Old Uncle George Lucas has come out of the closet with a new movie that doesn’t have Jedi, Ewoks, or Stormtroopers.
The movie is called “Red Tails”. This is a fictional account of the Tuskegee airmen and their fight not only against the germans, but also to gain equality in the eyes of the American Military. For those of you who don’t know, the Tuskegee airmen were the African American pilots to fight in World War II. During this time, the civil rights movement was just beginning, and so these men did not have the same rights as the soldiers who were white. That’s what this film shows. It shows the struggles and challenges these men faced from not only Germany, but also America, and how they overcame those trials.
So, things I liked.
One thing that stood out to me first and foremost in this film was the bonds of brotherhood the men displayed. Throughout the movie we see them keeping each other accountable, encouraging those inexperienced and suffering, and working together for a common goal. I was reminded of the biblical model of brothers in Christ when I saw these guys together. They had sins, but were willing to forgive, because they acknowledged their own as well. The realistic friendships were awesome to see in this movie, and wish there were more things like this in other films…
I also appreciated the way racism was presented. It was presented exactly as I have read in books, and by that I mean not very nice at all. The men are taunted, made fun of, and ridiculed. Once they save a group of bomers though, they gain the respect of the pilots, who in turn begin to actively attempt to break down those racial walls.
Even in this movie on war, human life is shown to be valued and killing the enemy something to be glad about. One man says “Don’t be in a hurry to get to the killing part”. The men all value their comrades life above their own, and some do make the ultimate sacrifice to save others.
Other notable and applaudable qualities shown by the airmen include courage, honor, compassion, humility, and discipline.
Aside from the character traits and morals presented, the dog fights in this movie are worth noting. They are very very good. Almost with a starwarsesque feel you roll, dip, and ride with the Red Tail pilots. There are many different angles and camera shots, and I never once felt disoriented, as I had before with some other aerial movies. They got it right in this movie.
Things I didn’t like.
The swearing in this movie was… a lot. I know I know… it is a war movie, but you should be aware there are easily over 50 cuss words over and over again. Not fun to listen to.
There is a sene where an Italian girl one guy has a relationship with is dressed in lingerie and the guy in boxers. They aren’t married, so not appropriate at all. Even if they were, showing that kind of thing in a movie is distasteful and not needed.
One guy continually refers to a black Jesus, and is mocked because of his faith.
Other things you should be aware of…
This movie is pretty violent once the planes take off and the dogfights begin. We see people shot up in cockpits, with blood spraying on the widows, etc. We see pilots die in cockpits in very sad way, Planes crash before they can parachute out, and we see ground crews shot up during ground raids… the deaths were personal and intense. It hurt to watch at times.
There is a bar fight.
Soliders drink and smoke.
Soliders are shown gambling.
There are racist comments made that were common to those days.
We have come a long way in terms of equality between men and their skin color. Racism still exists in America now, but it is not the major rule. Red Tails brought to life the past in a way I had never imagined it. It shows men, fully capable and desiring to serve their country, being held back all because of the pigment of their skin.
Through the movie we see them struggle with addictions, Self pity, apathy, and diligence. Something we all struggle with everyday. Thanks to each other though, they pull through and make a statement that still stands in History to this day. I enjoyed watching the men fall, and then pull themselves back up together, with greater resolve than before, to be the best pilots in WWII. I think it is the imperfections and struggles shown that make this movie so memorable. These aren’t heros impervious to assault, but men who are trying to serve their country in the best way they see fit.
The violence is pretty intense, the swearing painful to listen to, and the relationship outside of mariage… less than desirable. God is not shown in a positive light to some soliders, but to others, He is their hope.
What am I trying to say?
Mainly this: It isn’t often I come out of a movie moved in some way. This one did. Maybe it was the down to earth characters. Perhaps it was the unfiltered and ugly racism shown that was once acceptable in America. Or maybe it was the captivating dogfights…
Whatever it was, I enjoyed it, not just for the entertainment it provided, but the messages it presented. Old’ Uncle George took off with his idea and landed a war movie that went beyond guns and glory. And for that, I give this one two big thumbs up.