In the Second World War the Tuskegee Airmen, American aviators all of African decent, were trained then left out of the main action of the war. Stationed in Italy and tasked with patrolling areas far from the front the pilots spend their time looking for trucks and trains bearing German markings. They strive to prove they are capable and worthy of combat assignments.
“Red Tails” probably has two main selling points. First the cast is largely black actors portraying a true story about black heroes. Second it’s a World War II combat movie that isn’t about pearl harbour or D-day.
Apart from the leads, the acting is often stiff and uninspiring. When bomber pilots are in clear distress they sound as if it’s pretty routine. Which maybe it was, but if they’re aren’t getting emotional neither are we. “Red Tails” has been criticized for leaning too hard into stereotypes. Maybe it does, but it’s the best movie I know of about the Tuskegee Airmen. It takes a fairly gentle approach to the racism these airmen experienced. The filmmakers don’t tiptoe around racism, but I’m confident it was worse in real life.
“Red Tails” is an old style war movie. The good guys are good and the bad guys are all bad featuring a racist, scarred, Nazi. Even the titles are made in a classic style. There’s quite a lot going on in the story. With several lead characters, all with their own sub stories, the flow can drag a little fitting in everything in. I found myself eager to get back to the flights. That’s where this movie really shines. The air battles look, sound, and feel realistic.
With very little sexual content, moderate course language, and mostly “look-away” violence “Red Tails” is pretty tame for a war movie. Not for small children, but it’s probably on the low end of the PG-13 rating.
I enjoy “Red Tails” and I give it an 8/10, but I know it’s not among the “great war movies”. If you’re looking for a war movie telling a lesser known part of history, “Red Tails” is a good choice.
Bluray - https://amzn.to/3vDTxxV
DVD - https://amzn.to/3b2rbFU