Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Review: "Stealth" Has Plenty of Cool Moments (Happy B'day, Richard Roxburgh)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 123 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux

Stealth (2005)
Running time:  121 minutes (2 hours, 1 minute)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense action, some violence, brief strong language, and innuendo
DIRECTOR:  Rob Cohen
WRITER:  W.D. Richter
PRODUCERS:  Mike Medavoy, Laura Ziskin, and Neal H. Moritz
EDITOR:  Stephen Rivkin

SCI-FI/ACTION/THRILLER with elements of war

Starring:  Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx, and Sam Shepard, Joe Morton, Richard Roxburgh, David Miller, and Wentworth Miller (voice)

The subject of this movie review is Stealth, a 2005 science fiction and action thriller from director Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious, xXx).  The film follows three pilots, who are part of a top-secret military program, and their struggle to control an artificial intelligence used to operate a robotic stealth aircraft.

Lt. Ben Gannon (Josh Lucas), Kara Wade (Jessica Biel), and Henry Purcell (Jamie Foxx) are three Navy pilots deeply ensconced in a top-secret military program that tests the next generation in fighter jets, the Talon.  The trio tests their Talons in preparation for strategic air strikes against terrorists and their leaders, and the strikes have to be dead perfect in order to absolutely minimize collateral damage, i.e. civilian deaths.  However, the pilots are saddled with a fourth jet; called EDI (voice of Wentworth Miller), the jet is unmanned, and is instead run by an artificially intelligent computer.  After being struck by lightning, EDI really develops a mind of its own and begins choosing its own targets.  Gannon, Wade, and Purcell must stop EDI before he/it starts a world war.

Rob Cohen, the man who directed The Fast and the Furious and xXx, brings us Stealth, and if The Fast and The Furious and Top Gun had a sci-fi baby, Stealth would be it.  Although the script by W.D. Richter borrows heavily from films such as the aforementioned Top Gun and also 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stealth is pure fun, packing all the eye-popping, adrenaline-rush, video game style action movie thrills of Cohen’s earlier films.  The dialogue is lame, and the acting is suspect, very much so at the beginning (don’t look for Jamie Foxx to come anywhere near the magic of his Oscar-winning performance in Ray); however, by the time we reach the middle of the film the cast is deep into action movie mode, spouting lines of intense dialogue and emoting just the way they should for a military thriller.

Stealth may be a throwaway summer action blockbuster, but like films such as Con Air, Face/Off, and Cohen’s other hit action flicks, this movie delivers, and it looks great on the big screen.  The jet flight sequences and battle scenes are thrilling; if you really dig such movies, this is a must see on the big screen.  Some may say that Stealth plays lightly with the consequences of dropping bombs on civilian populations and jets shooting missiles down from the sky, but this vicarious thrill is some of the best fun one can have at war games with nothing more than your eyes and neck strained or hurt.  Think of this as The Fast and the Furious of near future air combat, and sit back and enjoy the ride because Stealth can cure most any need for speed.

7 of 10

Updated: Wednesday, January 01, 2014

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