Directed by Anthony Hemingway
“Men this proud—and a tale this heroic—deserve a better movie,” said Amy Biancolli in the San Francisco Chronicle. “All the components” of a rousing tribute to World War II’s Tuskegee Airmen are present here: “a big budget, an appealing cast, a George Lucas producing credit, and fancy visual effects.” What’s missing, sadly, is “any hint of realism.” Long a dream project of Lucas’s, the film stars Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr. as leaders of an all-black unit of U.S. Army pilots who flew combat missions in Europe. The aerial sequences are thrilling enough, said Stephanie Zacharek in Movieline.com. “Watching those planes swoop and skim through the air, sometimes flying in ballet-like formation, at others approximating a chaotic street fight, is the greatest pleasure the movie offers.” But Lucas and company are so inept at handling characters on the ground it’s as if they’re “simply afraid of human feeling.” So much drama might’ve been found in the entrenched racism these men overcame, said Claudia Puig in USA Today. Instead, this “clichéd and leaden story” barely skims the surface of a history we all should be more familiar with.