Red Tails (2 stars)

Red Tails

George Lucas pet WWII project suffers from thin characterization, hoary clichés and crude simplifications

Star Wars creator George Lucas used clips from his favourite aviation dramas to stand in for battle scenes in the original rough-cut of Star Wars, so it’s no surprise that several decades later, Lucas has invested some of his personal wealth in an old-fashioned WWII airborne-action film. But despite lashings of expensively rendered CGI action, the result is duller than a Pathé newsreel.

Like the 1995 made-for-TV movie The Tuskegee Airmen, Red Tails is based around the exploits of an African-American crew of trainee pilots stationed in Italy. Led by Major Emanuelle Stance (Cuba Gooding Jr) and Colonel AJ Bullard (Terrence Howard), the Tuskegee flyboys defy both Nazi pilots and institutional racism alike as they complete a number of successful missions, with Nate Parker, David Oyelowo and singer Ne-Yo amongst the frontline pilots.

In the hands of first-time feature director Anthony Hemingway, Lucas’ dream project crashes and burns due to thin characterization, hoary clichés and crude simplifications, making for a feeble tribute compared to Days of Glory, Rachid Bouchareb’s comparable 2006 drama about the Algerian contribution to the war.

General release from Wed 6 Jun.

Red Tails (2012) HD Movie Trailer - Lucasfilm Official Trailer

Red Tails

  • 2 stars
  • 2012
  • US
  • 2h 5min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Anthony Hemingway
  • Written by: John Ridley
  • Cast: Cuba Gooding Jr., Gerald McRaney, David Oyelowo
  • UK release: 6 June 2012

In WW II Italy, a crew of African-American trainee airmen defy both Nazi pilots and institutional racism, under the leadership of Major Stance (Gooding) and Colonel Bullard (Howard). Lashings of expensively rendered CGI action can't make up for thin characterization, hoary clichés and crude simplifications.

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