Red Tails

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: +1

Nate Parker, David Oyelowo, Terrence Howard, Brandon T. Jackson, Ne-Yo. WWII action/drama. Written by John Ridley, Aaron McGruder. Directed by Anthony Hemingway.

FILM SYNOPSIS: As the war in Europe continues to take its toll on Allied forces in 1944, the Pentagon brass has no recourse but to consider unorthodox options -- including the untried and untested African-American pilots of the experimental Tuskegee training program. Just as the young Tuskegee men are on the brink of being shut down and shipped back home, they are given the ultimate chance to show their courage. Against all the odds, with something to prove and everything to lose, these young airmen take to the skies to fight for their country - and the fate of the free world.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Based in part on research material from the book, "Red Tails Black Wings" by John Holway, Iím not sure how closely the film follows actual incidents. You know how movie biographies can be Ė they tend to embellish or leave out facts depending on the filmmakerís agenda. Because the studio screened this film the night before it opened, I was unable to do much research before my review was due (Could that be the reason why the studio waited until the night before the movie opened?). So, all I can do is give my impression of the production. Itís up to you to do the actual fact-finding.

The opening scene is a dogfight where American forces are beaten badly and in need of support. The scene is badly staged, with clumsy dialogue and performances. That worried me. I thought for sure we were in for a movie with nothing going for it but an agenda. Well, there is an agenda - to show how Blacks were mistreated and dismissed as inferior and undependable. But quickly, the film becomes more than a history lesson. We get involved with the characters, and begin to understand their plight.

Out of desperation, the men of Tuskegee are called upon and they prove their ability as pilots and men. Once this is understood, many White military begin to see through their own bigoted blindness. So there is a lesson here: once we get to know people, we begin to understand that there is no inferior race. In the Bible, it says, ďFor God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.Ē Well, if God loves everybody, then they are all special in his sight. Iím thinking that indicates there are no inferior people. But along with that truism, it still takes getting to know one another to begin appreciate our similarities, as well as our differences. The film points that out.

It can be a touch preachy, but the sermons are saved by a genuine and charismatic cast. Each has their moment to shine, and like the warriors they portray, we feel the actors share camaraderie.

Over the years, Iíve seen quite a few war films that indicated the bravery, compassion and the uniqueness of the American soldier. Sadly, there are few films that spotlight this quality in men of color. There are some, just not that many. Red Tails does. Itís a positive film that after spotlighting bad behavior ultimately unites us all as Americans.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
20th Century Fox

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: There are many minor expletives Ė damns and hells Ė and a few uses of the s-word, but the film generally avoids crudity or excessive obscenity.

Profanity: I caught two uses of the expression ďGod d---,Ē one by Terrance Howard, which I hated hearing because Iíve been a fan of his for years; and Christís name is misused two or three times, but there is also a reverence for God in the film.

Violence: Wartime battles, and men are killed, but the action stays within the PG-13 range, avoiding graphicness. Some blood, but again, the filmmaker keeps the content within the PG-13 range.

Sex: One sex scene is implied, but nothing is seen and the couple later decide to get married.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Some drinking; the leader of the group has a problem with alcohol, going so far as to drink before missions, but he beats the problem.

Other: Prayers are spoken and men of faith are not ridiculed.

Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Up

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