George Lucas was trying to get this film made since the 1970s. No Hollywood producer would touch it, according to Lucas, because there were no prominent roles in the story for a white A-list actor.
Finally the director decided to ante up and pay for the film himself. It’s a worthy subject, but all of those years the script spent marinating in rejection caused some damage. It’s rumored that seven screenwriters attempted to tell the story of “Red Tails” and, as a result, the film is an outstanding example of too many cooks in the kitchen. It’s been reduced to a boilerplate story, feigning all the moves of a typical Hollywood adventure film and thereby sacrificing the chance to portray fully drawn characters. Each character represents an action movie stereotype:?The devil-may-care rogue who always breaks the rules, the uptight team leader who’s about to self-destruct, the innocent who’s doomed to die — they’re all there. Director Anthony Hemingway didn’t want this to be a movie purely about race, but in trying to tell a great story about these heroic men, he lost the heart that would propel this movie to greatness.
Based on the true story of the Tuskegee Airmen, “Red Tails” follows a crew of African-American pilots doing flight missions in Europe during World War II. Relegated to providing only minimal assistance in key maneuvers, the Red Tails push the U.S. military to allow them to test their metal in direct air combat with the Germans.