So like a lot of you, I’m getting geared up to see Red Tails in a couple of weeks. To get my mind ready for that, I went on Netflix Instant this weekend and rewatched A Soldier’s Story for the first time in what must have been 2o years. The trailers already let us know that in terms of action sequences there’s not going to be a contest between the two films. But as far as story goes…the jury is going to be out for a few more weeks. I never wrote about this really good film when I did this blog’s signature list a couple of years back, but it’s never too late to do an honorable mention breakdown. You can search the blog if you aren’t aware/forgot what the five categories stand for:
Relevance: The film is about a black captain going down to Louisiana during World War II to do an investigation of the murder of another black officer, most likely by the Ku Klux Klan. Need I say more?
Legacy: Men of Honor is a great film, and I have a soft spot for Cadence (Oh don’t you know, that’s the sound of the man, working on the chain…ga-a-ang!), but I can’t look at Red Tails without looking at A Soldier’s Story as a direct descendant with its period story and primarily black male cast. Is there a Denzel Washington, a David Alan Grier, a Howard Rollins, a Robert Townsend in the movie about to come out? Could be; time will tell I guess.
Craft: I named four black actors and there’s another five faces you know in this movie as ‘That Guy’ even if you would have to look up their names. The film is based on an off Broadway play, and there’s enough A game in this film to replace the actors who were replaced from the Broadway production.
Crossover: Not much. To this day this is one of those, by us for us films.
Apollo: Outside of the references to the Negro Leagues that definitely went over my head as a kid, I completely forgot Patti LaBelle was in this movie. Doing Patti LaBelle things. And yes, that’s a compliment.
So we’re all on to Red Tails in a couple weeks. The standard has been estabished…