I didn’t know what to expect from Red Tails. Maybe it would be good, but would it be true?
The movie has come under heavy fire for its Hollywood shine, and it took George Lucas more than 20 years to bring the film to the big screen. Anthony Hemingway directs, and the cast is anchored by Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. and Oscar nominee Terrence Howard.
Red Tails is inspired by the courage of the first African-American aerial combat unit that served during World War II. Training the Tuskegee Airmen began as the “Tuskegee Experiment” and ultimately led to desegregation in the U.S. military in 1948 — 15 years before Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech.
Some have complained about how the film tells such an important story and its well-choreographed aerial fight scenes. Others have objected to an interracial subplot. I understand that some Hollywood magic has to happen and don’t expect to see the truth about historical subjects at the movies. That’s why we have books.
The fight scenes were a little too intense for me, but they weren’t designed for the occasional war movie watcher. As for the love story, it was tender and a sweet distraction from the war. At first, I had a hard time accepting Cuba Gooding Jr. as the head honcho in the field, but I definitely believed Terrance Howard as the colonel fighting with military brass for his men. The other characters developed well, on and off the ground.
The movie clocks in at two hours, and that was a bit long for me. I enjoyed it and will recommend it to my father, who is retired from the military, and anyone else who wants to see a movie inspired by real events. If the applause at the end is any guide, the audience also was delighted with the movie. I, for one, was surprised to see a nearly filled theater for a late morning showing. Perhaps moviegoers can show executives that an all-male black cast can draw legions.