to D-Day. The Tuskegee fliers took no part in it. During that period, the Eighth Air Force's top pilots ( based in England , and under Doolittle's command ), Francis Gabreski, Robert Johnson and Don Gentile scored 10, 15 and 19 kills on Luftwaffe fighters, respectively. John Godfrey, Gentile's wingman, shot down 6 ( incidentally, the Gentile/Godfrey team was the most famous fighter pairing of World War 2 ). To make this as clear as possible, between January and April of 1944, these four pilots downed half as many planes as the entire 332nd did IN ITS FULL YEAR OF FLYING ESCORT MISSIONS ! Contrary to the film's adolescent dramatics, fighters were directed to seek out and pursue German fighters BEFORE THEY COULD REACH THE BOMBERS ! Dead Germans could not hurt the bombers, and bomber losses to fighters plummeted throughout 1944 ( however, German flak got much worse, as 88mm guns were pulled from the Russian Front to protect German cities). Likewise, accompanying bombers over target areas made no sense for our fighters, as German fighters usually struck before and after the B17s and B24s hit their industrial targets SO AS NOT TO BE SHOT DOWN BY THEIR OWN FLAK ! Flying over target thus put fighters at unnecessary risk from flak, which they had no power over during escort missions. Regarding the Curtis P 40 ( which is loudly complained about in the movie by 332nd pilots ), British, Australian and South African pilots were very successful against Axis fighters with them in North Africa ( Clive Caldwell , top Aussie Ace, notched 20 kills with the P 40 before being transferred to the Pacific ). At the same time the 332nd was receiving P 51s, The Flying Tigers (14th Air Force ) were still overwhelmingly dependent on P 40s, using them to great effect the spring of 1944 to thwart the Japanese Ichi-Go Offensive in China, not completely converting to P 51 Mustangs until June of 1945. CONCLUSION : The only way to enjoy this movie is by knowing little about WW2, nothing about the air war, less than nothing about the war in the Mediterranean, and much less than nothing about the air war in the MTO. Spielberg has colluded to insult every other American fighter group, especially the other six ( 1st, 14th, 82nd---all flying P38s---31st, 52nd, and 325th ---all flying P51s the last year of the war ) that served the Fifteenth Air Force along with the 332nd. Those six groups downed over 1,400 Axis planes, on average each credited with twice as many kills as The Tuskegee guys. GOT THE PICTURE ? Read The Forgotten Fifteenth by Barrett Tillman for more insights !
8 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote!
Copied to clipboardCopy link
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed