This is a must-see movie. It is simply fun and entertaining. It is as George Lucas mentioned in his interview with Jon Stewart. He was unable to tell the whole story of the Tuskegee airmen in two hours. When you think about it, he’s exactly correct. This movie goes into none of how the Tuskegee airmen were formed or the hardships they had before they got over to Europe. This movie starts when they are in Europe. It really focuses on the skill and the camaraderie that these World War II aces had. Racism is not the focus of this movie. Yes, the movie does touch on racism, somewhat. More importantly, the movie, in my opinion, captures what it must’ve been like to be a Tuskegee airman in the early 1940s. Because you were Black, race was a part of your daily life. It didn’t matter if you were an officer. This is captured extremely well in the movie.
Let me take just a second to talk about the special effects. This movie has the best flight and air to air combat sequences that I’ve seen since Top Gun. It is outstanding. It’s clearly a leap forward. You feel like you’re really in the cockpit flying with these guys.
I know that some people worried about a movie containing both Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding, Jr. Don’t worry. The acting is fabulous. They are more than adequate in their roles. Nate Parker (Marty ‘Easy’ Julian) and David Oyeleowo (Joe ‘Lightning’ Little) are outstanding. Their friendship, their camaraderie, really makes the movie. Daniela Ruah (of NCIS – Los Angeles fame) was a pleasant surprise as an Italian civilian and romantic interest. This movie’s script and the cinematography are done with 1940s-type feel. If you made a war movie in the 1940s, there had to be a romantic interest. Someone of substance whom you, as the audience, became attached to, must die. That’s part of the 1940s formula for war movies. This movie follows the same pattern.
This movie is not Malcolm X. It is a war movie. It is about action. It is about the heroes who flew the P 51 fighter planes. If you’re looking for something more, you need to find a different movie. If you’re looking for a movie that is fun, full of action and truly honors the legacy that the Tuskegee airmen left, then this is clearly the movie you need to see. I give this very entertaining movie an A-.