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1944. As the war in Europe continues to take its toll on Allied forces; the Pentagon brass has no recourse but to consider unorthodox options -- including the untried and untested African-American pilots of the experimental Tuskegee training program. Just as the young Tuskegee men are on the brink of being shut down and shipped back home; they are given the ultimate chance to show their courage. Against all the odds; with something to prove and everything to lose; these intrepid young airmen take to the skies to fight for their country -- and the fate of the free world.
Aerial spectacle gives this World War II drama a lift. Based on the true adventures of the Tuskegee Airmen, who battled Nazis in the air and racism on the ground, Red Tails is built around four pilots, each with a character-type-appropriate nickname: the daredevil is named Lightning (David Oyelowo), the likable boozer is Easy (Nate Parker), the kid trying to prove himself is Junior (Tristan Wilds), and the joker is called, uhm, Joker (Elijah Kelley). While these four chafe at their lousy assignments at the front, Colonel Bullard (Terrence Howard, applying his steely rasp to fervent, inspirational speeches) fights back in Washington to give these men a chance to prove themselves… and when they get that chance, prove themselves they do. This is a crucial bit of history--racial integration in the military was a key step leading to the civil rights movement decades later. Regrettably, this powerful material has been reduced to ham-fisted clichés, groaning under the weight of clumsy exposition. Such flimsy hokum is particularly surprising coming from co-screenwriter Aaron McGruder, creator of the sharply satirical The Boondocks; one suspects that the heavy hand of producer George Lucas was a factor. Nonetheless, when Red Tails takes to the air, the movie--like the pilots--shows its mettle. Though the digital effects are inexplicably uneven, the dizzying dogfight choreography will make your nerves tingle. --Bret Fetzer
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They played hard and they accomplished everything that was asked of them, they made a recognizable
difference in their style of fighting...they followed orders to a "T". If you want to feel good about being an
American, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to this one.