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“Red Tails” Review – What We Thought… What You Thought… Let’s Go!

"Red Tails" Review - What We Thought... What You Thought... Let's Go!

Even though I saw the film about 2 weeks ago, I thought I’d wait to post any thoughts on it until some of you folks had seen it as well. So, now that you have, what do you think of it?

You’ve probably all figured out by now, given the hints that Sergio and I have dropped over the last week or so, that neither of us cared for Red Tails.

But maybe it’s because we aren’t in its target audience, and thus our criticisms of it ultimately don’t matter.

After all, George Lucas himself described it as “patriotic,” “corny” and “for teenaged boys.” I won’t speak for Sergio, but I can probably handle “patriotic” to an extent; “corny” in doses and in the right circumstances; but a teenage boy I’m not; but that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate a well made superficial thrill like any 18-year old; the key words there being “well made.”

That John Ridley and Aaron McGruder are listed as the authors of the film’s cut-rate, rather juvenile script is mind-boggling to me, and I’m inclined to believe the rumors that circulated in 2010 stating that George Lucas wasn’t pleased with what he saw of the film at the time, and essentially took it over (I believe the words used were “massive rewrites and reshoots”). Of course Lucas’ people later denied it, dismissing those rumors, and replacing them with announcements that Lucas was simply doing some second unit/pickup shooting.

But this thing has George Lucas written all over it. If you’ve seen any of the 3 Star Wars prequels, you’d recognize his imprint, starting with the often cringe-worthy dialogue; Terence Howard, David Oyelowo, Cuba Gooding Jr, Bryan Cranston and the other actors in the film do their best with the material given to them, but, really, much of it just didn’t work at all for me. 

Too much cheese to chew and swallow in one 2-hour seating.

Or maybe Ridley, McGruder and director Anthony Hemingway were all simply acting on Lucas’ orders, and the flimsy handling of the material was all perfectly intentional on the creative teams’ part. Afterall, as already noted, Lucas did describe the film, in the interview with John Stewart on The Daily Show (which got passed around quite a bit), as a “nationalistic, corny, action movie for teenage boys.” But for some reason, that portion of the interview seemed to just float above the heads of many, and instead, what got all the attention was his sentence about Hollywood not wanting to finance the movie because of its all-black cast, as if that’s something we all didn’t already know quite well. Maybe because it came from the mouth of a white man, and we all somehow felt like our plight had been validated – like that would make much of a difference in that plight anyway.

Come on people!

He gave us an idea of what to expect in the film, yet, after that interview got passed around, I continued reading and hearing thoughts from many who were excited to see the film, all expecting some historical epic of a movie that thoughtfully and intricately paid homage to the stories of the real brave black men who endured plenty at home and abroad, as representatives of this country at a time of war.

That’s not the movie I saw.

This is the same issue I had with The Help, in that the momentous matters of race are handled so simplistically, as almost an afterthought (a melodramatic speech here and there, and not much more), and emphasis was instead placed on the film’s high-techs.

If his intent was to make an action movie, then maybe he really should’ve just gone balls-to-wall, Michael Bay-style and said to hell with a cohesive, intelligible plot and focused instead on how many ways he could blow shit up. I would’ve maybe had more respect for the film then; instead we get this pretense of a narrative that just didn’t move me, and aerial fight sequences that were at times cool, but just not enough to make up for, or hide the film’s glaring weaknesses.

I actually REALLY wanted to like the film; really I did. I hoped for something superior to what I eventually saw. And as far as I’m concerned, the real Tuskegee Airmen deserve far better than this.

That’s just how I see it folks… I could go on, but why bother. You get the point.

Clearly others agree because, according to Rottentomatoes.com, 66% of reviews of Red Tails are negative.

But I’m sure many of you will disagree with me on this, so bring it on :)

What did you think of Red Tails?

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Comments

Jennifer Kelly

I absolutely loved this movie and actually did a report on it in one of my college classes. I am not a teenage boy.

Leroi Pryce

I wasn't a huge fan of this teenage comic book movie. The Love Story was unnecessary and ridiculous. NeYo sounded like Steppin Fetchit. The plot was lacking….. So I made a hilarous SpooF of it. Here it is—–> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Krw74qP1yQ&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Patrick

Knowing it was a George Lucus production, all I wanted was to be entertained. I didn't expect a drama about the Tuskagee airmen or for this film to change my life. It's Lucus for crying out loud! I wanted stuff to blow-up and have a good time! Well stuff blow up and I kept looking at my watch. It was a poorly written film. This could have been as fun as Indiana Jones, that was made for fourteen year old boys. Also, it's okay to constructively criticize Black films. Just because it's got black folks in it doesn't mean it's a good movie.

Pomme

All of you, who had something negative to say about Red Tails, KILL YOURSELF 3 TIMES and consider yourself a fuckin BIGOT!!! Red Tails was fuckin AWESOME!!! So STOP HATIN' REDNECKS!!!!

