>> Red Tails (2012)

Title: Red Tails

Genre: Action/Adventure, Drama, War

Starring: Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Bryan Cranston, Nate Parker, David Oyelowo, Method Man, Ne-Yo, Daniela Ruah, Ryan Early, Elijah Kelley

Director: Anthony Hemingway

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Runtime: 121 minutes

In Theatres: January 20, 2012

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Rating: 3.75 (out of 4.00)

Grade: B+

Official Site

The Red Tails were a group of Tuskegee Airmen from the 332nd Fighter Group during World War II who painted the tail end of their planes red to distinguish themselves from the other planes. The all African American pilots had some of the most successful missions during the war, despite racism still running rampant through the military. Red Tails explores the trials and hardships this group of airmen had to endure to be accepted and the passion each man had for his country, regardless of the racial tensions present.

For the majority of the war so far, the 332nd Fighter Group’s time has been spent targeting vehicle convoys and the occasional train. It’s not exactly the action these pilots were looking for. Still, the men excel at their missions despite their second hand planes and total lack of respect from the rest of the military. Only when Col. A.J. Bullard (Terrance Howard) presses the higher ups do the airmen get the chance to prove their skills in actual combat with the Germans. Can they finally show the rest of the world that the color of your skin doesn’t matter when you’re piloting a plane to serve your country?

Leading these men into battle is Martin "Easy" Julian (Nate Parker). As the captain, it is his duty to make sure everyone on his team is ready to fly. He is also faced with making to tough decisions regarding the mission and air formations. Making his job even tougher is his friend, Joe "Lightning" Little (David Oyelowo). He’s one of the best fighter pilots around although his fearlessness causes him to be reckless. Somehow, though, he always manages to come out in victory. He is also joined by Junior, Joker, Winky, and Sticks, all of whom manage to create a sense of comradery among the group.

It’s these characters that make Red Tails so much more than just another action film. Everyone is battling their own demons, whether it’s Easy dealing with his drinking problem, or Lightning’s difficulty with authority. You form an attachment with each character and just pray that with each mission they make it out safely. That being said, there is still plenty of airborne action to satisfy any adrenaline junkie.

Red Tails shows off some impressive dogfights between the Americans and the Germans, who happen to be the most stereotypical bad guys of any film. Bullets are flying everywhere; anti-aircraft shells are exploding all around; it’s complete chaos in the air. Cockpit views give us quick glimpses of the men behind the machines. At times, it almost feels like you’re watching an elegant performance rather than a war battle.

Red Tails proves itself to be more than just another action war movie. Its true life story lends itself to an inspiring and dramatic film that sheds light on a group of men who gave it their all for their country. There’s been some controversy lately regarding George Lucas having difficulty getting funding for the film due to its primarily black cast and studios believing it won’t perform well. Prove them wrong and see this film; it’s definitely worth it.

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