CJ GUION | EDITOR – IN – CHIEF
After 20 years, George Lucas’ dream finally came true after he was able to release the movie “Red Tails”, a film about the Tuskegee Airmen. For years, the odds were stacked against the movie that centered around an all African American cast. However, despite the criticism and politics, the movie arrived at theaters around the country and delivered in content and box office numbers.
The film was directed by Anthony Hemingway “The Wire,” and screenwritten by Aaron McGruder “The Boondocks” and John Ridley “Three Kings.”
Unlike most war stories, “Red Tails” featured an action oriented, comic book like approach to tell the historic story of a group of pilots that were thought to be inferior to their White counterparts. The movie took audience members from moments of excitement to laughter and finally in the end tears of sorrow and joy.
In the beginning of the film, the main characters of the movie are riding around bored with nothing to do, being that at the time African American pilots were not sent out on missions like the others. From time to time they would run into Germans who has had bypassed other units, which gave them the opportunity to perform a bit of target practice. In the midst of these trial runs, a power struggle began to ensue between two pilots Lightning and Easy (Nate Parker, David Oyelowo). Lightning is that guy who loves to destroy anything in his path, while Easy is the one who is in control, but has flaws of his own which in this case turns out to be alcohol. An uproar would later arrive in the film that nearly drove these two apart when one of the fellow’s airmen almost meets death. One of the standout stars of the movie would definitely have to be Tristan Wilds who plays Ray Gannon, a young kid who wants to get out of the shadow of his father and become his own man. Wilds appears to have a bright future ahead of him in Hollywood.
Another major aspect of this story is the fact that the Tuskegee experimental program is in danger of being shut down. Many believed the airmen were inferior and therefore were hesitant to send them on missions, but soon were convinced to be given a chance, thanks to the support of an African American higher up played by Terrence Howard. This film also features Cuba Gooding Jr., Ne-Yo, and Marcus T. Paulk.
Once given the chance to prove themselves, the Tuskegee airmen show other pilots that they have the ability to succeed on an even level playing field. Even though race is a definite factor in the movie, it is not beaten with a wooden stick. Although, there are several scenes that are heavily weighed by racism. The film throughout is less talk, more action.
Red Tails is definitely a film that should be on your schedule for this week if you have not had the pleasure of viewing it yet, especially with Black History Month just around the corner. While I doubt, that it will get many or any nominations for an Oscar, the film goes a long way in proving that movies featuring African American casts can be successful if given the opportunity. This film proves that anything is definitely possible and hopefully in the future we will see more films of this caliber released nationwide.
Rating: 4/5 stars