GregP

Red Tails..although lacking a top notch scripts does effectively get the Point across very well and in this age of High tech special effects..the aerial fight scene were done effectively although no match for the aerial quality of the Mid Sixties UK film 'the battle of Britain'. The sub-plot with the Italian white girl and Rap Star Ne-Yo was plausible, after all he 'is' a star in the music world and has that steve McQueen-ish flair for Drama, so kudos to Him. As for 'Tamara' critique of Terrance Howard behind the scenes Wash DC role and playing the Old Guard White Exec officers 'game'. Well, I disagree, Howard acted admirably especially since I just rented the classic mid-60's 'Devils Brigade' and HOF actor William Holden acted similarly as the General /Col. traveling to Wash DC to convince military brass that his battalion of prison Misfits was Assignment 'worthy'. The Story Had to be Told and not by HBO who sponsored 'the Tuskegee airmen' Film 15 yrs ago. At Least Samuel L Jacks0n was 'not' in this film , and lastly Cuba Gooding's resurgence I hope continues, given that the Disney Eskimo Dog film that he did 12 yrs ago did 'slow down' his career, just as his Indicated on past interviews. Over all a good film.
Finally, the 'pretty boy' German pilot sub-plot was also believable since I just purchased a '46 classic 'God is My Co-Pilot' film and in that film HOF actor Dennis Morgan has a similar sub-plot with young Asian actor Philip Ahn (of 70's Kung Fu tv show fame) playing the role of Japanese Zero Pilot and Uttering lines 'I'm Going to get you Yankee',…'and "Too bad, Ran out of Gas Yankee?" …such is propaganda and its great for War Films.

Token White Guy

I tried to forget the fact that this was made by George Lucas, same guy who effectively destroyed his own multi-million franchises (Star Wars & Indiana Jones), tried to forget that 'based on real life' movies seldom don't suck. In sort I tried to enjoy a popcorn action flick that this obviously was going to be… I failed, even after setting my expectations very low.

The movie fails on so many levels and does a grave disservice to the many men and women who gave so much for so little in return, most of whom will remain forever faceless, thankless, forgotten. About the only reason I think the movie generated any revenue at all? It was released February, black history month (at least in the sates). Cheap marketing ploy.

For shame, Lucas, for shame.

Philip

Didn't realize I had an alter ego named Tambay…Spot on with the review. True story, two minutes into the movie I thought to myself, 'well that's a weird place to begin the story.' 30 minutes into it, 'You know, maybe this would be better had they cast Nick Cannon as the lead.' An hour into it, 'Dang, I could have stayed home and caught Drumline on TNT.' Then the reel snapped…

Marvin Lewis

The movie was horrible on many levels. It begins with the script. it just wasn't good and the Airmen deserve better. I took my son to see an Off-Broadway play in New York called Black Angels Over Tuskegee this winter and it was a true account of what the men went through. Family life, Tuskegee training. A powerful rendition of their experience. I know Red Tails is an action movie but I needed more. I was looking at my watch more than the screen. I only wished George would have made that play into a film. Who knows, maybe the prequel.

Josh

Of course the movie is going to get a hype backlash, it deserve's it. It's "the movie that will save black cinema" and its entirely forgettable. It was just a sloppy movie. Did anyone involved with this thing read about the period? It was two hours of guys playing dressup. Little things like a Dorothy Dandrige pinup in the background would have earned points with me. I can't beleive lighting didnt wash out of the program in Alabama since he is incapable of following orders.

'GRU

I've seen both Tuskegee Airmen and Red Tails and would give TA more props of the two because of its accuracy and the portrayal that the pilots went through in getting the program started here in the US, to the continuous trials and tribulations they faced when they were in combat. However, I would like to be constructive in my criticism as to not display too much negativity and WE never get another big budgeted black movie. Considering that it was a Hollywood movie and thus to me that just equals pure entertainment, I did not go into the movie expecting to see a "perfect" movie. What I did expect to see was a movie that did display the heroics of Blacks during WWII. Were there corny lines and "unfinished" scenes? Yes. Will I lose sleep over it? No. Should we demand better? Maybe. And I say maybe because we must have forgotten that when we get to demanding more accurate films or films told the one we think they should be told, we either get nothing, something that is low-budgeted, or something that really plays on the stereo-types. In regards to the Italian love affair, I have been in the military for over 24 years and thus have been stationed in places where I have seen the descendants of Blacks fighting on foreign lands. So the pilot falling in love with an Italian lady that he saw from a plane (unrealistic) didn't bother me. Our men were stationed in places that did not provide diversity and as the movie depicted, Lightning loved the ladies. The movie did not capture everything. One real Tuskegee Airmen wrote about the fact that there were more than just pilots stationed with the 332nd Fighter Squadron. There were Blacks working in Finance, Personnel, Law, and all the other units within the post. The movie could not have captured all of that and stayed within a time frame that would have been comfortable with the audience, especially since I know they all have creditable stories to tell. Now before I get off of my soapbox I'll ask this last question and answer. Do I think the movie could have given us something more? Yes I do. But I'm also careful for what I asked for. Thanks for your time.

