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Movie Review

Red Tails

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sequences of war violence.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Action Adventure War History Drama
Length:
2 hr.
Year of Release:
2012
USA Release:
January 20, 2012 (wide—2,500+ theaters)
DVD: May 22, 2012
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Lucasfilm click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Lucasfilm Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Lucasfilm Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Lucasfilm Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Lucasfilm Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Lucasfilm Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Lucasfilm Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Lucasfilm
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Lucasfilm

RACISM—What are the consequences of racial prejudice and false beliefs about the origin of races? Answer

Racism, Racial Issues and Christianity
Get biblical answers to racial hot-topics. Where did the races come from? How did skin color come about? Why is it important to have a biblical foundation for such issues?

African American fighter pilots in World War II

bravery

Courage has no color.

Tuskegee Airmen

Featuring: Cuba Gooding Jr.Major Emanuelle Stance
Terrence HowardCol. A.J. Bullard
Bryan CranstonMaj. William Mortamus
Nate Parker … Marty ’Easy’ Julian
Joshua Dallas … Ryan
Daniela Ruah … Sofia
Michael B. Jordan … Maurice ‘Bumps’ Wilson
Method Man … Sticks
more »
Director: Anthony Hemingway
Producer: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Lucasfilm
more »
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Lucasfilm

“Courage has no color. High-octane action and daring dogfights!”

The Tuskegee Airmen—African-American men known for their impressive aerial fights, courage, strength and perseverance against all odds. This movie takes us through the lives, the trials, and the tribulations of the men known as the “Red Tails.”

As I sat alone in the theater, I couldn’t help but enjoy watching the lives of many of the Tuskegee Airmen. I wish I could say that I could actually sympathize with what these men were going through, but I couldn’t. However, as the movie progressed I felt I got to know these characters a little better—and what they stood for. They fought against the odds. They fought against discrimination, color, race, all of it. They did what they loved, and fought for what was worth fighting for. This movie helped me come to that realization. From a cinematic perspective, some of the acting needed a little work, just a little. The special effects were unbelievable, to say the least. The music was good, although my only objection with it was that it was too soft for most of the film.

Objectionable material

“Red Tails” contains quite a bit of objectionable material that I feel is worth mentioning, before I recommend anyone seeing this film…

Violence: This movie is rated PG-13 for sequences of war violence, and rightly so. There are multiple scenes of planes being shot out of the sky, explosions, etc. There are also a couple scenes where we see dead bodies on the ground. Lastly, there is a brief bar fight scene.

Profanity: Heavy. I counted two instances of G** D**n, Jesus’ name is taken in vain twice, God’s name three times, “d**n” (17), “sh*t” (5), “a**” (6), “h*ll” (19), “son of a b***h” (3), and “bull sh*t” (1). The terms “b***rds,” “jerrys,” “negros” and the n-word are used. One person mentions to a pilot that he will make him “wear his balls as a necktie.” One pilot tells another pilot, as they are flying, that “she was worth it” (implying, I believe, that he had sex with her).

Sex/Nudity: Mild to Moderate. There are three passionate kisses between one of the characters and an Italian woman. There is a scene where it is implied that one of the pilots slept with an Italian woman (she is seen in her nightgown, he is seen with his shirt off).

I think the main theme that we can take away from a movie like “Red Tails” is the evils of racism. Racism has existed in this country for hundreds of years. God, however, does not look at a person by the color of his skin, his nationality, etc. We are told, by the Bible, not to judge others. 1 Corinthians 4:5 states,

“Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God” (New International Version).

I commend Anthony Hemingway for his direction of “Red Tails.” If you are looking for a film with a ton of action, such as “Mission: Impossible,” this may not be it. However, “Red Tails” takes us through the lives of the Tuskegee Airmen and their importance to U.S. history. In short, “Red Tails” is definitely a film worth seeing. However, I can only cautiously recommend it to teens and adults because of the heavy amounts of violence, profanity, and brief sexuality.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Mild to moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I enjoyed this movie immensely. It was definitely one of the most lighthearted war movies I’ve seen, with only one main character getting killed. Some might argue that the low death count wasn’t realistic enough… but hey! Go see “War Horse,” that’ll sober a person up. The only change I would make is telling us just a little more about the characters’ lives before and after the war.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Kadie Jo, age 19 (USA)
Positive—This was a great movie. As a Black American, I would urge every young person, especially black males, to see this, to get an entertaining historical perspective on the Tuskegee Airmen and how, in the face of obstacles, they strove for excellence to show their strength. I didn’t find anything objectionable about this film—the few cuss words were proper in context and never glorified. There is a romance scene but it is not lingered on, and the man later showed how he morally wanted to make things right. God is definitely glorified, and they seek both protection and strength from Him. It was refreshing to hear a prayer actually mention “In Jesus” name” in a positive manner! It is a war movie so not the best for young kids, but for teenagers and above I would definitely recommend it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Mike B., age 53 (USA)
Positive—As a huge fan of WWII aircraft, I eagerly awaited the release of this movie. I’m so glad that I was not disappointed. In the movie trailers I watched, the Tuskegee pilots prayed together before a mission; that part alone raised my expectations. I did not want to see another movie that just happened to leave out God from a story that had him as a major factor.

