George Lucas' Red Tails Divebombs With Critics
Despite having George Lucas on board as executive producer, the reviews for Red Tails suggest that his latest big-screen venture has some way to go to reach the legendary status of his previous Star Wars films. Starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard and NATE PARKER, the film focuses on the Tuskegee training programme of African-American pilots that were deployed in World War II.
The respected critic Roger Ebert, whom many use as a human litmus test for the success of a film, took a sideways dig in a review which reads "Substitute 1940s fighters for spaceships, move them closer to Earth, and you have the audience appeal of this movie." The Variety critic, Peter Debruge is similarly critical of the film, saying "Apart from the occasional thrill provided by CG-enhanced aerial dogfights, this stuffy history lesson about the groundbreaking African-American fighter pilot division never quite takes off, weighed down by wooden characters and leaden screenwriting." Hollywood Reporter's Todd MCCarthy was more forgiving, recognizing the film's qualities but saying that the constraints of the movie could not give the historical story enough depth of attention: "In the end, it's the flashy action and innate inspirational elements that make a measure of impact here. But you just know there's so much more to this story."
Overall, the reviews collation site Rotten Tomatoes has awarded the film just 34% and it would seem that despite a quality cast and production team, the corny dialogue & lumpen acting cannot overcome the impressive aerial combat scenes.