Red Tails (based on true events) follows a company of fighter pilots and their ground support during World War 2. The catch? All of members are African American. It sounds like an interesting idea, but that’s about it.
You’re forced to follow these men and root for them as the underdogs, but in no way does the prejudice against them (from many white soldiers) have any impact, or show any sort of threat. The stilted acting and false emotions make for a cringe-worth atmosphere, which never dissipates. Emotional scenes are thrown in at random, and seem to be an afterthought for the movie. One of the pilots has a girlfriend? Let’s put her in 3 scenes and give their relationship five minutes to develop. Cuba Gooding Jr. loves smoking a pipe, which is pretty much all he does.
Even the title credits seem low budget; that’s pretty hard to pull off.
During World War II the Germans were a ruthless killing machine and committed unspeakable acts against their fellow humans. In Red Tails the Germans are bumbling buffoons who only deliver one-liners; some of these eclipsed most of the dialogue. Yes, the main German threat is a blond-haired man, but a kitten playing with string is far more menacing.
The best parts of Red Tails are the aerial dog fights. Most of the budget must have been spent on these scenes, and it really does show. Maneuvers, gun fire, exploding plans, and more. If the producers had cut out all of the human scenes, and just left in the dogfights, it would have been a far superior movie indeed. Also, the Flying Fortresses and Spit Fires look fantastic.
If, one day, you happen to see Red Tails in a bargain bin for R10, just walk on past and buy yourself a can of cool drink. You’ll remember it a lot longer than this movie.
I am a little surprised it didn’t go straight to DVD.