Mixed or average reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 91 Ratings

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  • Summary: Red Tails begins its story with World War II in full swing. As the war continues to take its toll on Allied Forces in Europe, the Pentagon brass, desperate to protect their dwindling numbers of bombers look to an option previously considered unthinkable. At long last they give The Tuskegee Airmen the chance to prove themselves in battle and forever put to rest the misplaced belief that blacks lacked the courage, discipline and intelligence to be fighter pilots. Against all the odds, with something to prove and everything to lose, these intrepid young airmen take to the skies in awe inspiring displays of bravery and heroism to fight for their country and with it, the fate of the free world. (20th Century Fox) Expand
  • Director: Anthony Hemingway
  • Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Drama, History, War
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Runtime: 120 min
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 32
  2. Negative: 4 out of 32
  1. 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.
  2. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Jan 19, 2012
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jan 19, 2012
    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.
  4. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Jan 19, 2012
    The movie is so desperate to be palatable, to appeal to everybody that it doesn't taste like anything.
  5. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Jan 19, 2012
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Jan 19, 2012
    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.
  7. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Jan 19, 2012
    What's missing is any hint of realism. There's no grit to it anywhere.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 45
  2. Negative: 9 out of 45
  1. Feb 1, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Hokey story but so what? Flight scenes were fantastic! POV in the fighters and the bombers really showed how fast things happen. Most obvious cliche to me: I knew the guy was dead as soon as she said yes. Expand
  2. Jan 20, 2012
    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 titled "TUSKEGEE AIRMEN", now that was a great movie about the Tuskegee Airmen and a goo war air movie about these guys. Expand
  3. Jan 20, 2012
    Too much CG in a film that didn't need to have that much. Relied too much on the computer for simple long shots of an air base. Great story and it should be told. Thought the actors did a good job. Expand
  4. Mar 13, 2012
    This film was ok, but if were to recommed a film about the Tuskegee Airman, i'd deffinatly reffer people to the video store for a copy of the last one that was made. The story isn't as good and i can't really say that improved CG made the flight sequences any more exciting. Worth a watch, but i'd wait for Netflix for this one if i could do it again. Expand
  5. Jan 20, 2012
    This review contains spoilers. 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...
  6. 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. Expand

See all 45 User Reviews