Red Tails has all the ingredients to be great – Lucasfilm SFX, an encouraging yet overlooked story from an otherwise overworked genre, and what appears to be an ace cast – but to paraphrase my man Han Solo, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”
But I’m afraid there’ll be an inevitable Jar Jar moment – a character or situation so out of tune with the message or even the plot (thankfully Lucas doesn’t have a writing credit) – that it’ll turd the punchbowl of an otherwise stirring film. I need look no further than this quote for damning concern:
“‘For me, ‘Red Tails’ is like ‘Flying Leathernecks’ (a 1951 aviator picture with John Wayne). It’s corny. It’s uber-patriotic. And it’s a really exciting action-adventure movie.
“As for the racism in our story, it’s embedded in the material, so we just had to be careful not to overdo it.'”
He also put at least $50M of his own money into it, so you just know he’s been meddling with the final cut.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I really want it to be great. But we’ve been here before – notably while waiting in line for Star Wars Episode I: The Death of Your Childhood Franchise.