Aaron

I think criticism of this movie is way overblown. So much so that I think it over shadows the real accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen. Yes, the dialogue was corny, and the white characters and much of the supporting black cast were cardboard cutouts. But to me the real thrust of the drama came from the relationship between Easy and Lightning. I found there interaction convincing and real. Sue me if you think I'm crazy for saying that. But overall I think the accomplishments of the TA should've been the real focus of the media and critics. I feel the movie did a great service of showing history and what Americans Soldiers did to overcome the adversity of instituional racsim at least as they could in the 1940s. Stop complaining about how bad the editing was.

Josh

This movie was a disappointment and I found it highly offensive and stereotypical.

Josh

One airman bagged three ME-262's on one mission but he got the drop on them and surprised them from above. Watching the guys in the movie try and catch up to them and be surpised by the fact the jets are outgaining them was pretty funny. They would have been breifed on that. These guys sure made a routine train straffing seem pretty hard. Old gun camera footage will show you that it was routine to start with the locomotive to stop the train yet our movie heroes couldnt stay disciplined and do that. The POW sub plot was such a waste of time. A popular tactic of the German's when capturing an African American was to bring up the racism in the U.S. in order to get them to talk. An interrogation scene would have been a great time to get some interesting issues across. "Why fight for a country that hate's you?" Yet another missed opportunity. WHERE WAS ALL THE SMOKING? Was it the 40's or not?

Morgan

I really wanted to like this movie. In fact I found excuses on why it should be good. Terrance Howard, Tristan Wilds (aka Michael, the cool gritty kid from "The Wire"), Nate Parker and David Oyelowo round out a great black cast. Aaron McGruder, the brilliance behind The Boondocks wrote the script. And the creator of perhaps the best sci-fi franchise ever (George Lucas) financed the entire production. Yet, with all of this, the beautiful story of the Tuskegee Airmen's true heroism and bravery was all mushed up into a humdrum Hollywood production. I expected a filet mignon served on a gold plate and ended up getting shoved a cold grocery store ribeye on a foam slab of Hefty. Eatable yes, but far from what I expected. Robert Markowitz's 1995 version with Lawrence Fishburne is far better. And that's what I think of Red Tails. Also, it should be noted that maybe Lucas only agreed to finance this production because he thought it would serve as his "get out of jail free" card with black people. We all know that Jar Jar Binks was some racist nonsense. I ain't forgotten about that yet George!

gman99

I'm a stickler for WWII and this film missed the mark on numerous occasions that won't be addressed too much here. I'm simply not sure if much of the action in this film actually happened. The dogfights were absurd. No prop plane (P-51) could possibly duel with a jet. It's like a VW Beetle outracing a Ferrari. I spoke with a Tuskegee Airman who actually got a couple of kills (Roscoe Brown) who said the ONLY way to down an ME-262 jet was when it was slowing down to land. Again, no dogfights, certainly not one with a U.S. plane BEHIND the German. Too many pointless scenes: Romance with Italian girl? Love at first sight from half a mile up? What was it with the whole POW/prison break scene — other than lifting exact shots from "The Great Escape"? And as someone said, why did the Geman pilot get to mouth cliches in subtitles, while the Italian girl got no such courtesy — something viewers could have used. Pilots talking trash on their very first mission (not to mention wiping out enemy with 3 or 4 years experience) was a bit much. Nobody seems too concerned they might be dead in 40 seconds. Everything — emotions and all — was flat. Really lamentable effort. Was hoping for a more respectful and accurate movie. Someone blamed results on "Hollywood execs," but this was all a George Lucas production. Don't know if this will break even — seems a challenge (though $19 million was a nice start) — but I hope so for future of black Hollywood dramas.

Josh

Following the guy trying to land at the airfeild and then strafing it was a real mission. Though it happended in Checkloslovakia not Italy. Highlights a problem with the whole feel of the film. None of it felt real.

DeShawn

This movie was great in my opinion. Personally, I feel that those complaining about how "God-Awful" it is, should maybe reevaluate themselves. Als, to those who don't see it having anything to with it being in the 1940s, please relearn your history. In the 1940s, people discriminated against blacks, people wore leather jackets, cars were not prevalent as they are today (obviously), and if nothing else, then the music that would play while they were driving through the camp should have atleast put you in the state of mind that "Hello! This did not happen 2 years ago, people." This kind of music was popular back in that time period. However, I do understand that everybody is entitled to their own opinions, as well, so if this does nothing else, then take into account the many lives of pilots, infantry, etc. that were lost during WWII, and think of the possibilities of how they were killed. What George Lucas did here, was create a story based on the Tuskegee men, and tried his best to insert just about every element that signifies when the events in this film took place. If you feel that you could do a better job, then remake the movie yourself; get better actors, better costumes, use better locations, and use better CGI…

word

simple .. we cannot afford to do wack films period…hopefully hollywood will give us another chance

Professor Progressor

Honestly, I liked the made-for-tv movie starring Laurence Fishburne better.

