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Perhaps the movie's most surprising feat? Somehow, the darned thing mostly works, probably because its heart is in the right place.
As long as it stays in the air, Red Tails is a compelling sky-war pageant of a movie. On the ground, it's a far shakier experience: dutiful and prosaic, with thinly scripted episodes that don't add up to a satisfying story.
Red Tails is entertaining. Audiences are likely to enjoy it. The scenes of aerial combat are skillfully done and exciting.
There isn't a real, flesh-and-blood figure in the bunch. Everything about Red Tails - the breaking down of racial barriers, the military achievements, the courage and sacrifice - is diminished in the process.
Red Tails squanders a great subject, reducing the real-life struggles and fierce heroics of the Tuskegee Airmen to rickety cliche.
The Hollywood Reporter
Every character here is so squeaky-clean, and the prejudice as depicted is so toothless and easily overcome, that the film feels like a gingerly fantasy version of what, in real life, was an exceptional example of resilient trail-blazing.
The A.V. Club
The aerial sequences look an awful lot like X-wing-versus-TIE-fighter battles and the effects have the same not-quite-solid feel of the Star Wars prequels. When the heroes crash, they go up in blazes of digital glory that seem just as artificial as the plotting that brought them to their fates.
So narratively old-fashioned it creaks.
George Lucas served as executive producer for this effects-heavy action film about the Tuskegee Airmen, and it feels as synthetic and dull as "The Phantom Menace."
New York Daily News
George Lucas produced this candy-coated, fictionalized drama, and while its cast is first-rate and its flying sequences sharp, the movie is as glazed and wide-eyed as a 70-year-old comic book.
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