Film Review: Red Tails

It was 1977 when George Lucas brought us one of the biggest movie franchises in cinema history. Now, he’s planning on leaving professional filmmaking behind and walking off into the sunset, to work on smaller and more personal movies. The writer, director, and producer leaves behind him a catalogue of films, which we all know include the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises respectively. There is no doubt this is the end of an era. In which case, Red Tails is Lucas’ final film. It tells the true story of an all-African-American fighter pilot squadron in World War II, who are fighting against the racial discrimination of the Nazi threat, while dealing with the racial discrimination of fellow American soldiers. However, under the leadership of Colonel Bullard (Terence Howard), the squadron are given a chance to prove their worth in battle. This is a project that Lucas has been trying to get made since 1988. Concerned that a film with an all-African-American cast would seem unmarketable, he has now put forward most of the money for the film himself. It’s unfortunate then that throughout you can’t help feel that this could have been better. Lucas reportedly did lots of research into what the real life squadron persevered against, and yet you still feel like most of the story is being censored from us. This is a story worthy of an epic yet understated three hour adventure, rather than a two hour CGI filled romp from LucasFilm. The special effects are, unsurprisingly, the real winner here. The beautifully stylised action scenes with have many people thinking back to the space-set epic that Lucas brought us in 1977. This is after all a Lucas film, so the dialogue is as cloth eared as usual. Some will see it a corny quirk that is easy to put up with, while others will find it so infuriating they’ll be wondering how any let this get to screen without someone objecting. One rather key scene is obliterated by a character shouting “Die, foolish American!” This was such a bad line that people in the screening were physically wincing, as though the words had flown out of the screen and punch them in the eye. Despite the flaws however, Red Tails is an enjoyable B movie, that’s as fun as it is silly. The director Anthony Hemingway makes his big screen directorial debut here. When George Lucas called him to let him know he was hired, he reportedly broke down and cried, completely overwhelmed by the fact that his hero George Lucas had picked him. You could have done better than this George, but boy will we miss you.
Image reproduced from Video reproduced from YouTube / RedTailsMovie

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About Eric Wood

Eric Wood is 21 years old, from Bury in Greater Manchester, and a graduate of Salford University where he studied Journalism and English Literature. His first novel comes out later in the year, and he begins work directing his first feature length movie in the summer. Eric absolutely adores all forms of writing and loves movies so he’s the ideal film critic. His greatest inspiration for many years has been Michael Crichton, as Crichton has written novels, non-fiction, screenplays, and directed movies. Eric would love to be able to achieve all of those things in my lifetime.
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