ProfessorProgressor

From the opening dialogue I knew I was in for a sphincter-tightening two hours. The opening scene was hard to listen to. Everyone was overly-confident which would make sense if the Airmen had been combat tested, but they hadn't and I'm certain there was some doubt in the minds of the actual pilots and that should have been depicted on screen. I would have preferred a movie that reminded black people of our rich heritage and the sacrifices we've made to making America the great country it claims to be and that also reminded white people how historically bipolar they are in their dealings with blacks and their history. The subject matter was entirely too important for a fluffy feel good movie.

Anthony E.

Embarrassing, held my head low and wenced by the execution that was all over the place with some of the worst editing I have ever seen. To accomplish or stay with an emotion would have helped.

The kicker is one seen where they are watching film, well most of them, jumping up and down and yelling while tossing their hats giving off the appearance of monkey's. They were not acting excited but more like anxious beasts.

The two main leads were the only saving factor but to no end were any story arcs held. This was a bit of entertainment to which at some time during the feature I was entertained. There were some folks in house that enjoyed as some women shouted, "Yes, Terrance my baby."

Sad, as of late black directors at the helm behind the lens to tell the stories of their own plight in the trenches as well as the dog fights from Red Tails to Saint Anna, big misses.

But one thing that was impotent is that the trailer for Star Wars 3D was attached so Lucas could reel in the young black crowd to scratch his back after this favor.

Temi

Perhaps 66% of critics did not like it, but 74% of the audience did. Perhaps this demonstrates that the public is happy to have a different perspective.

ashanti

Just because a film is made about the African American experience does not mean African Americans have to support it, it does not mean African Americans have to like it. That being said, I would suggest that those people go to it with a critical lens. This is not a Tyler Perry entertainment piece, this is about real historical issues and events. I saw nothing in it that made me believed it was the 1940s and I was taken back at the extra dialogue while they were in the air. The whole "black Jesus" was another issue. Black cast do work with the right script and the right actors.

Example "The Color Purple" although people had issues with it was done very well. Lackawanda Blues was well done also. This movie was like the paper you cram to do in one night and turn it just because you have to. I expect better and people need to tell George Lucas and Hollywood the reason why movies don't work is you don't test it in front of the right people.

Tamara

The script was corny, lackluster, and unmoving. I concur wholeheartedly with your review. I just saw the film this weekend and was extremely disappointed, not only because of the melodramatic monologues that were extremely horrid and Terrance Howard's less than convincing acting skills on several accounts, but because it supported Hollywood's theory in proving them right. I highly doubt there will be another all black cast action film for quite some time.

Tamara

The script was corny, lackluster, and unmoving. I concur wholeheartedly with your review. I just saw the film this weekend and was extremely disappointed, not only because of the melodramatic monologues that were extremely horrid and Terrance Howard's less than convincing acting skills on several accounts, but because it supported Hollywood's theory in proving them right. I highly doubt there will be another all black cast action film for quite some time.

DNM

I agree completely. I just hope mainstream America doesn't walk out of the theater thinking that this is what a Black film looks like.

Jason Jay

It wasn't good. The choice of actors was poor. The white woman angle was a bad choice. The script sucked. The flying scenes were pretty good.

woh

Thanks Lovely. I agree. Not the best film made about African-Americans military heroes but I did enjoy it. It's been too long since I felt all those emotions in one movie.

ashanti

Everyone has expressed my sentiments. It is not a GREAT EPIC, like it has been touted. We don't know the characters. As a historian I have a more critical view of bio-pics or historical fiction movies than most. Aaron McGruder did not need to be a part of this movie at all. There was no need for a love story that had a wild-out character if you will falling in love with a woman who wanted him to stay in Italy. The character that was presented to us would not have stayed in one place and with one woman.

Why couldn't the movie open up with a wife, mother, sister back home reading a letter from one of the pilots and then cut to the base or an actual flight scene? Let's hear the real dialogue of why the didn't want the black pilots, and the real dialogue that some Germans had about the pilots. Yes the black pilots were talked about as being great pilots on the German side. Let's juxtapose the characters and where they were from. Ne-Yo's character very country, Easy (can't remember the actor) his parents were the wealthy, but they were all there. The socio-economics of black life was represented in the Tuskegee Airmen. We could have seen what their families had to go through and did a comparison of what they were going through. Now how did Junior escape? Sorry George Lucas you were all over the place with contrite dialogue that wasn't even period and the cast looked too young. Some of the pilots were older you know.

Nadell

It was a nice movie. Not brilliant, just OK. More so than anything I walked out of the theater wanting to know more about the Tuskegee Airmen (more than what was sprinkled to me in history class in high-school) and I have more admiration and respect for the Tuskegee Airmen's resilience, passion and fearlessness.
What absolutely baffles me is Ne-Yo and Method Man…I'm still trying to figure out how these artists were even considered for this film?!?! A movie of this nature, how does a rapper & a singer get dibs?
The love story was totally unnecessary! Extremely not needed. It didn't fit — it stuck out like a sore thumb…I guess because it is a mandate for action films to always have love stories they felt it was not an option to not have one. It just deducted the concreteness in my opinion because it was thoughtlessly done.
The dialogue is lackluster & lukewarm. Just unstable and elementary like. Howard's character was probably the most complex and appealing in script. He gave the film the energy it lacked in terms of dialogue. Parker is really impressive! With each film he grows!! I liked him in this one. And Tristan was good. These actors are all exceptional in their craft — I think the writers abandoned the characters and didn't give them enough.
Now, the action , I loved!!! I was at the edge of my seat w/ all the aerial maneuvers! Intense and thank goodness for it!
I'm glad I took my family to watch it!
I slap myself on the hand for not watching "The Tuskegee Airmen" with Fishburne. I most certainly will now!
I feel absolutely

