Red Tails Reviews

Top Critic
Tom Huddleston
Time Out
June 6, 2012
There's no sense of threat or danger: this is a film with its head stuck firmly in the clouds.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Leah Rozen
TheWrap
March 2, 2012
Sadly, Red Tails tells its inspiring story in the most old-fashioned, Saturday-afternoon-at-the-movies kind of way. The movie occasionally flies but it never soars.
Top Critic
Ben Sachs
Chicago Reader
January 23, 2012
This is so generic as storytelling that it fails even as a basic history lesson: it's hard to believe that the stock conflicts on-screen have any connection to real events.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
January 21, 2012
One can get away with a lot of cornball speeches a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away but it doesn't work nearly as well a short time ago on planet Earth.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Eric D. Snider
Film.com
January 21, 2012
Red Tails is better than nothing - but "nothing" isn't the other option. That HBO film is still out there, and Red Tails doesn't add to it or improve upon it.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
January 20, 2012
Instead of pride or anger or resolve, all it left me feeling was a little bit of regret that I hadn't been home, watching "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" instead.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Kevin C. Johnson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
January 20, 2012
The battle scenes soar, thanks to top-notch and thrilling special effects. Quieter scenes give characters added dimension, such as those that address one officer's drinking problem.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
James Adams
Globe and Mail
January 20, 2012
Red Tails is a lousy film. Not wincingly bad, mind you, just mediocre.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
January 20, 2012
The Tuskegee Airmen were serious heroes, on a number of levels. They deserve a serious movie. "Red Tails" is not that movie.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
Top Critic
Mark Jenkins
Washington Post
January 20, 2012
The African American fliers' great achievement merits a great movie. "Red Tails" isn't it.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
January 20, 2012
An inspiring, rousing tribute to the heroic, history-changing Tuskegee Airmen and World War II movies of the '40s, "Red Tails'' would probably be acclaimed as a minor masterpiece if it was directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Amy Biancolli
San Francisco Chronicle
January 19, 2012
The Tuskegee Airmen, the trailblazing African American pilots who fought off segregation and Nazis during World War II, merit a great film. "Red Tails" isn't it.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
January 19, 2012
It's only half of a good movie. As soon as those dogfighting planes land, the story trips up by skimming the surface of history.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
January 19, 2012
"Red Tails'' has its moments. They've just gone too far in the other direction. The movie is so desperate to be palatable, to appeal to everybody that it doesn't taste like anything.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
January 19, 2012
It's antiquated kitsch reprocessed by the producer's nostalgia for the movies of his boyhood.
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
January 19, 2012
[It] sets out to honor these heroes, and does so - but in ways that reduce their achievements to the stuff of cartoons.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
January 19, 2012
"Red Tails" has genuine admiration for the sacrifices and achievements made by the Tuskegee Airmen, but they deserve a better commemoration than this.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Mary F. Pols
TIME Magazine
January 19, 2012
A feature film that falls much closer to the goofy Hogan's Heroes in the spectrum of World War II-focused productions than Saving Private Ryan.
Top Critic
Randy Cordova
Arizona Republic
January 19, 2012
The film's sincerity and good intentions shine through the hokum.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Glenn Kenny
MSN Movies
January 19, 2012
More often than not, Red Tails feels like it's pandering to every focus group that it never even tested... It's so cautious as to be lifeless, which is a shame on a lot of levels.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
January 19, 2012
While its cast is first-rate and its flying sequences sharp, the movie is as glazed and wide-eyed as a 70-year-old comic book.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
January 19, 2012
It's derivative of other World War II movies and entirely mechanical in its appeal. Emphatically mainstream in style and substance, it honors those exceptional fliers but denies viewers a challenging portrait of our own history.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Stephen Holden
New York Times
January 19, 2012
A mildly entertaining classroom instructional about the Tuskegee Airmen.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Peter Debruge
Variety
January 19, 2012
Apart from the occasional thrill provided by CG-enhanced aerial dogfights, this stuffy history lesson about the groundbreaking African-American fighter pilot division never quite takes off, weighed down by wooden characters and leaden screenwriting.
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
January 19, 2012
"Red Tails" squanders a great subject, reducing the real-life struggles and fierce heroics of the Tuskegee Airmen to rickety cliche.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 19, 2012
Substitute 1940s fighters for spaceships, move them closer to Earth, and you have the audience appeal of this movie.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Keith Phipps
AV Club
January 19, 2012
When the heroes crash, they go up in blazes of digital glory that seem just as artificial as the plotting that brought them to their fates.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
January 19, 2012
When Red Tails literally flies, as it often does, it soars. There are more grand aerial battles here than in any of Lucas's space operas.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Hollywood Reporter
January 19, 2012
In the end, it's the flashy action and innate inspirational elements that make a measure of impact here. But you just know there's so much more to this story.
Top Critic
Jake Coyle
Associated Press
January 19, 2012
The biggest flaw here is the corny script by John Ridley and Aaron McGruder, the Boondocks cartoonist. There's a fine, swaggering vibe, but a curious hesitance to really tell the Tuskegee story.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
January 18, 2012
As long as it stays in the air, Red Tails ... is a compelling sky-war pageant of a movie.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Keith Uhlich
Time Out
January 17, 2012
So narratively old-fashioned it creaks.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5