RED TAILS: HIT OR MISS??

Posted: January 25, 2012 by Puff in Movies
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

After watching the recent movie Red Tails which starred Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Terrance Howard, I have mixed feelings towards the movie.  Normally I don’t dip into the movie realm for critiques, but do to such major feedback (both positive and negative) figured it was time to share my thoughts yet again. For starters this is in no form meant to deter you away from viewing the movie yourself. In fact I encourage it, in order to openly challenge me. With that being said, I am disappointed.

As a major advocate for African-American history, I came in expecting everything…. unfortunately I got nothing.  First thing that stands out aside from Terrance Howard and Cuba Gooding, Jr. the film does not offer any notable names.  I could live with that, because everyone has to start somewhere. The main actor Nate Parker, the dude from The Great Debaters, is not well-known but up & coming. He did decent in his role as team captain. No real knocks on him. I do have questions about his “drinking problem” , that didn’t really seem to be a ‘problem’… but I blame that on the script not the actor…  EVERYBODY else on other hand including the stars of the movie , should retake some acting classes. I was not impressed or moved by anything Terrance Howard old monotone head did on-screen.  Terrance Howard is supposed to be pleading with the white haters to get his black fighters into the battle.  His feeble attempt of pleading  wouldn’t convince a caterpillar to manifest into a butterfly, let alone rethink prejudice views.  He spoke regular, no emotion, no gripping of the role, no passion for his beliefs.  Aside from the major ” return husbands to their wives, fathers to their kids” speech; I never felt anything.  The entire time I thought anybody could have played this role. Truthfully I would have like for my man Samuel L to have played this part. At least Sam would be yelling about something, flipping tables up, and over acting the angry black man on a mission role. Terrance gave you none of that.

Next on my hit list, is Cuba.  Cuba  was another who gave me nothing.  Aside from smoking a pipe the entire movie, and referring to Terrance Howard as the old man, I can’t remember anything about his character.  ANYBODY could have played this role.  Cuba’s stupid facial expressions, along with an underdeveloped character should have been tossed all the way out.  The character was significant in the greater sense of the Tuskegee Airmen, but not for this movie.  Next I’m coming straight for Neyo, yes the singer. His character thoroughly irritated me.  They gave my man the worst southern accent I ever heard. His role was full of whack one liners, and random banjo playing.  They had Neyo sounding like he just got finished picking cotton, while everyone else sounded decent.  Furthermore Neyo should never be seen without a hat… EVER!!  Miles from Moesha, I had questions about him ever being a real actor.  My man sounded like he was reading from the teleprompter, not acting. Everybody else is not known enough to dissect. I can’t tell if it was the script itself or the actors, but there was a no character depth at any point in this movie.  Nobody jumped off the screen that made me connect to the movie, nor the storyline.  The writing was quite poor, often times making me laugh more than anything. Throughout the movie, I just felt like everyone was stretching for that laugh or that one good line. The character of “Lighting” which is the typical hot head superstar; found in every black movie. You know the person who over cocky, doesn’t really listens, show boats, and finds random cooch to fall in love with. Yea that guy, he showed face in this movie. He was known for making poor judgement calls, wanting to be the man, show boating, all that normal things you see.  Even with all that said, I still never caught myself ‘caring’ about his character much. Something that did manage to strike up, is mysterious love connection between his character and a random Italian woman.  Mysterious because they weren’t ever speaking the same langauge, BUT SOMEHOW managed to become deep lovers. Thumbs down to all of that, I’m sorry I came to see something of substance… NOT A LOVE STORY.

“Something of substance,” I expected more history of things these African-American pioneers went through, not love story, bum old air fight there.  I think that was completely lost, these men went through hell, but continued to fight for something.  I personally didn’t get that from this movie at all. This took place during one of the most hostile periods of  worldwide racism and prejudice, for the writers to barely touch on it SHOCKS me.  Most people are not even aware of the original HBO movie Tuskegee Airmen,  which starred Laurence Fishbourne, Malcolm Jamaal Warner, and David Allen Payne.  I actually watched this one well before the Red Tails movie.  This movie was very catching, and had me dialed in with every character from beginning to end. I think it did a great job of going through every angle in which these great men had to overcome.  I believe that is the only reason Cuba was in this movie, because he was a part of the 1995 HBO make.  Red Tails does not compare to that movie at all, sadly I expected it to be amazing 16 years later with George Lucas in the mix.  I was told to view it just from air fighting movie action movie.  Even with that notion in my head it leaves much to be desired.  The fight scenes were just ok, they were alright maybe? There was nothing that made me feel like ” cool effects, good move, that was nice.” So that three for three in the LOST department.  Acting lose,  storyline lose, and graphics/visuals lose.  I hate to be so harsh on a movie that meant well, but I believe more could have been done.  My blackness will not allow me to completely bash this joint and say its trash, so I guess it gets half a thumb up. I encourage everyone to go watch to tell me their thoughts, I welcome the discussion. Hey you might not believe me, or feel different. For me personally I would say watch The Tuskegee Airmen movie from 1995 after you watch Red Tails.  Compare and contrast, meanwhile I will be looking to see if Terrance Howard breaks his monotone acting; or if Cuba plays a role worth me seeing.

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Comments
  1. CMrok93 says:

    The dogfights are fun but everything else is filled with corniness, lame acting, predictable story arc, and moments where the film feels like a video-game rather than based on a true story. A great story to be told, but told in a very poor way. Good review right here though.

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