As far as historically, this movie is somewhat accurate. Naturally, this was not an exact recreation of the story of the Tuskegee pilots, but the spirit of the story was there. The Tuskegee pilots proved that they possessed the abilities to be fighter pilots, as well as any man could. Just as history tells it, the movie does show that the Tuskegee pilots proved themselves by achieving a record in bomber escort that no other unit has done before. I really love the story of these brave men, and the victory they helped achieve to ensure the freedom of the United States. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Troy Mendez, age 37 (USA)
Positive—The movie came off well. They did not get into the forming of the unit with all the racist problems they faced. However, during the movie they covered it well enough, yet not being too overkill on the subject. After all, they were a bunch of regular GIs—and portrayed as such. No over-done race card thrown out. I liked that. Naturally a George Lucas backed move will also show great special effects and done very authentic.

All young boys should see the movie. I wish the music score was better, but it was adequate. I didn’t think this movie would touch me, but one part got to me. Don’t tell anyone that I needed a tissue a little bit; after all I’m a man. You will get your money’s worth on this one.

I like the men’s dependence on God in this movie, with their prayer. The German jet fighter scenes were well done, too. Hey dads, take your sons to see this, or I’m going to be upset with you.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Robert Garcia, age 64 (USA)
Positive—I really enjoyed this movie, and so did the rest of the theater. Rarely, when I go to a movie, at the end the whole theater starts clapping! The swearing was a little excessive in some scenes, but nothing I couldn’t tolerate. The story line moved well and never bogged down, and the movie has a scene toward the end that can make a grown man cry! All in all, a great movie to catch on a Friday or Saturday night for a guaranteed great show…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Albin T. Wells, age 35 (USA)
Positive—This was a great movie. As a Black American, I would urge every young person, especially black males, to see this, to get an entertaining historical perspective on the Tuskegee Airmen and how, in the face of obstacles, they strove for excellence to show their strength. I didn’t find anything objectionable about this film—the few cuss words were proper in context and never glorified. There is a romance scene, but it is not lingered on, and the man later showed how he morally wanted to make things right. God is definitely glorified, and they seek both protection and strength from Him.

It was refreshing to hear a prayer actually mention “In Jesus” name” in a positive manner! It is a war movie so not the best for young kids, but for teenagers and above I would definitely recommend it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Mike B., age 53 (USA)
Positive—I loved it!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Ethan, age 45 (USA)
Positive—This movie uses words that some may view as offensive, however, the situations that they are in truly justify the words that are used, in my opinion. I rated this as morally excellent because we need to show our children that racism exists, has existed, and always will play a small role, since there are still people who teach their children racism (which I do not support).

The Bible says in Isaiah 40:31 “[… ] but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” These men clearly hoped in the Lord to get them where they were and anyone who says that they haven’t sworn or thought of a bad word when they have stubbed their toe is most likely (99/100 times) lying, because they are a good Christian who doesn’t ever have an evil thought in their head. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Christopher, age 21 (USA)
Positive—The best part of the movie for me was the group prayer scene which started with “Our heavenly Father…” and ended with the words “… In Jesus Name”. That was a pilot’s prayer, and it seemed realistic enough given that the actor praying in the scene was himself a Christian. How many movies have you seen that had something like this?

The special effects were great, although some of the flight models may be suspect (i.e., unrealistic). However, some of the action scenes were unrealistic. For example can a six-0.5inch-Browning-gun P51 take out a German battlecruiser? Can a P51 do that backflip and get on a Me109’s tail in a few seconds? Can three Curtis P-40s take out a heavily defended German airfield, complete with explosions and total destruction?

Some notable scenes: a P-51 crashes lands on the airfield, a German train’s boiler explodes spectacularly, planes fly over beautiful European landscapes. The show is a tribute to the Black African American WW2 fighter pilots, and to the fight against racism. It also gives us a glimpse of the horrors of the airwar over Europe and the brave men who fought them on both sides.

Granted, some swear words were uttered, but the profanity level is low (no F-words) compared to most modern films. Overall I enjoyed the movie because of the real stars—the Red nosed and red tailed P-51s.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Frankie Kam, age 47 (Malaysia)
Negative
Negative—The history in this movie and the storyline of the movie are great. However, I chose this movie not just for the history, but also because I read there was no questionable language in this film. I needed to know before I took my 12 year old son and his friend. To my great disappointment, the film had 2 or 3 uses of God d——and also 1 use of Jesus C——-. To me, this is the worst form of cussing there is, and I would not have paid money to see the film had I known. There was also other mild language, but I don’t find that offensive. There is also one scene where it is obvious that a man and woman had just been in bed together, and they are unmarried, very uncomfortable with boys that age. It’s a shame that a story that should have been honoring to the Tuskegee Airmen had to have those elements in there, otherwise I would have given it very high marks. Watched “Knowing” this week also, and that film proves you can have a very entertaining, great movie without the use of language and sexual content. Wish there were more like that.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jen, age 46 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—I loved the movie! It was amazing! On a scale of 1-10, I’d choose 1000! I am the toughest guy there is, and the end of the movie made me cry. But it was awesome.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jared, age 15 (USA)

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