Have you ever had one of your “disadvantages” turn out to be a blessing in disguise?
Red Tails is inspired by the true events of the Tuskegee Airmen from World War II. These African American pilots flew over 700 bomber escort missions and ended the war as the only group to never loose an escorted bomber to enemy fighters. They flew in total over 15,500 missions from May of 1943 to June of 1945.
Red Tails opens up in Italy of 1944 and focuses on the stories of characters such as Joe “Lightning” Little, (played by David Oyelowo) the best pilot and daredevil of the whole 332nnd airborne squadron, and Marty “Easy” Julian (played by Nate parker), the squadron’s flight leader who seems to have the weight of the world on his shoulders. We also get to know other characters such as “Junior” (Tristan Wilds), Declan (Leslie Odom Jr.), “Smokey” (Singer Ne-Yo), and Maurice (Michael B. Jordan). Each character is very distinct with their own unique personality. All these men have one thing in common: they start off fighting two wars, one against the Germans and one against the discrimination from their own countrymen. After being assigned what seems like meaningless tasks, these ace pilots are finally given an opportunity to prove themselves. Needless to say they do a perfect job and then some –without anyone getting killed. As the rest of the movie continues, the officers are assigned more missions and start gaining the respect of the white officers and leadership in Washington.
Red Tails has been a movie twenty-three years in the making for George Lucas. Lucas was so determined and passionate to have this film made that he put his own money into the making of the movie, becoming its Executive Director. Red Tails is Director Anthony Hemingway first feature film.
There is a little bit of something for everyone in this movie. There is of course, action, some romance between “Lightning” and an Italian woman for the ladies, (and the men that will never admit that they like romantic movies), and there is even some well placed light-hearted humor.
This was a wonderful film with gorgeous aerial views. The pacing is perfect, and the action is extremely easy to follow, unlike many of the quick-cutting action movies that are currently popular. Several real props planes were used in the filming of Red Tails with the rest being brilliantly done using CGI by George Lucas’ own Industrial Light and Magic.
The acting in the opening aerial battle scene of the movie starts off pretty stiff, and the actors’ emotions didn’t seem to match with the intensity of what was going on. Once the main actors came on screen the acting was great. David Oyelowo does an incredible job of playing the cocky yet great pilot, Joe “Lightning” Little and Nate Parker, who plays “Easy” the squadron’s flight leader, nails the role. Terrence Howard also does a great job playing the role of the sharp and Intelligent Colonel Bullard. Cuba Gooding Jr., plays the role of Major Stance who believes in his pilots at all cost –he did a fantastic job as always.
Red Tails does have a solid PG-13 rating. It contains a lot of strong language use (No F-words), the flight leader “Easy” drinks quite a bit and the movie ends up in a bar twice. Since this movie is about war, there are violent scenes with quite a bit of blood and explosions from the aerial fights and a plane crash on the ground. Plan on also dealing with some minor racial tension in the first half or so of the movie.
One thing that I was very impressed with was how the men’s strong faith was brought into the movie pretty consistently. The men even prayed openly in Jesus’ name as a group before a big mission and in times of trouble in the air.
Overall, Red Tails is a good, fun, action-packed film that focuses on the heroism of these men. It is recommended for older kids through adults and it is well worth the theatrical movie price!
To learn more about author April Kruger, visit Cross Shadow Productions