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Friday, January 20, 2012

Red Tails is A Fantastic Remake of "Top Gun for Grayheads"

Click on "Red" in the title to read Harry's story about when he met the REAL Tuskegee Airmen

Red Tails is an action war movie about black fighter pilots in World War II.

Here you see a Red Tail P-51 shooting down a German Messerschmidt 262 - the first fighter jet.
A real life photo of some of the Tuskegee Airmen in front of an old P-40 Flying Tiger. These guys were Jackie Robinson before Jackie Robinson.

I love movies about flying and World War II. Movies about the little guy or the downtrodden winning out are movies that I cannot turn off. Throw a little bit of history and flavor it with some romance and a pretty girl - you have me in your pocket.

Today is opening day of the movie "Red Tails" - the action packed adventure movie about the real life Tuskegee Airmen. Lulu is at a convention in Dallas all week - and I have been at home nursing a bad cold - flu - step throat - however bad I feel at the moment. I figured Lulu really didn't want to see this - and besides it was opening day - so I went alone and have the rest of my life to brag about seeing the premiere of this fine film.

Simply put - Roosevelt wanted to try an experiment where a group of segregated black college grads would be trained to fly fighters. The service was complete split - black and white - and frankly - it was 1944 - and the US was losing pilots big time. The group fought their way to being some of the finest flyers - having a record of never losing a bomber that they were assigned to protect.

At first they were assigned dumpy old P-40's relics from the early war - lastly they were given our best fighters - the P-51 - to fight against the only jets in the war that were assigned to protect Berlin.

If John Wayne were black - he would have been the leading character in this movie and it would have been made 50 years ago. Since he wasn't - and we didn't have the computer graphic design that we have now - we had to wait until now - and I am glad they did.

George Lucas was working on this project for almost 20 years. He claimed that he was waiting for the computer generated graphics to come of age - but really I think he was waiting for someone to help fund it. Since none of the studios wanted to touch it - either because of cash or racism - Lucas opened his own pocket and risked $57,000,000 of his own money to produce this film.

The Friday night show at 6 PM in Tallahassee was pretty full - and the crowd was about 2/3 black. The crowd support of the heroes was very spontaneous. Some of the monologue might appear a little corny to kids used to more F bombs being tossed than dropped bombs - but this is the way war movies were when I was a kid in the 1950s. There was one or two "S words" dropped - just enough to earn a PG rating - and absolutely no lewd sex scenes. There was one very pretty Italian girl who had the attention of one of the flyers - but she did not have any lines of English in the film - maybe a single word or 3.

The Germans played their part perfectly with blue eyes - blonde hair - and broken English. Most of the flight scenes were computer generated - most of the location shots were done in Croatia - the rest was done in front of a green screen.

The film was 2 hours and it moved smartly. The emotions were roller coastered - with good scene - bad scene - good scene - bad scene - fast - slow - fast - slow.

There are certain films that whenever they come on TV - I stop surfing - and watch the end. Groundhog Day - Private Parts - Billy Elliot - Field of Dreams - Rudy - Tora Tora Tora - Buddy Holly - and Jim Thorpe All-American. This movie can be added to that list and maybe I will not even tell Lulu I went to see it without her and allow her to take me again. I think next time I will go in the morning for senior citizen discount of half price. It had been a long time since I spent $10 on a movie ticket - even for two of us.

In the future I can see this film filling up many hours in American school's history classes. Maybe that is why they let out all the dirty language and sex. I understand they had those two things in the real World War II.

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