Marcus Reviews Red Tails

29 Jan


1944. To help win the war, the Pentagon brass has no choice but to consider the untested African-American pilots of the experimental Tuskegee training program. Just as the young Tuskegee men are about to be shut down and shipped back home, they are given the ultimate chance to show their courage. These intrepid young airmen take to the skies to fight for their country – and the fate of the free world

What I Liked:

Red Tails is the kind of movie that despite the cliches you can’t help but like because the actors in the film seem to be having so much fun with it. The cast had great on screen chemistry (mainly the young guys) and really made it easy to get behind them even when some of the dialogue was eye roll worthy (more on that later).

Large scale aerial battles have always been a double edged sword in film because no matter how well done they are you can’t keep up with them as you would a car chase or war on foot due to the fact that you can’t actually film in the air. With that being said when the Red Tails took to the sky it was always gripping and kept your attention.

This serves as the first time in a while that I actually liked Terrence Howard in a movie. Usually I’m not a fan but he demanded attention every time he was on screen and really played his role with class and pride.

As I said before the cast as a whole was pretty strong but the two standouts in my mind were the leads, Nate Parker and David Oyelowo. Both guys gave some pretty strong performances and really played off of each other well.

I’m a big fan of Tristan Wilds and so I was happy to see him finally get a part in a Hollywood film after doing nothing but TV. I feel like he’s got a bright future if he plays his cards right.

It’s also good to see Cuba Gooding Jr. back on the big screen again. I’ve always had a soft spot for that guy lol.

What I Didn’t Like:

Red Tails, like most films taking place in Prohibition Era, suffers from the fact that the dialogue is very hokey (sometimes unbearably so). While there are some times where I was able to let it slide (and even laughed a bit), there were others where I rolled my eyes so hard that they almost fell out of my head. Half of the time characters seem to only know how to speak in cliche’ one liners and more times than not they’re terrible.

The score of the film was pretty cheesy and in your face as well. Each selection seemed to very unsubtly let you know which emotion that you’re supposed to be feeling in a certain scene and I really couldn’t take it seriously.

For a movie that is all about rising above oppression/adversity, I sure never felt like anyone was treated that badly. Maybe it’s because I’m so used to darker/grittier content but it was almost like everyone in this movie was walking around with kid gloves on. Even when the movie tried to present us with the inevitable “racist” moments I found myself laughing at how blatantly predictable and weak they ended up being. I never thought I’d be saying this but if you really want bigotry to have an impact, don’t pussyfoot around it.

I felt like they could’ve done a better job developing some of the characters and their back stories. Even the two leads felt slightly one dimensional because every thing we knew about them we kind of had to assume by what they presented us with.

I also felt like Lightning’s (David Oyelowo) romantic subplot with the Italian woman wasn’t really needed in the grand scheme of things. It was cute and all but it didn’t really do anything to enrich the experience or enhance the movie.

The movie dragged on a bit in places and so I really felt the 2 hours that it ran. If they would’ve trimmed the fat a bit or at least added more character development then I feel like it would’ve flowed better.

I found the “final battle” (if that’s even what you wanna call it) to be anticlimactic and I was left feeling a little empty inside as it all drew to a close


Red Tails is a movie that I really wanted to succeed due to the subject matter and all the work it took to put it out and, while in a few ways it did, for the most part it didn’t really deliver the way it could’ve to me. If a few more risks were taken and the script was a bit stronger it would’ve really been something special. Red Tails deserved to be better than it was but I admittedly enjoyed it nonetheless. I’d encourage you to at least matinee the movie just to support it and help it make back it’s budget (especially if you’re African-American). It’s the least that we could do after all the work it took to put it out and the inspiring story that it’s trying to tell. You may just enjoy it.

Rating: C

Shegaw’s Review


4 Responses to “Marcus Reviews Red Tails”

  1. Anthony Bosco January 29, 2012 at 3:54 am #

    Check out this new short film from an up-and-coming YouTuber:

    Reminds me of INCEPTION, MEMENTO and FIGHT CLUB.

  2. CMrok93 January 30, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    The dogfights are fun but everything else is filled with corniness, lame acting, predictable story arc, and moments where the film feels like a video-game rather than based on a true story. A great story to be told, but told in a very poor way. Good review right here though Marcus.


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