CareyCarey

I FELL ASLEEP. That right, it took me less that 20 minutes to realize the pain was unbearable. But wait, my lady enjoyed it. And, she was not alone. Well, I live in a white state (we are less than 3% of the population) nevertheless, at the end of the movie the audience started clapping. Now, with my nosey self, I had to turn around to see exactly who was jumping for joy. Well, it was a bunch of over 60 white folks. Then I noticed a few black faces in the crowd. It was a family of four… mother, father and 2 teenagers. I walked over to the young kid and asked him if he enjoyed the movie. With a big grin on his face he said "YES SIR, I sure did". Anyway, back to the home front. When my lady woke me up for snoring too damn loud, I saw Ne-Yo talking like he had 4 bags of skoal tucked between his cheek and gum. I mean, WTH? I swear he was going for Mushmouth of Fat Albert and Cosby Kids. Seriously, wasn't there a director around? I mean, if I was the director I would have yelled "CUT! Hey Ne-Bo, or whatever your name is, cut that shit out. You're not playing lightning and you're not acting". And come on, I can suspend believability with the best of them, but somebody has to tell me how the 2 Tuskegee Airmen followed the damaged German Pilot back to his base (right over the mountain) and blewup damn near the whole base? I guess the German Pilot's radio was damaged – huh? That explains why he didn't call ahead and say "spekendeedusrt, I got these two black guys on my ass. Get out the big guns and get in the air"? That reminds me, why was everything blowing up? Jimmy crack corn corn corny! AND, y'all don't even want me to get started on the acting! And why was those negros shuckin' and jivin' ALL THE DAMN TIME? Heck, if my lady wasn't enjoying herself, I would have walked out and walked in the adjacent theater where Haywire was playing.

Rinny

Ne-Yo's "accent"…

Phil Brown

Like you i really wanted to like this movie. I was so disappointed. I had no feeling of being transported to the 1940's i felt that it was just a bunch of guys running around in costume.
They spoilt a huge action sequence at the beginning of the film by putting the titles right through it. The script was juvenile and at times embarrassing. The movie felt like a series of staged scenes with everything in its right place. Costumes, picture vehicles and sets felt too contrived. I felt no emotional attachment to the film. There was no grit or grime, no suffering. It felt like one long commercial for leather flying jackets.

Clayton

I had to support and I'm glad I did. But I didn't think it was good at all, and I wasn't expecting it to be. It barely dodged the preachy net but in doing so fell right into the campy bear trap. The dialogue was horrendous, even the German was bad. I also wish they did without the romance. Wasn't necessary and lacked plausibility. Most of the scenes played on heavy exposition that did nothing to move the story along. In most scenes, NOTHING HAPPENED. And if I directed it, I would've cut 3/4's of the score. It was waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much. They scored everything and really made it swell on those obviously emotional and triumphant moments (rolling my eyes). The characters were one-dimensional, the "bad guys" were caricatures, and moments that could've been special were reduced to silliness. Like Miracle at St. Anna, Spike Lee's worst film ever in my humble opinion, they also had shown black military men as childish, undisciplined morons.

But I prefer Red Tails way more than Miracle at St. Anna. I actually cared a bit more about the characters in the aforementioned and the dog fights were pretty exciting. Overall, I give it a kind 4/10. "Kind" for the noble effort by Lucas.

Liz

I have a Family of 87- direct descendants from me–kids-grands-great grands— 41 of them have seen the film 3 times I haven't BUT knowing they dropped theier money as CHEAP as they are The Film must have struck something GOOD in them !!!

KMS

My long thought on the film here — (Supporting Red Tails to Keep My Black Card Safe) http://sangriastilettos.blogspot.com/2012/01/supporting-red-tails-to-keep-my-black.html — we had more drama in the lead up to the release than was in the actual film. See Red Tails or you're a bad person!

Jmac

Also went in with low expectations due to the Lucas/Daily Show interview. I expected an action film and that's what I got. I liked it for what it was. Saw it in a "hood" theater and all the blacks were cheering, clapping, laughing, commenting at the right places so I think it went over well. A little disappointed (and surprised) with the dialogue despite hearing about the rumors that Lucas watered it down. For the record, before I went out last night Rotten Tomatoes had audience reaction at 83%. Down to 72% right now. Not bad. If there are any sequels I hope the black writers and director (if keeping the same staff) get free reign to do their own thing…doubt it. I would say to anyone who really hates this film that I hope you are donating money regularly to support black films in development. We could have done Red Tails and any other black historical piece if we support such films in ways that really matter.

