Metascore
46

Mixed or average reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 32
  2. Negative: 4 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jan 20, 2012
    75
    Thankfully, much of Red Tails is spent in the skies, where fighter planes swoop and zoom in thrilling dogfights with incendiary direct hits. Executive producer George Lucas apparently gave Hemingway the keys to his CGI kingdom, creating marvelously designed in-flight action and a sappy, snappy salute to the Tuskegee Airmen.
  2. Reviewed by: Kevin C. Johnson
    Jan 20, 2012
    75
    Overreaching fits of melodrama, occasionally stilted dialogue, and performances by Gooding Jr. and Howard that are mostly a series of serious faces can't keep the shiny Red Tails from taking flight.
  3. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Jan 20, 2012
    75
    A well-acted, well-directed (by TV veteran Anthony Hemingway) popcorn movie with great aerial battles and solid dramatic scenes that hold your attention for two good hours.
  4. Reviewed by: Randy Cordova
    Jan 19, 2012
    70
    Perhaps the movie's most surprising feat? Somehow, the darned thing mostly works, probably because its heart is in the right place.
  5. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Jan 19, 2012
    67
    Kudos to the makers Red Tails for paying homage to a remarkable group of men and their genuinely heroic deeds, and a hat-tip as well for the idea that the best way to tell the story was the old-fashioned way. But would that the film's old-school aura felt knowingly retro rather than dutifully rote.
  6. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Jan 18, 2012
    67
    As long as it stays in the air, Red Tails is a compelling sky-war pageant of a movie. On the ground, it's a far shakier experience: dutiful and prosaic, with thinly scripted episodes that don't add up to a satisfying story.
  7. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Jan 20, 2012
    63
    Sadly, the result is a disappointment. Sure, the aerial battles are technically adept and occasionally exhilarating, but it's almost painful to sit through some of the "drama" that occurs on the ground.
  8. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jan 19, 2012
    63
    David Oyelowo stands out as the daredevil Joe "Lightning" Little, the unit's best flier. With his bravery and bravado, he's the film's most complex character.
  9. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jan 19, 2012
    63
    There isn't a real, flesh-and-blood figure in the bunch. Everything about Red Tails - the breaking down of racial barriers, the military achievements, the courage and sacrifice - is diminished in the process.
  10. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jan 18, 2012
    63
    Red Tails is entertaining. Audiences are likely to enjoy it. The scenes of aerial combat are skillfully done and exciting.
  11. 60
    Such a story is made to be colored in jumbo crayon, and at first you might long for a more nuanced approach, but this film was produced in the 1940's serial style that's made Lucas Films enormous.
  12. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Jan 19, 2012
    60
    In the end Red Tails is mostly about the coolness of flying. Its heart is in the clouds, instead of with the men at the controls.
  13. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jan 20, 2012
    58
    When a great movie subject results in a middling movie, the loss is double.
  14. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jan 27, 2012
    50
    You leave Red Tails thinking of what might have been instead of what is – a missed opportunity.
  15. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Jan 25, 2012
    50
    Red Tails is both a stirring and simplistic tribute to the men that not only shattered the U.S. Army Air Corps' racial barrier but also saved the lives of many a white, B-17 crew member, all while downing countless numbers of Hitler's formidable, jet-propelled Luftwaffe.
  16. Reviewed by: Jesse Cataldo
    Jan 20, 2012
    50
    Where Spielberg has made WWII a venue for his sanctimonious side, a platform to convince viewers that war is indeed hell, Lucas is still in a state of pre-adolescent fascination with the conflict.
  17. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Jan 19, 2012
    50
    The movie is so desperate to be palatable, to appeal to everybody that it doesn't taste like anything.
  18. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Jan 19, 2012
    50
    Every character here is so squeaky-clean, and the prejudice as depicted is so toothless and easily overcome, that the film feels like a gingerly fantasy version of what, in real life, was an exceptional example of resilient trail-blazing.
  19. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jan 19, 2012
    50
    Red Tails squanders a great subject, reducing the real-life struggles and fierce heroics of the Tuskegee Airmen to rickety cliche.
  20. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Jan 18, 2012
    42
    The aerial sequences look an awful lot like X-wing-versus-TIE-fighter battles and the effects have the same not-quite-solid feel of the Star Wars prequels. When the heroes crash, they go up in blazes of digital glory that seem just as artificial as the plotting that brought them to their fates.
  21. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Jan 19, 2012
    40
    For all the occasional grace of its high-flying derring-do, Red Tails barely feels like a movie. It's an uncertain hodgepodge of impulses and desires that never coheres enough to even crash and burn.
  22. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Jan 19, 2012
    40
    To say that this live-action comic book lives up to Mr. Lucas's description is not a wholehearted endorsement. Are teenage boys as naïve today as they were 60 or more years ago? And much of the dialogue is groaningly clunky. But so it was back then.
  23. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jan 19, 2012
    40
    One could argue that the target audience - black teenagers, Mr. Lucas has said - might be most receptive to a film that conveys history through contemporary entertainment. But this isn't contemporary entertainment, it's antiquated kitsch reprocessed by the producer's nostalgia for the movies of his boyhood. The story has been stripped of historical context - don't black teenagers and everyone else deserve hard facts? - and internal logic.
  24. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Jan 19, 2012
    40
    Alas, it was George Lucas who became captivated by the Tuskegee Airmen and has, after many years as devoted producer, managed to turn their story into a feature film that falls much closer to the goofy "Hogan's Heroes" in the spectrum of World War II-focused productions than "Saving Private Ryan."
  25. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Jan 19, 2012
    40
    Apart from the occasional thrill provided by CG-enhanced aerial dogfights, this stuffy history lesson about the groundbreaking African-American fighter pilot division never quite takes off, weighed down by wooden characters and leaden screenwriting.
  26. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jan 19, 2012
    40
    George Lucas produced this candy-coated, fictionalized drama, and while its cast is first-rate and its flying sequences sharp, the movie is as glazed and wide-eyed as a 70-year-old comic book.
  27. Reviewed by: Ben Sachs
    Jan 19, 2012
    40
    George Lucas served as executive producer for this effects-heavy action film about the Tuskegee Airmen, and it feels as synthetic and dull as "The Phantom Menace."
  28. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Jan 17, 2012
    40
    So narratively old-fashioned it creaks.
  29. Reviewed by: James Adams
    Jan 19, 2012
    38
    Virtue aside, however, Red Tails is a lousy film. Not wincingly bad, mind you, just mediocre.
  30. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Jan 19, 2012
    38
    The war-movie cliches are as abundant as the antiaircraft fire, and the dialogue as wooden as a balsa glider. The leading characters are issued one personality trait apiece, and some don't even get that. Cuba Gooding Jr., for example, plays Maj. Emanuelle Stance as a man who smokes a pipe.
  31. Reviewed by: Forrest Wickman
    Jan 19, 2012
    30
    Remember that scene from "Raiders of the Lost Ark," when a swastika-stamped Nazi crate explodes for no good reason (beyond the fact that the Ark hates Nazis)? Red Tails is like that, only less awesome, and considerably longer.
  32. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Jan 19, 2012
    25
    What's missing is any hint of realism. There's no grit to it anywhere.
User Score
5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 91 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 45
  2. Negative: 9 out of 45
  1. Jan 20, 2012
    10
    I just got back from watching RED TAIL, It was an ok movie however, I thought it very much short of the movie a few years ago titledI just got back from watching RED TAIL, It was an ok movie however, I thought it very much short of the movie a few years ago titled "TUSKEGEE AIRMEN", now that was a great movie about the Tuskegee Airmen and a goo war air movie about these guys. Full Review »
  2. Jan 27, 2012
    9
    Wow. Many critics have slammed the film. Not every movie is the artsy, indie, twisting plot will be a mess. I do not like the move from timeWow. Many critics have slammed the film. Not every movie is the artsy, indie, twisting plot will be a mess. I do not like the move from time to time, but it is not one of those films. If you are looking to feel like you're full of good movies, great special effects (and you do not take this film to be) inspired and learn something about history, then, to see this film and do not listen to critics. I see the movie opening night with my wife and we both love!

