It’s hard to think that George Lucas, the creator of ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Indiana Jones’ would ever go onto a career that involved ‘Howard the Duck,’ ‘the Star Wars prequels,’ and ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.’ In a last ditch effort to put something up on the big screen, Lucas has made his longtime dream project about the Tuskegee Airmen and their courageous battle through war and racism. That movie has turned into ‘Red Tails,’ which by the looks of it has a solid cast consisting of Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, and Bryan Cranston. It also has some impressive visuals in the trailer. How could this movie have gone so horribly wrong? Well despite every effort made into making a great January movie, ‘Red Tails’ is a horrendous, clichéd, generic action movie that had me wanting to leave 10 minutes into it. I truly wanted to like this movie, but everything about it just had me squirming in my seat. ‘Red Tails’ is a very early contender for the worst movie of 2012.
I believe Lucas, who surprisingly only has “Executive Producer” credit on the film, secretly directed and wrote it himself. If you’ve seen the ‘Star Wars’ prequels and then you see this movie, you can probably see why I make this assumption. The dialogue is terrible in this movie. It just sounds like “We may be black, but we can fly in this war” or “That looks like my grandfather’s Buick.” Every line in this film sounded like a terrible 1940s catchphrase that only the idiots of the 21st century could think of. Another reason why I believe George Lucas directed this film is because of some of the set-pieces. There is a scene in this movie where the Airmen are invited into a bar for a few drinks and I could swear to you it’s the same exact set as the Mos Eisley Cantina in the original ‘Star Wars’ movie. Come to think of it, this entire movie is a rip-off of the ‘Star Wars’ movies. The only difference is that this is based on actual events! What a shame. I wish the filmmakers even considered casting solid actors rather than complete unknowns.
The cast of the African American pilots include Nate Parker, David Oyelowo, Ne-Yo, and Method Man. Notice how two of the four of those actors is a music star. All of the actors in this movie alone are all a big cliché. The captain is the guy who always listens to himself and is always pissed at himself in the outcome. The lieutenant is the reckless hero who knows better than the captain and falls in love with a woman. The other airmen are jokers and the source of terrible one liners. I can admit that Oyelowo (the lieutenant) is the best of the characters, but there was no point of his character having a typical love story with a woman he waves to from his plane within the first 10 minutes of the film.
Other than the lieutenant, none of the characters were interesting or cool. Instead they were one dimensional and corny as hell. Even Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard (in supporting roles btw) could save this movie. All Cuba Gooding did in the movie was hold a pipe, put it in his mouth, and then take it out. That’s really all he does in this movie. Terrence Howard is okay I guess, but he’s just a character who says motivational speeches and talks back to Bryan Cranston’s character, whose duration lasts less than 2 minutes. The cast is pretty bad, other than the lieutenant. That doesn’t help the movie’s case at all.
Call me critical, but the biggest problem I had with the movie was the editing. Every time you’d go to a new location, the previous scene would fade into the next one, rather than just the quick cut transition. The transition became so irrelevant and redundant that I squinted every time it happened. Imagine a scene involving a gun battle with epic music, then it fades into a new location with romantic music and the sappy lieutenant love story comes on. That is exactly what happens in this movie, and it happens all too frequently. Whoever was the editor of this film should seriously go to a school for proper editing rather than get hints from George Lucas’ school of making a film. At least there he or she could learn some proper techniques on how to edit up a movie. I also want to say that the flight battle scenes, despite being cool, look fake and are very dumb. People call the visual effects in this movie revolutionary. To that I say, how exactly are these effects “incredible and “revolutionary?” They look like generic CGI effects from the early 2000s for crying out loud. They’re good I guess, but not good enough to help the movie out at all.
It’s a shame that George Lucas is known for defining the Sci-Fi genre, then ruining it 20 years later with the ‘Star Wars’ re-releases and the prequels. I wish he can set his mind to better projects, or just let better writers, editors, and directors make these type of movies where he is only the executive producer. I can honestly say that I HATE this film. My opinion has nothing to do with racism or anything, because I most certainly am not a racist person. I just want to go into a movie and enjoy it. I found every single thing in this movie (except for the lieutenant guy) to be stupid, corny, and just plain bad. The acting was bad, the script was dreadful, and the post production process ruined any intention on seeing a fun historical action film. Actually, this movie has nothing to do with the actual story of the Airmen. If you want to see a good movie about the Tuskegee Airmen, watch the HBO documentary on them, and learn something new and fascinating. George Lucas fans will defend this movie with their lives, but I just couldn’t enjoy this film at all. I’ve only seen three films from the year 2012 so far, and this by far is the worst of them all. ‘Red Tails’ is horrendous, stupid, boring, and an early contender for the worst movie of 2012. (1/2 star)