Red Tails is about the performance of the black World War II pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen, but for us it is a WW II film that is filled with old fashion heroes who are flawed but come through in the end.
With nick names like Easy, Junior, Joker, Winky, Neon, and Sticks the pilots want greater challenges for their unit rather than what appears to be simple safe assignments with used fighter planes. Convinced they can do better Terrence Howard their Colonel fights for better equipment and bigger battles to fight.
The negative ethnic insults the Red Tails face appear to be more gentle than the reality during the forties in the American Army, and the eventual respect comes far too easy, but that is part of what makes the film enjoyable. This is a film that could have been about any flyers committed to victory during that time in American history. It was a simpler time for films and this script brings us back to that easier time on the screen when even a flawed flyer could become the hero.
When one of the Tuskegee Airmen begins to call upon a local Italian girl, Sofia played by Daniela Ruah her mom is fine with the relationship but sits between the two when he arrives to visit. The story also confirms that a kiss is still a kiss, even when the shadow of Lt Cable from South Pacific is on the horizon.
While some higher ups have little faith in the airmen, others constantly advocate for the group. The resistance in this case is attributed to their ethnic background, but it feel just like so many films of that period, someone or a some group is not respected but they prove their value, it's simple but it works.
Special effects are so prevalent today but here they are not dominate, just effective at the right time when battles are engaged, probably most effective is the destruction of a train shot up by the pilots.
The character of the pilots range from a chance taker, he uses the new planes like a kid today uses a computer, and another plays it safe and used liquor as a crutch, at the same time one is an engineer and another is planning a career in the law. We expect the life style of each one will face challenges as battles become more dangerous and critical.
The film is a little too squeaky clean, but so what, the painted red tails gain respect just like the misunderstood cowboy in the golden age of the western and make it easy for us to enjoy their adventure and their place in history.