Red Tails is a good movie, not a great one. If you are expecting a sweeping historical epic that takes you on a heart-racing journey, this isn't that. If you are expecting a pivotal snapshot of an important moment in Black History a la Malcolm X, this ain't that. Red Tails is an aptly-written, beautifully filmed enjoyable two hour movie. Period.
For those who don't know, Red Tails is about the Tuskegee Airman training program. The film was written by Aaron McGruder (The Boondocks) and John Ridley (U Turn, Three Kings, Undercover Brother). Anthony Hemingway (Ali, Changing Lanes, The Wire) directed the film. George Lucas executive produced this movie and felt so strongly about it, he wrote a personal check for upwards of $50 million when he couldn't get a studio to back the project.
I will admit, I felt compelled to support the movie after bitching about the TPization of the film industry and lamenting about "where have all the black films gone?" time after time. I have no desire to see Madea Flies Jets or Why Did I Get Married 6. So BougieMom and I hit the Studio Movie Grill for Friday's matinee.
The movie started off slow but picked up. Transitions between scenes weren't clear and you weren't 100% sure how much time passed from one movie moment to the next. You got the feeling that there was some stuff on the cutting room floor that might have filled in a blank or two. The dialogue had its moments, the cinematography and special effects were awesome, and you did find yourself engaged with the characters on the screen. No shocks, a few thrills, a few heart string pulls and a chuckle or two sums it up. If the story has a fatal flaw, it's predictability. Ya kinda knew what was gong to be said and done before it happened.
About the acting... I'm not a Terrence Howard fan. But this role was his least irksome in a while. I have a few issues with Cuba Gooding Jr but say what you will about dude (Snow Dogs, really son?) - his niche is playing that All-American character who delivers a catchy line and moves the story forward. Nate Parker played troubled squad leader Easy without much depth though David Oyelowo played hotshot pilot Lightning convincingly. To me, the surprise of the cast was Ne-Yo, playing a character named Smokie. He was surprisingly adept with comedic timing that stole many a scene. Andre Royo (Bubs from The Wire) was completely underutilized in his role as airplane mechanic.
The movie ended somewhat abruptly but still left you with the warm fuzzy wrapped up in a pretty bow. Overall, I give this movie 3.5 stars out of 5. It won't knock your socks off but doesn't leave you angry that you wasted your time and money. Not an instant classic but worth a look. Just one bougie chick's opinion.
In short, I liked it. Didn't love it, but liked it. BougieMom loved it (love, love, loved it) as did the others of her generation in the theater. The matinee was sparsely attended but when we walked out, the line was out the door and the ticket takers were already announcing that the next three shows of the night were sold out. Good for them.
Will you see (have you seen) it, BougieLand? Why or why not or what did you think? (no spoilers, please!)