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Mixed or average reviews- based on 91 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 53 out of 91
  2. Negative: 21 out of 91

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  1. Jan 23, 2012
    This movie was terrible. The story could have and should have been much more in depth. I liked the idea that G. Lucas wanted to produce an all black cast, but this simply wasn't worth paying $19 for two tickets.
  2. Jan 20, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I had been wanting to watch this movie since I first saw the trailer. Now that I have seen it, it pains me that I have to give it such a low score. It had so much potential and is based on the kind of people I admire. I'm a pilot myself, and an aviation buff, and while I don't normally go out to watch just any movie, anything that captures the exciting moments and challenges of flight, especially the roar of a Packard version of a Merlin strapped to a P-51, is enough to give me pause. Movies like these are a rarity these days so I had high hopes, but in a lot of ways, this movie simply crashed and burned. (Note: Spoilers ahead)

    The problem with this movie is that it lacked depth and realism. I feel that it never quite adequately depicted the struggles and challenges faced by the Tuskegee airmen and never really offered any antagonizing moments through the duration of the film. You see some racial discrimination in this movie, but it is displayed in such a blunt manner that you begin to really question it's meaning. It can go a something like this: White B-17 pilot spots a black pilot flying a P-51. "Hey everybody, doesn't look like we're getting much help here," says the white pilot (though quite frankly, I think most bomber crews would be grateful for any escort, no matter their color). That's literally as much as you'll expect in this movie. It's nothing like Men of Honor, where one actually has to struggle through bigotry--in this movie, it just happens, and how our heroic black men pull out of this is by simply being bad ass.

    I can give the movie a bit of praise for it's CGI action scenes, for they do look neat, but they seemed tacked on. They do a great job in depicting the Tuskegee airmen like aces, and I believe, historically, they were in fact a forced to be reckoned with. They also depict the Luftwaffe pilots as arrogant bastards and lack any kind of aerial competence. Just watching the pretty dogfights were a bit painful, not because they lacked artistic elegance, but because the whole movie was pretty one-sided. The Tuskegee airmen lost about 3 P-51s (I was counting), while they destroyed about half the German Luftwaffe including jets, a battleship, and a train. Oh my! You also see tacked on romances, which I feel is unnecessary for a film like this and seems to do more harm than good. I won't go into the details, but it seems as forced as rest of the movie and takes up valuable film. Romances can be interesting in some movies, provided there is more narrative. Unfortunately, this is not the case in this movie. The characterization was a little weak as well. The depictions of the Tuskegee airmen were interesting, and each character had a unique personality. Unfortunately, it goes a little too far and depicted the boys each with discreet problems. You have a womanizing macho pilot, a self-pitying squadron leader, a young lad who can never stand with the rest, and a few others that are just contrasted a bit too loudly. The Caucasian characters in the movie are even worst, with dry lines that seem to focus way too much on antagonizing the black race. There is also a pretty Italian woman that was tacked on to part of the story. Unfortunately, she lacked narrative, backstory, and only had a few lines to say, which rendered her role insignificant.

    I greatly admire the Tuskegee airmen and what they did back in the war, but quite frankly, I think this movie didn't do them great justice. Realism was stretched beyond belief here, and I think in a movie like this, you need a little bit of realism to portray the drama. Seeing a German ME 262 Jet going head on with a P-51, both exchanging gunfire until the bitter end is probably enough to make anyone who knows anything about aviation, especially pilots, cringe. That, and shooting down half the German Luftwaffe makes me feel that whoever wrote this movie simply didn't do enough homework.