Reelblack

Tambay from a critical standpoint, you're pretty much spot on with this one. I think Black audiences are liking this a lot more than critics. There really is a need inside us to have quality representation of us on the big screen. All the buzz and boxoffice proves this. I praise everyone who is leaving their house in support of Red Tails.

I wish there was a movie like this for me to see when I was little. I wish there were better movies like this being made for me to see as an adult. I wish their was more of them. I guess its up to us to make them ourselves. With George Lucas signing the checks.

OK, that was fun. Now back to work.

Ash

Before I watched it today, I saw that The Onion, my best and most informative news source had given it a C-. "Uh oh", I thought. Then my mother told me the Washington Post gave it 1 1/2 stars. "Impossible", I thought. That's a rating only reserved for The Devil Inside or a Tyler Perry movie. I thought it would be average. I just saw it. I give a C+ to B-. I think if I was a child I would've thought it were better. Having said that, my expectations were low and I don't care about action movies. I just really wanted it to not suck. I wasn't as disappointed as I thought I might be so that was a pleasant surprise. As for reactions of others in the theaters, two teenaged boys next to me said afterwards: "That was really good! It was sad though." And a white family leaving the theater said: "Well the special effects were good." LOL

Josh

Yeah, that was pretty bad. Horrible editing, horrible script, forgettable soundtrack. Acting wasn't great but you can only do so much with that script. "Die foolish African!" "Those pilot's are colored!" "Oh…………..no." The action was underwhelming. Just when the POW camp subplot was getting interesting we go to Ne-Yo strumming a guitar. Why did subtitles appear halfway through the movie? Coulda used them for the love story. Pissed that the German nickname for the red tails("Black birdmen")was never used. Then Ray show's up at the end too break the somber mood; "call me ray gun!" LOL. Would love to know how he get from Poland to Italy in one piece. That would make for an awesome movie. My theatre was full and the audience(95 percent black)loved it. But lets be honest, it wasnt even better than the HBO movie. Save your money.

ok

i took a teenager that i work with/mentor to see the movie and he loved it, so mission accomplished. also to have to note that when i went i saw signs saying that several of the previous screenings had been sold and later one for tonight were sold out and i had friends that went yesterday that had to go to different theaters to see it because the times they wanted to see it were sold out. so i think this will definitely make 20+ mil. this weekend.

as far as myself and what i thought of the movie, i went in with low expectations and they were slightly exceeded. overall the movie was fine, nothing i'd ever want to watch again though. the action scenes were cool/entertaining. the dialogue was stuttered and cheesy. nate parker stood out among the rest of the cast, he gave me flashes of denzel every now and then so i look forward to seeing more of him. the lover story was random but hey there's always a love story right, even in war, lol.

my biggest gripe would have to be ne-yo, a lot of you guys have already stated it but i have to SAY IT WITH MY CHEST (kevin hart style), i f8cking hated his character. i know his part was to bring some comedic levity to the movie but did he have to go full coon?!?!?! boy i wish Sergeant Waters, from "A Soldier's Story", was in this movie to give his speech and let ne-yo know that "the day of the geechee is gone"!!!

Orville

I think people need to chill and get a clue! Red Tails isn't the best movie of all time.
People can attack George Lucas and say the script isn't perfect BUT the man used his own damn money to get this movie made because white Hollywood didn't want to! The movie even has interracial romance and some might say big deal. Again, black men/white women is usually a taboo in American films! I sincerely hope Red Tails pushes Hollywood to EXPAND their horizons and black actors can have more RANGE of movie roles.

But I it is good here is a black film that not about a black guy in drag, or about black maids in the American south. There is no white saviour in this movie. Okay, Red Tails has some problems BUT the box office for this weekend will be solid $6 million on a Friday according to Box Office Mojo that is excellent! This movie might break $17 million and since the budget is $58 million I think it can turn a profit.

Jay

I saw it and liked the movie. I don't know what the bad reviews are all about. I have see very bad hollywood movies that did over a 100 million at the box office. If this movie was an all white cast, we wont be having this conversation here. I'm glad I didn't pay attention to the reviews before seeing it. If you haven't seen it, go and see it and you wont be disappointed.

MFAScreenwriter

I came in with low expectations. This movie is more perplexing than disappointing. Much has been said about the presentism and anachronisms in the script. The mailed-in love story. But to me it's the strange editing and direction that ruins this film. Every darn transition in this film is either a wipe or a dissolve. (**Meanwhile back in the Bat Cave**). Literally every bit of reflection, nuance or humanity is WIPED AWAY. It makes no sense. Tense moment between David O and Nate Parker…WIPE. Tristan Wilds crash lands in enemy territory…here comes a Nazi…oh oh what's going to happe–WIPE. Hemmingway is a veteran TV director. Lucas has been at this for decades. Cuba Gooding and Terrance Howard are pros…And yet no one behind or in front of the camera said anything about the strange editing style????

foolishAfrican

I saw it. I didn't love it. I think it was rather disrespectful to the subject matter and too rosy for my comfort. SPOILER ALERT: Apparently, there was only one pilot in the entire German army, and black soldiers captured by the Nazi regime could expect to be treated rather well. The dialogue was stuttered but for the performance of the male lead (don't know his name, character's name was Easy) and Terrence Howard who is very good at looking serious. The acting was patchy and not raw enough – we laughed so much at our screening at some of the ridiculousness. And considering that Italy was on the other side of the war for the longest time, the fact that an interracial couple could just be happily strolling down the street at the heart of the war, in a country that even today "deports" hundreds of thousands of Roma because they are all "thieves"… it was all just too much. BUT, the last 20 minutes was decent.

