George Lucas goes into retirement and says goodbye to cinema with Red Tails - not that many will notice. A long-held passion project for The Bearded One, he's on producing duties here while Anthony Hemingway takes up the director's chair. Given the fact that Lucas edited WWII dogfight footage into a rough cut of Star Wars, it's no surprise that he's wanted to tell the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American squadron of WWII. Red Tails follows them in Italy in 1944 as they face racial and military challenges at all levels of the Airforce. Yearning for more challenging targets than German trains, they earn their way to providing protection for bombing runs. It's a very earnest film that does its best not to offend anyone. The underlying theme of racism is only lightly touched upon, while the non-American characters come off as one-dimensional (nasty Germans, friendly Italians). A tentative romance between one pilot and an Italian woman is sweet but naive (this being a war movie, you just know where it's heading). The aerial dogfights are rousing, but the drama on the ground falls flat. There's a better film in here somewhere, but it got lost along the way. It could have been Glory with dogfights, but instead it's passable entertainment.
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