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Film review: ‘Red Tails’

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The Details

Red Tails
Two and a half stars
Nate Parker, David Oyelowo, Terrence Howard
Directed by Anthony Hemingway
Rated PG-13
Beyond the Weekly
Official Movie Site
IMDb: Red Tails
Rotten Tomatoes: Red Tails

He may only be credited as executive producer, but George Lucas is the real driving force behind World War II drama Red Tails. Lucas started developing the idea for a film based on black fighter pilots the Tuskegee Airmen back in 1988, and he shaped the story and even served as an uncredited director on reshoots when director Anthony Hemingway was unavailable.

Red Tails has Lucas’ fingerprints all over it, which means that the aerial battle scenes are exciting and impressive, but the dialogue is hopelessly wooden and on-the-nose. The acting here is at least more fluid than in Lucas’ Star Wars prequels, with Nate Parker and David Oyelowo ably forming the heart of the film as the top two pilots in the unit. The characters are all one-dimensional war-movie stereotypes, though, and the plot is woefully predictable (watch out for one character’s engagement/death wish).

Lucas’ clout may have brought this important story to the screen, but his filmmaking shortcomings keep it from being told effectively.

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