Friday, April 20, 2012

3 Short Paragraphs: Red Tails

2012, Anthony Hemingway (a bunch of TV including CSI and Treme) -- cinema

I admit, when I saw the ads for this movie, I was sucked into the cheese. I like heroic movies, I like war movies and it is a nice change of pace to see one that was less gritty-and-realistic and more rah-rah, like they were in the 40s.  I ignored the whole George Lucas connection on this because, as all us geeks know, he really isn't worth any cred these days.  The Tuskegee Airmen is one of those spots in war history that I have bumped into a few times but never absorbed much about, only really knowing they were an all black fighter pilot group who continued to fight racism ever after being deployed to Europe during the war. Accurate historical depiction or not, I hoped for a movie about heroics and dog fights.

I say I was sucked in, but really, I was more suckered. That speech in the trailers where the commander says they are going to provide bomber support and for every plane they save, that is another father going home to his family, another brother, another husband.  They might not be sent out to be true fighter pilots but the support of the bomber divisions was important work and it was the hot shots who were causing the losses as much as the german pilots.  I get that, I like the idea of highlighting the underdog support group.  I am all about the little guys who get the job done so the big guys can perform their tasks. And the whole "to the last bullet... last minute... last man" is stirring.  Too bad the rest of the movie, in it's entirety, fell completely on its face.

I get the ensemble cast for a war movie, different guys from different backgrounds of different temperaments and personalities. It makes a war movie, especially when they gel together for the big goal. But for gawds sake, get some actors who can carry it off.  Let's ignore the guys who cannot separate themselves from being from 2012 but even the guys who were able to live in the history, carried their character's personalities like cardboard standups.  Lines were stilted, unbelievable and left me constantly rolling my eyes.  I could forgive Cuba Gooding's constant pipe chomping if I could believe him as an experienced Major.  Don't get me started on Terrence Howard looking like he was about to cry.  To be honest, the only characters I actually got wrapped up in were Method Man and Andre Royo as the two crewmen/mechanics.  I guess small characters supporting small guys came across well? If they only just saturated the movie with exciting dog fights so we could just ignore our boredom with the actual acting, then maybe, I would have had a more favorable memory of this movie.  Alas, no.