Ghost

I am not able to see this film-it's SOLD OUT EVRYWHERE in Dallas and most of the cities around it. Folks were getting turned away in droves or went to see Underworld instead. There were folks going just based on the trailers and some didn't even know who was in the cast. Most could careless that there were no black women in the film and didn't know Lucas funded the whole film. Once they found out they understood some of the special "Star Warish" effect the planes were doing. A lot of folsk I know were expectign the worst but are shocked to see folks turn out for the film that has already been projected in making $6 million on Friday alone.

Donella

I entered Red Tails with NO expectations. I was actually thrilled by the action, very pleased with the cast, and impressed with the turnout. Within seconds of the movie beginning, the clear reason why the Tuskegee Airmen became necessary–the white bomber escorts were unreliable defenders and refused to play their positions. During the first moments of interaction amongst the Airmen, I kept remembering the opening scenes from A Soldier's Story. A Soldier's Story was a murder mystery and Red Tails is action. However, both movies showcased an array of Black military men during a similar period of time–country, urban, intellectual, hot heads, jokers, and thinkers. NeYo's "chewing tabaccky, country boy" talk was annoying. Every other actor in the movie spoke clearly enough to make points about faulty airplane equipment, lack of opportunities, and harassment by white officers. Cuba Gooding Jr was restrained, the pipe in the mouth helped. Terrance Howard played a role similar to that in Pride, inspirational, indignant, stern coach (commander). I think I saw Method Man as a mechanic? David O (Lightning) was the loose canon easily distracted by opportunities to rack up kill points and the cornball romance with the Italian woman. Lightning's character provided the main conflict with Nate Parker's character (Easy) who had doubts about his leadership. BTW, Nate Parker is a shining star. I sensed that the script had interference from Big Daddy. It's just not a George Lucas movie unless there is fabulous action, but cringe-worthy dialogue. He did that with Star Wars, as well, so… that's George. Overall, I enjoyed the movie. The matinee audience in the theater was mixed-race and consisted mostly of men 30+ and couples. Accessible to families, boys that like bangs, girls that like boys that like bangs, action lovers, and military buffs.

JP

I thought that movie was disrespectfully bad. If I was one of the Tuskegee Airmen I would have punched George Lucas in the face for putting that mess on the screen and then trying to guilt Black folk into supporting it. The dialogue was terrible. The story was basically non-existent. Last I heard, I thought the airmen were college grads who tested extremely high on all of their aptitude tests to even qualify for the program, so how would some coon like Ne-Yo's character even be allowed? Sure the dogfights were fun, and its always great seeing Black folks on screen, but for a movie that cost as much as Lucas says it did, the HBO movies from years back had WAY better production values. For all the hate that Miracle At St. Anna gets, you can't tell me that Red Tails is a better "Black war film."

Meghan

Totally agree! There were so many cliches in the script & I didn't think the acting was all that great…not to mention the subplots they threw in there

bashe

I was (unexpectedly) moved by it. Like SAYNAY, I saw it in a theater with plenty of middle-aged black folks who were cheering and clearly into it. Maybe one of the reasons I found it an ultimately moving film was that the longing for a cinematic portrayal of black heroism just seemed palpable in the theater. And the fact that it was based on "true events" made it all the more poignant.

I could nit-pick the film to death, sure. (I definitely agree with RAY that it didn't feel nearly enough like a period-piece, the uniforms and planes notwithstanding.) Much of what everyone has criticized about the film I completely agree with. But somehow, completely unexpectedly, I found myself profoundly moved by the film.

Ray

I wasn't blown away, i mean it was "ok" but it was hella cheesy to me, Ne-Yo made me wince every time he was on camera, there was a lot of stuff wrong to me. I DO understand the importance, and there were a lot of black people out in the theater that I saw it at(New Orleans) so I'm glad people are going out to see it. But it just missed the mark in a lot of areas to me. I was excited from day 1 because it has so many younger actors, and some established actors attached to it, but I just don't think they had much to work with. Also it was a period piece, I didn't feel like I was really in that timeframe watching this film. I mean yea they had the uniforms & the set & stuff, but it just didn't feel real to me. I'll give it a C, I did make it all the way through, but the storyline was just weak to me, the acting was off to me because of the cheesy script. I blame a lot of that on myself, because I was anticipating a serious, character driven war movie, in the eyes of say a Glory or something like that, but this was NOT that. I DO hope it does well in the box office, maybe if a good story comes along for a black cast studios will take more chances in the future, but this was a typical blockbuster that falls short of delivery.

tepnlex

Keen cinema observers could tell that the studio amd producers weren't in chorus with how to market, amd whom to market this movie to. Nevertheless, im glad it made it to the theater .
I was hoping for more of a "Men of Honor" angle, that focused on distinct instances of overcoming injustice and racism. I came in with low expectations, but was excited to see it, and left the theater feeling better about the movie than I did coming in.

