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Red Tails [DVD]
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 19 May 2013
The story of the Tuskegee airmen lends itself to the making of an excellent film, but this is not it. The comic book script is laughable and the combat sequences are just like watching a thoroughly unrealistic CGI'd computer game. The impression that taking on the Luftwaffe was a piece of cake for a bunch of high spirited and apparently ill-disciplined young men is frankly insulting to the achievements of the young Afro-American pilots that were the real Tuskegee airmen. A P-51 turning a German destroyer (which looks remarkably like a battleship)into a flaming wreck with two passes of its machine guns gives you an idea of exactly how plausible this film is when it comes to the realities of war. Watch a decent documentary on the Red Tails instead. It's a far more moving and inspiring story than this rubbish.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 January 2015
What a catastrophe! Oh George Lucas how inconsistent you are. It's hard to get your head around how incredibly successful film makers can produce such trash. What's so massively disappointing here is that Lucas was trying to break boundaries in racial bias by making this film and had real difficulty raising finance, he claims that the hollywood industry wouldn't finance a film with a predominately black cast. It doesn't take much thought to know that he is right and the industry is bias but this film isn't let down by the cast it is let down by the most dreadfully awful script and shoddy directing. It is so bad at times it's jaw dropping. I think one of the big mistakes was going for a 'boys own' comic book style which is just too out dated for modern movies. It turns into a total war movie cliche and is actually quite unsettling to see how quickly the characters celebrate when they bomb an unsuspecting German airbase. I am certainly not a sympathiser but war movies have moved on from that and tend to represent the follies of war rather than the celebration of death.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 2013
Overall I was disappointed by this movie. I expected a whole lot more. The special effects look ok, bit nothing outstanding. The acting was competent but nothing more. Would be fine for an early evening TV movie. Knowing a bit about he Tuskegee Airmen, I feel this movie glossed over a lot of facts. The level of bigotry and racism these men had to face from their OWN side and the struggles they had to face did not come across.

The Nazi's in this move come across as cartoon like caricatures with no depth at all. In fact, that could be a good overall description of the whole move, very little depth! Glad I did not pay full price at HMV or I would be even more disappointed!

Overall, I am not saying it's the worst I've seen. However, the movie could've been longer without the soap opera boy meets girl elements which simply got in the way.

As for calling it a TV movie, some TV movies can be good. Red Tails is quite inferior to another movie on the same subject, 'The Tuskegee Airmen' from 1995 Starring Laurence Fishburn and John Lithgow amongst other well known faces. Although a TV movie, with The Tuskegee Airmen one gets a much fuller, more rounded view of the struggles these brave pilots (and groundcrew) had to overcome and the fact that they were fighting a war on TWO fronts!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 23 March 2015
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To best look at this film, it is best to take a closer look at the historical framework that encompasses it. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military flyers in the United States Armed Forces. During World War II, like other Black Americans in many U.S. states, they were subject to the Jim Crow rulings and the American military was racially segregated. The Tuskegee Airmen were subjected to racial discrimination, both within and outside the army. Their contribution to the air war was significant; their red-tailed aircraft were a welcome sight to the B17 bomber crews, which were escorted to and from their bombing missions.

This is a film, in part, attempts to tell the story of the “Tuskegee Airmen”, a segregated squadron of African-American fighter pilots. Without the help of George Lucas, this film would not have probably been made. His aim was to give the black American pilots of the Second World War the kind of homage they have been denied so far by Hollywood. Unfortunately, the film has faults in terms of its corny complement of clichéd characters and other ground based situations.

