Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Nate Parker
Directed by Anthony Hemingway
George Lucas has been obsessed for decades with telling the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, African-American aviators who fought with distinction for the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II, despite racial discrimination that often reduced their roles to bomber escorts. It's a hell of a tale, a Star Wars based in historical fact. But executive producer Lucas, in tandem with director Anthony Hemineway (The Wire, Treme), half botches the job. The flying sequences are electric – the pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group painted the tails of their planes red, hence the nickname "Red Tails" – though relying too heavily on computer technology and musical rah-rah. It's the plot that sends the film hurtling to earth where officers, played by Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr., bark orders and plot points, Among the actors Nate Parker is a standout as a squad leader. But you leave Red Tails thinking of what might have been instead of what is – a missed opportunity.