Donnie Leapheart

I can assure you that one thing all the parties involved with the making of this film will (rightfully) be saying is: "You can't please everyone." They could also say: "You keep complaining that you want more variety than just Tyler Perry films, you get something and STILL complain. You people will never be satisfied." There lies the problem for me, fellas. I pretty much agree with everything stated in your reviews, Tambay and Sergio…and as a writer I kept thinking that after 20 years in the making, the screenplay and characterizations should've been a lot better, even for a film for teens. Also, not that it should be compared, but I remember seeing "Glory" as a young pre-teenage boy… it was a mature well-written & acted film that educated, entertained and made me feel proud to be African American. As an adult, that film still holds up. However, the conflict within for Red Tails comes from not completely loving the film yet still wanting to appreciate the variety in content. Where else have we seen that many talented black actors in one theatrically released film without Tyler Perry's (profitable) name before the title?

eshowoman

I guess since my expectations were low, I enjoyed the film.

AI

I think people went in expecting Glory will be disappointed. People who went in expecting Indiana Jones with Black faces will not. It is what it is. Good ticket sales for a bigger budget film still benefit Blacks in Hollywood as long as we keep it up for other movies. I'd like to add that, coincidentally, the theater I went to was full of Whites. So there's an interesting spin. If anything, George Lucas brought out our lighter brethren.

SayNay

I liked it. Everyone in the theater cheered and clapped at the end. It was cheesy as hell, don't get me wrong, but for some reason it didn't really bother me as much. However, I do agree that this film had a hard time deciding what it wanted to be…melodrama or action. Maybe part of the problem is that Lucas was hoping to take a longer view by trying to squeeze out a trilogy instead of one solid film. Also let's be real, while the budget is certainly one of the largest we've seen for a predominantly black film in a while, $58 mil is a drop in the bucket for an action flick and some of the technical aspects suffered as a result. That crappy Katherine Heigl flick "Killers" had a bigger budget than "Red Tails." I guess all I'm saying is I was willing to give it some latitude.

Gai

I loved the movie…not because it was a cinematic classic but because it showed African American men in the cockpit showcasing their excellence and skill. I loved the movie because it carried an almost all Black cast but to me that fact disappeared and I was watching a film about heroes. I loved the movie because I saw my dad an Original Tuskegee Airman who was actually stationed at Ramitelli and participated in the mission to Berlin depicted in the movie through the characters in the film. After years of hearing him tell the stories I finally got a chance to visualize and feel it as if I was there. I left the film exhilarated and very proud of my dad and the other Tuskegee Airmen of their accomplishments. The movie wasn't perfect and I'm sure there are things the team who made Red Tails would like to improve…but what I take from it and will never forget is the feeling of incredulity of SEEING their story and being able to connect to my own personal story and legacy.

al

I took my family to see it including our 16 year old son. Barry is a typical teenage boy who only cares about 16 -17 yr old girls and playing football. It's been 3 years since we could get him to see a movie with us. He actually enjoyed the it. Lucas said he made the flick for teenaged boys. Mission accomplished.

Gina

Tambay, I actually thought you weren't going to do a review of the movie :) I thought you were going to just sneak out of the room quietly and attribute your lack of a review to the pressing duties of Sundance. If your review had been more positive, would you have published it earlier? Have fun at Sundance!

Sergio

Speaking for myself I hated it even more than Tambay. I think it was a terrific subject for a film that was done in by George Lucas' tinkering (like how he ruined those early Star wars films and THX-1138). Instead of making what could have been a serious and compelling film it's instead a truly silly movie made on a 8th grade level. Even Hemingway himself said, in that N.Y. Times piece about Lucas this week, that he originally wanted to make a more mature film about the Airmen but was basically overruled by Lucas. The dialogue is laughingly bad, the characterization is thin or nonexistent and the acting is worse And can someone tell me what's the deal with Cuba Gooding Jr and that damn pipe and PLEASE don't get me stated on Ne-yo and that irritating Amos and Andy, mush-mouth, po' county accent voice that he uses. He's basically the movie's Jar Jar Binks.

Oh yeah and there's that fantasyland interracial romance which starts off when one of fliers INSTANTLY falls in love with a Italian woman while flying 500 feet in the air over her. Really? WOW! White women sure are powerful aren't they? And he can't stop talking to everyone about how beautiful she is. So you're telling me that there were no beautiful black women where he's from?

In other words this film sucks big time. I'm going to see Pariah again

Lovely

I enjoyed Red Tails! It wasn't about women cleaning up houses. Nor was it about a man dressed up as a black woman. It depicted something historical. That black man can and have been heroes. As a writer of tv and film was I super hype about the dialogue? Not necessarily. That didn't make it a bad movie. The movie told a story and it entertained. As an audience member, I felt a range of emotions from joy, to sadness, to hope. It did what a movie is suppose to do.

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