    I really wanted to like this movie. It had so much potential. The cast seemed appropriate. It was the execution that seemed disappointing. I this this movie might appeal to some people, but for anyone wanting a film that is a little more serious, they might be in for some disappointment...
  3. Jan 22, 2012
    I went an watched Red tails yesterday and...well I must say that I was a bit disappointed with the overall flow of the movie. I really wish that they would have just kept the main focus on two characters...I really felt no connection with anybody specific because the story lines were bouncing all of the map the entire film. No real outstanding performance from Cuba or Terrance. The Tuskegee airmen were an amazing group of men that didn't get the recognition that they so deserved but I feel Mr. Lucas fell short on this one. Great dog fight scenes but aside from that I would wait for it to come out on DVD, don't rush out to see. Expand
  4. Jan 20, 2012
    The CGI was pretty good (it's distracting in the trailer). The action scenes are excellent. But.....everything else is BAD!. Don't take my word for it, take the word of the critic sitting next me me that said it sounds like a 12-year old wrote this. That's giving it too much credit. My 8-year old could have written the dialogue. I can't decide if the dialogue made the acting bad, or bad acting made the bad dialogue even worse. But the lead character "Easy" has no emotional investment in anything he says, does, or sees. And on top of everything else the filmmakers have scored the film within an inch of it's life. For the first 20-minutes the film is score and dialogue that is so, crisp it sounds like it was all recorded in a vacuum. There is no foley or ambient's actually distractingly weird. The 3rd act of the film is supposed to be emotionally resonant but it falls's a build up to nothing. I'm also wondering if a key plot or subplot was removed from the film as there are two indications. First, Bryan Cranston disappears completely and never comes back. Second, when Gerald McRainey give a big speech, it's all ADR and you only see the back side of his head (It's a bizarre shot, which leads me to believe it was the only angle they had where McRainey's mouth couldn't be seen). If they were re-writing this script to fix it in post, can you imagine how bad the shooting draft must have been. Overall 2/5 stars. Good luck with this one. Expand
  5. Sep 12, 2012
    After having consecutively viewed two early 2012 wide release war films, this and 'Act of Valor', I can say that 'Red Tails' is the better, but by no standard a worthy movie of it's subject material. It contains a lot of unauthentic dialogue between the Tuskegee airmen (which is really the most crucial and most difficult aspect of a war film to capture) and effects that would be considered the greatest effects of all time in a PC flier game, but are sadly just mediocre by today's standards for film visual effects. Throughout I remained unengaged emotionally and couldn't care less about the plights of these men, who I'm sure in real life had more struggles than those portrayed here. The movie is also a lot longer than could keep my attention and my mind began to drift to other things, missing occasional plot elements here and there, but I knew that the film would become redundant and I certainly could come back in with full understanding having missed nothing. I'm sure that the Tuskegee airmen are a subject not just worthy of a movie, but a great one at that, but 'Red Tails' isn't it. Expand
  6. Nov 2, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Probably one of the worst high budget films ever made. I was laughing at it non stop because the stereotypes are just so in your face. Lucas must have known this film was a complete joke. I can't believe it even exists. The plot and the subject matter if definitely film worthy, but it's approached in such a patronizing, unrealistic and childish way that you don't really appreciate what these men achieved. The dog fights look great as you'd expect but they'd completely unrealistic. You've got these tiny planes making multiple passes over naval warships, somehow dodging the flak from 5-6 anti aircraft guns and still making it home in one piece. Black jesus or no black jesus to keep you safe, this is just ridiculous. Worth a watch if you fancy a giggle though. The films just about manages to stay entertaining as it's so utterly utterly dire. Expand
  7. Jan 21, 2012
    What a piece of crud. What an insult to the actual African American airmen, and an insult to other white airmen who all gave so much to protect our freedom. Leave it to Steven Spielberg to re-write history, as it is clear he has never read a history book. Do not waste your money on this film, as it is ridiculous garbage and an insult to veterans.
  8. Feb 21, 2012
    Might be one of the worst WW2 movies. It certainly is not based on historical facts. In the end they claim that the Tuskegee Airmen held the best record of WW2 of any Fighter groups in WW2.
  9. Jun 1, 2012
    Everything about this movie as an abomination unless your black then its amazing, so i have to have a longer review of this peice of crap, um the converstations in the movie are very repetitive no story line, actors are pretty bad, like they barely react when one of their friends die or atleast is a compeletly false reactor this can be said for every aspect of the movie.
  10. Jan 20, 2012
    This was exactly what I thought it was going to be: A predictable, cheesy & highly-glamorized depiction of a true story story. It's heavy reliance on CGI is a good thing because it takes your mind off the cookie-cutter dialogue.

    Or I could summarize by saying this is just another civil rights-inspired movie...but with airplanes.
  11. Feb 1, 2012
    After watching Red Tails I left the movie feeling like I had not learned a single thing about the Tuskegee Airmen or black pilots in World War II. It seemed like the movie started at â
  12. Jul 18, 2012
    Every second I was watching it I was wishing that it would just end. The movie suffered from it's leads who all were annoying in their own way. There is no character development they just have a bunch of airplanes shooting at things like trains, boats, other planes, military bases, but it's not even entertaining. This is seriously the whole movie, right here. Planes shoot - There's a new mission - Fly - Shoot - Someone you didn't even know existed dies - Everyone's sad - Shoot - Mission Accomplished! - Yay! ...... I'm not even kidding. It's that bad. Expand
  13. Aug 3, 2013
    I gotta say, my expectation did not met when watching the movie. When the trailers of this movie was first released, I was excited with all those actions and stuff (I'm a big fan of war action movies). But when I watched it, I thought the trailer was much better than the real movie. Seriously I don't blame for the effects and actions used in this movie but I'd like to blame on the depth of story, dialogue and worst of all, the background music. For me, background music in movies are what affects me the most into getting the feel when watching a story. It gives that sense of mood for that particular scene. But when I saw Red Tails and the background music that was used, I gotta say that was crap. This movie deserves more effort and details. I thought that if the director focused on those kind of aspect, it would have turned out well. The CGI effects and actions was good but sometimes it's the little things that can have a large impact on the whole outcome. Expand
  14. Jul 30, 2013
    There are aspects of Red Tails that are thoroughly enjoyable, but the poor plot line and inseparable character traits ultimately led to its demise. In short, there are to many story lines to be properly understood. Had it focused on the love story/relationship between the two main men it could have worked. Had it focused purely on the historical elements it could have worked. Unfortunately, it tries to tackle all three and the result is a confusing, forced, unsatisfactory ending. There is so little exposition that all the characters seem to be carbon copies of one another. They are all pilots, yes, but what makes them unique? The special effects, like many movies from LucasFilms, are almost to extreme to be believed, but the sound and lighting were dead on. Red Tails is worth a watch if you enjoy war flicks, but if you aren't interested don't go out of your way to see this film. Expand
  15. Dec 1, 2013
    It was a long and boring movie that had no signs of encouragement all throughout the entire film. I honestly wonder what the director was thinking. Or perhaps, he wasn't.

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: Peter Travers
    Jan 27, 2012
    You leave Red Tails thinking of what might have been instead of what is – a missed opportunity.
  2. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Jan 25, 2012
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jan 20, 2012
    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.