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Movie Review | Red Tails

Red Tails tells the true story of the Tuskegee Airmen, an all African-American unit that served as pilots in World War II in Italy in a time when many Americans believed that African-Americans were not “mentally and physically able” to serve. The Airmen not only proved that they were able, but in fact quite adept, and their story is one that has never been told on the big screen until now.

The pilots and their commanders include Major Stance (Cuba Gooding Jr., The Hit List), Colonel Bullard (Terrance Howard, The Ledge), “Easy” (Nate Parker, The Secret Life of Bees), “Junior” (Tristan Wilds, TV’s 90210), “Joker” (Elijah Kelley, Hairspray), “Smoky” (singer Ne-Yo), Joe “Lightning” Little (David Oyelowo, The Help), and others. Some of the boys had their own side plots as well; Joe Little was dating a local Italian woman (Daniela Ruah, TV’s NCIS: Los Angeles), even though he couldn’t speak Italian, and Major Stance was fighting for the Airmen’s right to serve in the war, as there were still a lot of racists around who didn’t the idea of African-American pilots. Because of Stance and their natural talents, the Red Tails soon get a major opportunity – escorting bomber planes into Berlin – and they take advantage of it to show their flying abilities.

Maybe see this film. There were a lot of things I liked about Red Tails, and a few things that I did not. The cinematography is gorgeous; the Italian landscape, or wherever they filmed it, is shown off well, and all of the vintage planes look great in the sky, and the wardrobe (khaki and beige, for the most part) that the Airmen wore look very authentic too. The scenes where they are in the air are all great, and definitely captivating. All of the missions in the film were actual missions that the Tuskegee Airmen were assigned and completed, and its great to see actual historical events translate to the big screen this well.

However, the movie definitely feels longer than its 125 minute runtime, and it could have been made more concise by cutting some scenes. Some of the dialogue seemed a bit forced, too, especially between the white pilots, for some reason, and this could have been improved on as well. I was amused, too, that whenever they showed the “Gerries” (German pilots) it was always the same pilot over and over, muttering about the damn American pilots. Red Tails will entertain anyone that likes war and/or historical movies (which I do), but it will take the long (and often slow) route in doing so.

Red Tails is currently in theaters, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 125 minutes.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5


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[author_info]About the Author

Liz is our regular movie reviewer and writes for her own film blog, Yes/No Films, as well as The NYLA Report, FREEISMYLIFE, and the Detroit Examiner. You can follow her on Facebook and onTwitter.



Liz is our regular movie reviewer and writes for her film blog (Yes/No Films) and book blog (Books I Think You Should Read), as well as and CBS Detroit. You can follow her on Facebook and on Twitter.


  1. Prime Parents Club

    January 21, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Glad to hear this was pretty good. The trailer looks really interesting.


    • Liz Parker

      January 22, 2012 at 10:21 am

      It was okay. I wanted it to be better but the cinematography was great and I loved all the vintage stuff. The story is important and needs to be told, but could have been told better, IMO.

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