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Review Red Tails (2012) and Review The Tusgekee Airmen (1995)

Here I will review two almost completely different movies concerning the same topic. Both movies are based on the true story of The Tusgekee Airmen. 

Review Red Tails (2012) 

genre: action,war,drama

Don't believe the negative reviews on Red Tails.Ignore for a moment that George Lucas produced it and forget that the main characters don't have that star power one would expect to be in a war movie like this. In this case it is quite effective to put in actors that are relatively unknown. Although people might recognize actor David Oyelowo as character Lightning who played Danny Hunter in Spooks. Actor Tristan Wilds and Andre Royo from The Wire are also present. Most of the characters are very likable even when they are portrayed a little superficially or cartoony. The thing is with war movies like this one they tend to dramatize events and accentuate the action parts more than to show us how it really went down. Sure sometimes the things they say or happen to the characters is far to clean, less bloody and gory or politically correct. Then again it would perhaps distract too much if the focus would be gritty realism. If one is looking for a real or accurate account then I suggest reading the history books or watching the documentaries about this topic. However if you like old fashioned action adventures in the vain of Battle of Britain. Then I am sure you will love this one as well.   

Review The Tusgekee Airmen 
(TV Movie 1995)

genre: war, drama

The Tusgekee Airmen tells more or less the same story as in Red Tails only much more detailed. You get a better idea how these men where educated and trained. These weren't the joker types. They were serious and intelligent that had to go above and beyond to prove they deserved the same in becoming fighter pilots. It becomes clearer how big the struggle was for these men. Although also in this version I missed the deepening of the characters. Which is cleverly disguised by excellent actors like Laurence Fishburne, Andre Braugher, Courtney B.Vance and Cuba Gooding Jr. (who also stars in Red Tails as a different character). Honestly this is pure acting violence that none of the actors in Red Tails can compete with. Younger Cuba Gooding Jr. is even better than old self in this TV movie. With the focus on the plot the action is only there to illustrate the events. Also undoubtedly because of budget constraints they were limited in using stock footage for the flight and combat in stead of newly shot scenes. It doesn't matter the impact of the message remains. Some people might find the movie a bit on the melodramatic side. Well, in this case I do think it is justified. I never heard about these African American pilots. And their achievements are extraordinary especially concerning the struggle they had to endure. That struggle is translated into effective melodrama. It was about time that this story was told. Even if it took a big budget movie like Red Tails to introduce me to it. Of the two versions this one is without a doubt the better one since it's message is stronger. But I think both can and should be watched back to back. This one for the plot and Red Tails for the action.

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