Remember those old black and white World War II movies?
Red Tails follows a similar pattern, except this action-packed movie is in color, with terrific camera work and a cast of African Americans playing the roles of the Tuskegee Airman, "colored" fighter pilots who played a vital role in the war.
There are many realistic scenes fought in the sky, as the brave, dedicated men earn their stripes, starting as a support group and given hand-me-down planes because the brass didn't think they were smart enough to fight the Germans.
Resentment builds up among the men of the 332nd, and they are finally given the chance to go head to head with the German pilots. Their success and courage was finally recognized and they went on to play a major role in WWII.
We do have a few stereotypes, as there were in the old movies, including the scared rookie, the devil-may-care rebel, the alcoholic and the determined squad leader. Good performances by veteran actors Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr., plus a number of unfamiliar faces, make this an exciting action movie filled with interesting and sympathetic characters.
Red Tails, named for the color they painted on their new planes, is a true tribute to the African American soldiers who overcame much prejudice and earned their right to be called heroes. It is a fine tribute to the 332nd.
Rated PG-13, with some profanity and some violent war scenes. It is a part of our history that we should not forget and an important history lesson for our children.