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Bad Movie Tuesday: Red Tails

June 26, 2012
Bad Movie Tuesday: Red Tails

By: Sweet Sugar

Rating:  D (saved only by stunning aerial fighting)

Synopsis:  Well, at least we still have Glory.

What to watch instead:The good 1995 PBS movie “The Tuskeegee Airmen” with Lawrence Fishburne and Malcolm Jamal-Warner (Yes, Malcolm Jamal-Warner)

I can see how it’s challenging to tell a story about a group of beloved Americans like the Tuskeegee Airmen. On one hand, the studio could stick to history, plot and character development for a narrower audience, or on the other hand, dumb it down for a mass audience and make it merely “based on true events” in an effort to tell the world about these heroes. 

However, paying tribute by making a one-dimensional, by-the-numbers movie will fail to bolster any legacy, especially when the real story is far better than any quasi-fictionalized version of the story.

In the style of the Movies Films & Flix crew, we try to keep things positive ……… but, Cuba Gooding Jr’s (CGJ) acting is such an abomination that a rant is justified. For example, the director gave him a pipe to aggressively chew on in every scene so that CGJ could appear (pretend) to be a grizzled war veteran.  They could have casted Dolph Lundgren as his character and it would have been less comical.

Whenever a bad movie is being made with elements of racism/prejudice in the military, it’s mandatory that CGJ is cast. See Men of Honor (43% Rotten Tomatoes) or Pearl Harbor (25% Rotten Tomatoes).  CGJ’s role was none other than to play CGJ.  I’m surprised he wasn’t cast to play the Navajo soldier alongside Nic Cage in Windtalkers (33% Rotten Tomatoes), which was another WWII dud that dealt with the ugliness of racism.

The actors tried hard to make this work, but weren’t given much to work with.  Each was assigned a single personality trait.   The Germans were also one dimensional-evil as they talked slowly with thick scowls while ominous evil music played.

Here’s the breakdown of the Tuskeegee cast. They had the …

         The guy who gave defiant, impassioned speeches

         The troubled leader

         The “Maverick”

         The kid

         The comedian

         The martyr

Now, some examples of the corny dialogue:

“We didn’t lose a single plane. Wow, that’s a first!”-  White Pilot # 1

“I hope we meet up with those Red Tails next time!”- White Pilot #2

“Wow, these guys are good.” – White Pilot # 3

“They’re not chasing glory and they’re staying here to protect us?” – Probably White Pilot #2

In conclusion, don’t watch this movie. Read about the Tuskeegee Airman instead.

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