This is a film, which is heavily fictionalised version, of the events as they transpired.
The combat scenes are good and seem relatively well developed; however, they are “hamstrung” by a two dimensional narrative on the ground that sells this film short.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 December 2014
An awful film; soundtrack is non inspiring, acting is sluggish, the Germans are portrayed as morons, the CGI is less than impressive in places, there's a lack of flow to the story line, massive bias towards the USA winning WW2 again without getting the point of Black Americans playing a truly historical part in the liberation of Europe and the liberation of themselves from their masters .... this could have been so much more but has failed to deliver on almost every front. I would go & get a book on the subject & leave this DVD as a coaster .......
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 March 2015
'The Tuskegee Airmen' 1995 was a perfectly good first version of this: good acting, straightforward story telling, minimal special effects. I thoroughly enjoyed that 1995 version. Why they had to attempt a pointless remake that pretty well attrempts to undo all tthe good work of the 1995 version in favouyr of everything OTT, I do not understand. The 1995 version was intelligent, well thought out, a joy to watch. This, this schlock, does those airmen no honour at all. The director and the producers should be ashamed. I won't go into detail - I wouldn't know where to begin. Thankfully other reviewers have said more before me.
Stick to the 1995 version for honest and honourable storytelling of these remarkable and truly wonderful airmen.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 14 April 2014
I was looking forward to watching the story of the Tuskegee airmen which is a dramatic, exciting true story full of racial tensions and drama, I was expecting ‘GLORY’ in a WW2 setting, however in steps George 'OTT' Lucas & Co. turning the story into a moronic comic book style yarn full of clichéd 'gung ho' characters and cringe inducing storylines.
I thought Hollywood had moved on from portraying the ‘baddies’ as completely incompetent and the ‘goodies’ as indestructible, never missing a shot with unlimited ammunition superheroes. You watch this and you think it’s a parody it’s that bad especially when pilots are exchanging scowling facial expressions with people on the ground whilst flying at 400 mph at 75 feet.. realistic it aint! The action crams every special effect currently available into a scene which spoils any subtlety or sense of drama that should have been portrayed.
This should have been a great film with an awe inspiring true story as a base but unless you want to watch one of the cheesiest War films ever made do what the pilots in this film never do and miss this turkey.
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What can I say. George Lucas, just prior to selling Lucasfilm to Disney in 2013 used the true story of the Tuskegee Airmen to contrive a bunch of Star Wars style dogfight sequences, a mirror of his dogfight inspired scenes from Star Wars in 1977. That is what I was expecting going in to this but what did I get when I finally sat down and watched it?

Worse: The Tuskegee Airman story is basically the Glory (1989), Edward Zwick’s moving classic about the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first all black regiment in the U.S. Army during the American Civil War, of the Second World War, so it is a true story and one of great historical importance and not a opportunity to be wasted.

So basically, Lucas should have had kept well clear and we thought that Michael Bay was out of line for his treatment of Pearl Harbor (2001). Well, Pearl Harbor (2001) is pure gold compared to this. Anthony Hemingway, known for his TV directing with shows such as The Wire, Fringe and Glee under his belt, assumed the directing duties for this but it reeks of Lucas as his cronies, with a mediocre script, equally mediocre acting from a cast which should know better and dialogue not to die for, but possibly from! Appalling isn’t the word but why have I been so generous with my rating, 4/10, you may ask?

The dogfights, CGI no doubt and the sound design is outstanding. If the rest of the film was up this level then we’re looking at 7 or 8 out of 10 but the rest of the movie drags it all down. The opening credits set the tone, well sort of, as they appear to be retro 1980’s in design but this may not even be intentional, though I will presume that it is. The ADR work is so obvious it is literally unreal and the script is something that I would expect from a 12-year-old to have knocked -up with their mum’s old typewriter, one draft and some Tip-Ex!

This early poster sums up the total disregard for the seriousness of the subject matter.
The Tuskegee Airmen is a relatively obscure tale and though it maybe a case of clutching at straws to find a WW2 subject which has not been done to death, Lucas does claim to have been working on this since 1988 but he says a lot of things I doubt are true to be honest, it’s here, it’s real and it should be taken seriously. Instead it is an insult, a cringeworthy one at that to the audience as a whole and I would presume especially to those who it is supposed to be honouring, it was embarrassing.

All and I mean ALL the major plot twists were telegraphed and in some cases repeatedly, and it seemed to want to dip into multiple aspects of the war, touching almost unashamed on The Great Escape (1963), Pearl Harbor (2001) and it superior, Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) and I suppose the aforementioned Glory (1989), even though it’s not a WW2 film.

