Saturday, January 28, 2012

Red Tails (2012) - Review

I went into Red Tails knowing nothing about it other than it was a movie about pilots during WWII. I came out of Red Tails pleasantly entertained. It's not a great movie by any means, but it does have a few things going for it, other than just a way to kill a couple of hours.

First off, the film is gorgeous; the visuals are well-done, the dogfights are intense, and the style really reflects the period well. It's worth seeing just for the prettiness of it all. The movie wisely limits its flying sequences, making them all the more exciting and impacting when they do show up. And all the dogfight scenes in the film are very well-shot, full of tension and chaos. But none of the action would mean anything if the characters were unlikable. Honestly the characters are a bit thin; mainly defined by their archetype (the cocky Maverick, the dutiful leader, the young newbie, etc.) but it works. The actors do a good job in providing believable performances for the most part.

That's not to say the movie is devoid of cheesy moments; far from it. There are a lot of really forced, awkward lines. It's hard to tell if it's the acting or the writing, but I'd wager that it's a bit of both. The script is quite sloppy and leaves quite little in the way of resolution at the end of the film. There are also a couple laugh-out-loud cheesy lines to be found in here, and though they're few and far between, they do distract a little bit from the mostly serious nature of the film. But, on the other hand, a lot of the movie seems right out of the 80s, especially the title card. So in this respect, the slight cheesiness works in the film's favor. However it's important to note that this seems like an unintentional cheesiness; certainly not what the filmmakers were going for.

Don't go into this movie expecting a masterpiece, or even a solid movie. It's admittedly entertaining and the action is actually surprisingly intense, but it probably won't hold up on future viewings. It's most likely a one-and-done kind of movie, and that's okay; the world needs those too. So if you need a movie to watch, you could definitely do worse than Red Tails (even if it did show the same trailer three times in the theaters: Spartacus, John Carter, and Wrath of the Titans...they're all the exact same movie). It's a fun ride, if nothing else.

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