In 1944, Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African American pilots in Italy made a lot of success for the United Stated by protecting bomber planes during missions. The fact is these men were brave and essential factors to winning World War II. This movie takes a story that should already be dramatic and hams it up making it needlessly cheesy. Not that I don’t mind cheese in my movies some times. But this is just bad. The dialogue is rotten. The characters are painfully one dimensional and there is a romance so forced that you’d think George Lucas actually put it in there simply to annoy us.
The story follows a squadron of pilots in the Tuckegee experiment. They are all written in the most cliché “war movie” stock characters you can find. You have:
The religious nut (Who believes in “Black Jesus” I might add. Going so far as to keep a picture of him; but I digress).
The angry guy who only plays his own rules
The tough leader who has confidence in the men.
Plus, since this is a Lucasfilm production set in WWII don’t forget the cartoonish Nazi stereotype. The scar face glaring gargoyle of a man that wants nothing more than to drink the blood of his enemies and sleep in Valhalla upon the skulls of those he has vanquished. The characters give no gravitas to the scenes they are in. When best friends die they just look like someone dinged their car with a shopping cart and yell an expletive. The worst thing is that everything said in this movie is a quip. After every plane is shot every airman has to say some stupid funny line like it’s going to be printed on a shirt one day.
Like I mentioned earlier the characters are all stock cliché characters that you can find in any war movie. They have brought nothing new to the table. If only the director gave a crap about making something even halfway decent they should have maybe attempted to follow the story from maybe one man’s perspective. Maybe you could see these people as he does and grow to care about them rather then get several different plots ranging from bombing runs to an escape plot out of Stalag 18.
There is also a romance between “Lightning”, one of the airmen, and an Italian girl named Sophia. They fall in love with all the stupid banal chatter you would expect in a Lucas movie. Out of the blue she tells him she loves him and it’s almost as if he forgets his lines. What the hell? Next time they are together he asks her to marry him and she says she has to think about it. I expected him to make up a line about hating sand. It’s stupid and pointless and adds nothing but filler to the movie which is already pretty emotionally lackluster.
The only good thing about it is that the dog fights look pretty cool. However, since it’s all CGI you may as well be watching the cut scene from a videogame. There is no sense of reality to any of the explosions and the threat is not really there. The whole time I know no matter how neat it is I am essentially watching a cartoon. I really just didn’t get into it. The movie was dull and cliché and really think it wasn’t worth it at all. I can’t possibly recommend this. I am sure it meant well during the writing process but it failed when it came to completion.