The story of the Tuskegee Airmen has been told onscreen before (ex. HBO’s 1995 Airmen movie) but the famous African-American combat pilot unit will be brought to life in more cinematic and glorious form with Red Tails, a new film produced by Star Wars mastermind George Lucas and helmed by TV director Anthony Hemingway (The Wire, CSI: NY).

Previous trailers for Red Tails have sold the historical war film as a mix of impressive effects work by Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and old-fashioned melodrama. A new, fully-fledged theatrical preview for the movie does nothing but stick to that sales pitch.

While Red Tails appears to lack the stylishly grainy look of previous W.W. II dramas (ex. Saving Private Ryan, Flags of Our Fathers) it does look to recreate the experience of aerial warfare in an innovative, up-close-and-personal, manner… not to mention boast some sick explosive set pieces and battle sequences to boot.

Inspirational or “weighty” speeches are very much a tried-and-true trope of the war movie genre – and, frankly, they tend to be rather hit or miss. So far, though, that sort of drama in Red Tails looks to fall more on the emotionally-stirring (and not heavy-handed or hammy) side, thanks in part to the combination of solid screenwriting and acting talent involved with this project.

Here is an official synopsis for Red Tails, followed by the latest trailer:

1944. As the war in Europe continues to take its toll on Allied forces, the Pentagon brass has no recourse but to consider unorthodox options – including the untried and untested African-American pilots of the experimental Tuskegee training program. Just as the young Tuskegee men are on the brink of being shut down and shipped back home, they are given the ultimate chance to show their courage. Against all the odds, with something to prove and everything to lose, these intrepid young airmen take to the skies to fight for their country – and the fate of the free world.

Red Tails was written by John Ridley (Platinum) and Aaron McGruder (The Boondocks). It stars the likes of Terence Howard (Iron Man), Golden-Globe Nominee Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), David Oyelowo (The Help), Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry Maguire), Nate Parker (The Great Debaters), Tristan Wilds (The Wire), Kevin Phillips (Notorious), Elijah Kelley (Hairspray), Marcus T. Paulk (Moesha), Michael B Jordan (Friday Night Lights), and hip-hop artist Cliff “Method Man” Smith.

Look for Red Tails to soar into theaters around the U.S. on January 20th, 2012.

Source: iTunes Movie Trailers