Terrance Howard as Coronal Bullard was supposed to be inspiring along with his Major, Cuba Gooding Jr. but both were miscast, with Gooding Jr. seemingly having a laugh throughout! Not what you would expect from a tearful Oscar winner really…

So, is Red Tails worth a watch? NO. As a film I find it abhorrent and as a film I would mark this as 1/10. But, due to the visually stunning dogfight scenes, clearly the motive for the entire film, and even though they have created a Nazi Darth Vader for these scenes, it’s like the Pod Race and Darth Maul Duel’s in Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999), they manage to not only make a rubbish film watchable but elevate the entrainment value considerably.

Red Tails also gives the impression of being historically accurate but as I suspected whilst watching it, it is not. There were too many contrivances and coincidences as well as the heroic successes attribute the pilots just felt wrong and bias. The stats and claims made regarding the pilots records are still in dispute but either way, this is a fictional account and not to be taken as fact. And the use of the U.S. national anthem in the final act, was something which I would have expected in a 1950’s Cinerama travelogue, not a 2012 war film. The bad taste runs deep in this apple, bad to core.

In short, expect nothing from the script or the cast but everything from the action scenes and there is plenty to be getting along with. As a period drama this offers nothing but as a popcorn actioner, it just about makes it off the runway.

A fitting farewell to the “work” of George Lucas. His legacy, now alive and well with Disney can’t be any worse than this and so far, it looks to shaping up nicely…
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on 23 December 2014
From the opening sequences a few things hit you. This film is full of Black cliched characters, the dialogue can really suck, the music seems like its from the 70s when someone thought sticking a drum kit with an orchestra worked and the flying sequences were really well done.

But the film misses a really good actor. You need Laurence Fishburne, you need Samuel L Jackson, it needed Denzel, just like Glory had Morgan Freeman. Terence Howard almost pulls it off but I had no idea WHAT Cuba Gooding Jr was trying to do: maybe the strange face he kept pulling - real Down Dog - was from the taste of the pipe he was using. Ne-Yo seems to spend the whole film copying the Grandma that Eddie Murphy did in the Nutty Professor.

Most of the others simply fight with a difficult script that really yearns to be a longer TV mini series - the whole film just feels like one of those edited hour and a half movies they used to make out of nine hour long mini series.

The flying sequences work except for one thing: ALL the actors are shot in the same way in the cockpits. It's almost as if they were simply rotated into the cockpit set in turn and no one bothered to move the camera. Often you just get the sense that it's actors saying their lines rather than actually acting, but with the turgid script it really is not surprising.

The soundtrack? If you use a full orchestra, use it, don't then stick a blinking drum kit in with it. It suits neither the period the film is set NOR matches the type of music we get today.

For a film that sets out to highlight the way black flyers were treated in the war, it makes almost EVERY white character you encounter a racist. Throw in the fact that every black flyer is characterised in the most ridiculous way possible and the biggest surprise is that the film has a black director: who really only has a lot of TV work to his credit, and it shows in the way the film does NOT feel cinematic, just somehow restricted.

I fell for the George Lucas bit, but frankly this would have been a great mini series, but instead is a mediocre film with some great CGI.
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The star of this film is the dog fight and flying sequences which are superb. Its great to at last see the some modern film full of CGI showing this exhilarating combat arena. You have loads of planes zipping around on screen at a time and real dynamic action.

The film is based on the true story of a squadron of black fighter pilots and crew who were not trusted to undertake combat missions but have to push to he taken of flight errands and make a mark in the war. Its really interesting events to be based on and add to film.

The actors are very good too, especially Terrance Howard, so why not 5 stars? Well some of the dialogue is a bit blunt. You don't hear much from the bomber apart from "Where those guys go" "hey those Guys stayed". Yes we get it, no need to be hit on the head with it.

Mostly the individuals pilots stories are a bit hackneyed. Now I'm not sure on the details of the true events (going to read up on it) but the individual stories seem to be taken from other films. There's the maverick pilot, the drinker, the superstitious one etc. Having checked the individual stories are fictional.

This could have dragged my score down to three starts but honestly the the dog fighting has to be seen and the main story is very good. A bit more time on the script this really could have been a top top film but is definitely worth seeing especially if you like WW 2 films and/or flying films.
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