Sunday, June 24, 2012

Red Tails - DVD Review

Starring Nate Parker, David Oyelowo, Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Tristan Wilds, Elijah Kelley, Ne-Yo, Gerald McRaney and Bryan Cranston.
Directed by Anthony Hemingway.


It's produced by George Lucas, and his signatures are all over it. Bad dialogue, stock characters, well-choreographed fight scenes, and good vs. evil.

I was worried this movie would be like Flyboys and at first it was. I point to Captain America as an example of a movie that could have been corny but succeeded in its patriotic earnestness. Red Tails doesn't quite get there.

It has its moments though. It improved as it went on, where the characters start facing individual challenges. We get past the two-dimensional racist officer (Bryan Cranston) to the gruff one (Gerald McRaney) who just wants to know if these Tuskagee Airmen can fly or not. In fact if I flowcharted this movie, you'd see my thumb down for Act I, sideways for Act II, and up for Act III. I couldn't help but be moved by the squad's courage and the surprise respect they earned from the white pilots with newly-opened eyes.

The aerial shots are obviously CG-generated, so it's about on par watching the Rebels shoot up the Death Star, but I'm not about to complain about Rebels shooting up the Death Star. The Nazis sneer and have strategically placed scars on their faces. Terrence Howard is decent as the commanding officer. The pipe-smoking Cuba Gooding Jr. always has this wry grin on his face like there's a joke he's not sharing anyone.

Lucas tried for years to get this movie made, and he said having blacks in all the main parts was his main obstacle. Well, it opened to $19 million, and had it been a better movie, it might've grossed more than its $50 million domestic.

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