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George Lucas’s Red Tails soars

Published: Thursday, January 26, 2012

Updated: Thursday, January 26, 2012 14:01

On Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, my family and I went to see the newly released movie Red Tails, a movie by famed producer George Lucas (popularly known for Star Wars and Indiana Jones). Red Tails is about the first all-Black fighter squadron in the U.S. Army Air Force: the 332nd Fighter Group, commonly known as "The Tuskegee Airmen."

As a World War II buff and a huge fan of the Tuskegee Airmen, I was excited that another movie was being made about this heroic group of pilots.  

The fact that the film would also feature combat sequences of P-51 Mustang fighters in action added to my enthusiasm.

The P-51, the aircraft the Tuskegee airmen made their name in flying escort for heavy bombers of the 15th Air Force, is my favorite airplane of all time.

However, my excitement was watered down by the apprehension that Lucas might focus too much on the bigotry of some Air Force officials, rather than show the efforts of other officials helping the Tuskegee airmen succeed.  

After watching the trailers for the movie online, I walked into the theatre excited to see some awesome aerial combat sequences, but on guard for ideological lines and scenes.

The movie certainly lived up to its billing.

Not only has Lucas told the story of the Tuskegee Airmen's fight to overcome bigotry, but he balanced the bigotry of the brass with the respect of other high-ranking officers that support the Tuskegee Airmen and their efforts. He exposed all sides of the "experiment" fairly.

The plot is engaging and, for the most part, historically accurate. For example: at the start of the movie, the 332nd is relegated to flying largely inconsequential ground-attack mission in hand-me-down P-40 Warhawk fighters, and they only get their P-51s when they are given bomber escort missions.

The graphics are fantastic. Aside from a minor flaw with the P-51s in the takeoff/landing scenes, the aircraft are rendered so well that it looks like the movie makers actually amassed the hundreds of aircraft that you see in the film.  

The combat scenes are intense and realistic, complete with accurate gun and engine sounds.  

There are only two really obvious flaws to the film.  The first is a somewhat risqué scene with one of this pilots and his girlfriend that is unnecessary to the plot of the movie.

The second is that at the end the film fails to point out the most important achievement of the Tuskegee Airmen: they never lost a friendly bomber to enemy fighters.  No other American fighter group in WWII could boast that achievement.

In conclusion, I would have to say that Red Tails is one of the best WWII movies I have ever seen, and maybe the best movie about the Tuskegee Airmen ever made.  If you are looking for a diversion from the pile of homework you have or simply for entertainment, Red Tails will give it to you!  

I believe everyone should see it because above all the lines and special effects is an important lesson: if you dedicate yourself and work hard, there are no limits to what you can achieve, no matter the obstacles.  


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