Red Tails

Rated 2.0

Executive producer George Lucas went on The Daily Show and quickly disclaimed the new movie he’s been developing for 23 years as “very patriotic, very jingoistic, very old-fashioned, corny,” before even saying what it’s about. That seemed telling, as was Lucas’ suggestion that because studios can’t brook a big movie with an all-black cast he bankrolled this one himself. It’s about the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first group of black military aviators, who gallantly battled with Nazis in foreign skies and with racial segregationists on home ground. It’s also a clunky homily and a waste of talent—sodden, overlong and seasoned by weirdly lifeless, presumably post-production-dubbed dialogue right out of a Star Wars prequel. The cast includes Nate Parker, David Oyelowo, Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr. The director is Anthony Hemingway and the writers are John Ridley and Aaron McGruder, who otherwise have some good credits between them, but apparently also a mandate of mediocrity pressing down on them from on high.