Customer Review

87 of 120 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the worst movie about WWII ever made., May 25, 2012
This review is from: Red Tails (DVD)
I have just rented this movie on cable. Here is the rundown- not a single scene in this "historically inspired" movie (other than the racism) is remotely accurate. This is Lucasfilm filming the Rebel Alliance fighting the evil Imperial TIE fighters again. the combat scenes aren't even remotely representative of reality: aircrews did not talk to each other the way they do in this movie (training takes over and pilots know what to do- they don't spend half a minute deciding to make a turn so that the wingman can take out the German because in that half a minute the fight will be over and the pilot who is busy thinking sand discussing tactics will be dead), fighter escorts did not abandon bomber formations until the "Red Tails" showed up. (Until the P-51 Mustangs appeared on the scene, of course, fighters did not have the range to escort bombers all the way to their targets anyway.) German fighters did not attack bomber formations as a tight group of 10-20 fighters (a nice tight bunch to shoot at ensuring that at least some of the German fighters would be downed by bomber gunners on the pass). In the early part of the movie American P-40s down several ME-109s. This would only have happened if the ME-109s were piloted by the worst pilots in the Luftwaffe and the P-40s were flown by the best American pilots: the ME-109s were faster and more agile by far, and had far superior climbing rates (the P-40 was obsolete before the War began). There is a scene where the inchoate Red Tails destroy a Luftwaffe base. The base looked like something out of the 1960s, not like an aerodrome of WWII. Of course the German pilots are wooden, souless killers devoid of emotion. The Red Tails themselves do not act like officers or even enlistedmen- never do we lose the sense that they are actors as they are devoid of all military bearing. Individual B-17s turn out of formation and head for home with battle damage - not a surer way for the pilot of the B-17 to commit suicide or at least guarantee the loss of aircraft ( a lone B-17 would stand no chance as German fighters had cannon that could shoot at the bommbers beyond the range of the machine guns of the bombers- only by staying in formation and covering each other could the bombers hope to survive their missions).

Why couldn't Lucasfilm have taken the truly inspiring story of the Tuskeegee airmen and filmed a movie that reflected the reality of air combat?? This movie makes a mockery of a very important chapter of race relations in America ( the begining of the end of a very sad and disgraceful chpater of American history) I would say it's conection to reality is about the same as Hogan's Heroe and McHale's Navy- maybe worse because it pretends to be accurate.

Advice- buy the DVd very used (under $5 at least) or watch in pay per view- if you really have two hours of your life that you want to waste watching this and feel strongly that you will not resent the fact that you will never get those two hours back!
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 35 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 26, 2012 1:58:11 PM PDT
K. Williams says:
On the comment of a B-17 leaving the formation with battle damage, there are a couple of points I think you have missed. One, once a B-17 was damaged; it would not be able to keep in the tight formation. The formations were kept very close. If a B-17 was damaged, the pilot would not have the capability to control the aircraft well enough to keep it inside the tight formation without the risk of coming into contact with another B-17. Therefore he would have to come out of the formation. Also, if the damage resulted in an engine failure, the aircraft would not be able to keep pace with the formation. And finally, if the damage caused fuel loss, then the pilot would have no choice but to head back and hope he could make it back before he ran out.

It is true that the German fighters would look for a lone bomber because it was much easier to attack. And yes, it was almost a sure thing that once the bomber did get separated from the formation that it was not going to make it.

My last point and this is not directed toward just one person but to the vast majority that have criticized this film, if this film was made strictly realistic, it would truly be a very slow moving boring film. I mean really, war was 99 percent boredom with 1 percent sheer terror. This film is meant to put some facts together with some entertainment. If you wanted a purely factual film, then you should rent some of the documentaries on this subject, which there are a few of.

In reply to an earlier post on May 26, 2012 2:54:47 PM PDT
D.E. says:
Regarding your last point I think combat scenes should be made representative of reality, not of a scene from Star Wars. (The ME-109s attacking the B-17s and the resulting dogfights with the escorts was the same scene as the fight over the 2nd Death Star in Return of the Jedi.) Pilots didn't talk like they do in this movie or in Top Gun: Maverick and Ice Man in their two F-14s persuing Jester and Ice Man calling out "banking left, banking left"- I almost busted out laughing, and Red Tails was full of the same nonsense).

B-17 and B-24 formations did not fly at maximum speed- they would run out of fuel. Damaged planes were able to keep formation as long as the damage wasn't too great. The B-17 at the end of this movie makes a tight turn- which would have destroyed the plane anyway- and then flies back through the formation. It would never have happened.

Here's another point: the German pilot calling "Decoy squadron make your turn". How stupid does that sound? Even if it worked once or twice (which it didn't) escorting pilots and the escorted bomber crews would quickly learn from their mistake. Also, communications weren't jammed and obviously some crews had German speakers on board. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb scene.

To really honor the Tuskegee airman- and boy does their achievement deserve to be honored- the movie should have been more realistic.

In reply to an earlier post on May 26, 2012 11:05:59 PM PDT
K. Williams says:
I agree with you on the movie being on the lame side. I definitely would not watch it again. And yes I agree that all of the scenes with the aircraft dialog was completely incorrect. In fact, there would have not been any dialog, since radio silence would have been the norm.

But if you go back to some of the early movies made by Hollywood and saw how they tried to recreate some of the radio chatter, it was just as bad if not worse.

This movie was just a movie, and it was a poorly done one.

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2012 9:45:08 AM PDT
I thought the HBO movie about the Tuskegee airmen several years ago with Cuba Gooding JR, was much better, and is worth seeking out as the definitive portrayal of these fine young airmen.

Posted on May 29, 2012 10:30:05 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Dec 21, 2014 10:34:18 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 6:18:17 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 29, 2012 9:39:06 PM PDT
D.E. says:
Oh, gee Paul- I sort of doubt you here because no pilot who actually flew in combat would say this movie was as close as you could get without being there. I am not an arm chair pilot but I have an interest in history and frankly this movies... sucked. Rather than say this movie was not 100% accurate it would be for precise to say that the movie was about 5% accurate (there were B-17s, there were P-51s, there were the Tuskegee Airman.... beyond this it's pretty much false).

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 6:31:48 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 29, 2012 6:32:59 PM PDT
K. Williams says:
Paul M. Tompkins, I don't believe a single word that you wrote. It is obvious that you are lying.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 8:40:48 AM PDT
my thoughts exactly

Posted on Jun 7, 2012 6:07:14 PM PDT
thanks for the breakdown. as an avid WWII history buff myself, and aviation lover, I know I would resent buying the movie with this BS. D.E. you are right, movie I have seen to replicate air combat was perhaps Memphis Bell from the 90's. although I'm sure it had its flaws, it validates your points. When I saw the trailer for red tales, and witnessed a P-51 doing a tight 180 spin like a top and then shooting a Me-109, I couldn't help but be met with disappointment. what a joke. it's the same feeling I get when I see what looks like a beautiful WWII simulator coming to maeket, but then met with the fact its a BS arcade game.

Posted on Jun 12, 2012 1:32:38 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 12, 2012 2:41:53 AM PDT
w. mycroft says:
GOOD descriptions of air warfare. and lucas never COULD write, man. he's all fx. point of interest, after 30 years saturation with stories of pogroms and the african slave trade, i could USE a break. they're kind of used UP, you know. tinseltown so blase it just recycles these same standby themes to death. can't think of anything new today? ok, nazis and oppressed african americans always good for another spin. THINK, you ginks!
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