drama DVD and movie reviews and previews from curledupdvd.com - curled up with a good dvd
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Red Tails - drama DVD / biography DVD / true crime DVD review
RED TAILS Rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 3 stars

Actors: Cuba Gooding Jr., Gerald McRaney, David Oyelowo, Terrence Howard, Nate Parker

Director: Anthony Hemingway   Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD release: 22 May 2011   Runtime: 125 minutes (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD Features: Aspect ratio 2.40:1, Audio tracks (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - English; Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo - Spanish, French), Subtitles (English, French, Spanish), Highlight reel from Blu-ray documentary

Natasha Richardson as *Red Tails*"Damn those glory grabbin' bastards!" shouts the bomber pilot as his fighter escort peels off to engage German pilots in Anthony Hemmingway's Red Tails. It doesn't bode well when a movie's opening scene tries to hook us with such wooden exposition. The white fighter pilots are hoping to put more tic marks on the sides of their planes, leaving the bombers they are supposed to protect exposed to enemy fighters. The bombers fall in great numbers.

Natasha Richardson as *Red Tails*Red Tails is an action film about the famed Tuskegee Airmen - black fighter pilots who, despite the prejudices leveled against them, served with distinction. Red Tails excels at the scenes involving arial dog fights, though these are punctuated with shots of German pilots barking evilly into their mics to their comrades. That would be fine and acceptable in a 1940s-era war drama in which the enemy needed to be vilified to help sell war bonds and bolster patriotic fervor. In a time when Germany is no longer our enemy, it just doesn't work.

Natasha Richardson as *Red Tails*The non-air scenes are acceptable but somewhat formulaic war fodder, with the expected scenes of racial discrimination. One pilot--Joe 'Lightning' Little (David Oyelowo)--falls in love with an Italian girl with whom he cannot converse outside of an awkward pantomime. Marty 'Easy' Julian (Nate Parker) has a drinking problem, and Ray 'Junior' Gannon (Tristan Wilds) hopes to shed his Junior monicker in favor of 'Ray Gun.' In the war room, Colonel A.J. Bullard (Terrence Howard) argues that his 332nd Fighter Group should be allowed to do some work in the war against on obstinate Colonel William Mortamus (Bryan Cranston), who believes that a black man is obviously incapable of flying a plane.

Despite all the pieces that stand against it, Red Tails is a fun film with plenty of action to appeal to any viewer (except perhaps those of German origin). The wooden performances in the opening scene loosens up, the evilly barking Germans become less obvious as the film moves forth, and the bits of real story lurking beneath the glitzy facade take hold. It's not a bad film. It could have been better, and certainly should have been better scripted.
reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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