    It was a great pace, the action was great, the game was great and we got it, was never really a part of World War II led to the big screen to see until now. I can not stress this point. The war ended in 1945, is a sad story and we have finally achieved in 2012.

    We have seen the show late. Friends to meet the film, and was the last time "they" could not, we have shown that flaked and did not show up so we went ahead, and he saw it. Even a week after a long, cold working and the fight against a very long day, I was at the end of the film, and then glued and not fall asleep. In fact, when the end credits came up, then sat on the seat in the theater and for the first time I was served. (My film before the end of the film is good, you know, rather than a film you can not wait until the end)

    It is interesting to criticism almost universally criticized for representing the interests of Hollywood and Hollywood, this film was that it is not George Lucas contributed to this film in the first place. You must be a connection.

    A lot of respect for red-tails. The Red tails "into the fight just to fight" and "Top Gun" had their day. Man, these guys all had to go through the struggle, and perhaps only opportunity to see a country of their second-class citizens who died as a huge amount of integrity and humanity. Many, many people say that any color or origin should not forget, you guys fight your own war. level rarely seen and it really speaks to the quality of these people is integrity. It was really inspiring!

    P51 Mustang fighter that I think is my new favorite. 300 MPH cruising speed and maneuverability with a top speed of 450 mph and that was it, 1940 is a prop driven plane. Sweet!

    Thank you Mr. Lucas to the movie. Is doing well, so I hope I will be able to see more.
    For more Reviews visit here ginq.com
    Full Review »
  3. Jan 22, 2012
    10
    I loved Red Tails because it is a fun, action-packed, shoot-em-up movie that incorporates an important story too often left out of history. II loved Red Tails because it is a fun, action-packed, shoot-em-up movie that incorporates an important story too often left out of history. I found the chemistry between the actors to be wonderful, and the story to be captivating -- i.e., underdogs fighting for a chance to kick some Nazi butt (not to mention just get recognized by their fellow countrymen as human beings). Lastly it's refreshing to see a broader story told about our past, and celebrate a group of often unsung heroes.

    Many of the criticisms I've read have some merit. Some of the dialogue may be stilted, some of the acting is stiff (but the acting of one of the lead pilots, Joe Little - a.k.a. "Lighting" is fabulous), the historical accuracy might not be spot-on... BUT, frankly I don't think these flaws take away from the bigger package of an exciting action movie. I think part of the criticism comes from people holding this movie to a higher standard because it deviates from the typical Hollywood formula (i.e. it's an action movie with an all-Black cast), which in my opinion is not fair. No this movie is not "Saving Private Ryan", but George Lucas didn't set out to create high-drama. His goal here was to create a pop-corn, feel-good, action movie, and in that regard the movie is a tremendous success.
    Full Review »