Publicity Stills of "Stealth"
(Courtesy from Columbia TriStar)

Photo by: Jasin Boland

Courtesy Digital Domain and Columbia Pictures.

Courtesy Digital Domain and Columbia Pictures.

Genre: Action/Drama/Adventure
Director: Rob Cohen
Starring: Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx, Sam Shepard, Joe Morton, Richard Roxburgh
RunTime: 2 hrs
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: PG (Clean)
Official Sony Pictures/Stealth Website: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/stealth/index.html

Opening Day: 28 July 2005 (With Sneaks after 4pm on 27 July)


In director Rob Cohen’s exciting action adventure, Stealth, U.S. Navy pilots BEN GANNON (Josh Lucas), KARA WADE (Jessica Biel) and HENRY PURCELL (Oscar® winner Jamie Foxx) are part of a close-knit elite division of test pilots flying highly classified stealth fighter jets, referred to only as Talons.

They’re the best of the best and they know it.

Then their commanding officer CPT. GEORGE CUMMINGS (Sam Shepard) introduces the team to their new wingman — an artificial intelligence-based UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle), nicknamed “EDI.”

Although, Ben is hesitant about taking “the human pilot out of the equation of war,” Cummings orders the team to execute their first real mission alongside “EDI.” To their amazement, “EDI” proves to be a cracker-jack wingman and they successfully eliminate their target. But on the return trip to their base aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. CARL VINSON, “EDI” is struck by lightning. The drone’s brain expands in ways its creators could never have predicted. Despite Ben and Henry’s reservations, Cummings declares “EDI” ready to rejoin the team in the air.

On their next mission against a nuclear-armed warlord in a remote Chinese province, “EDI’s” seriously compromised circuitry problems only get worse. Ben decides that the risks of the attack far outweigh the benefits to himself, Henry and Kara, for whom he has developed a romantic attraction. When he aborts the mission, “EDI” goes against orders and executes the hit anyway.

The danger escalates when “EDI” decides to execute a top-secret mission that, if successful, could spiral into worldwide nuclear Armageddon. And only Ben can prevent it.

Movie Review:

With Rob Cohen of the “Fast and Furious” and “XXX2” fame on the director’s chair, this is expectedly a plotless, excuse brain but action aplenty movie.

Indeed, those action hungry fans would be in awe by the pyrotechnic-polluted opening of three F-117 look-alike speed monsters in a simulated live firing exercise. These machines are not anything off the pages of the Jane’s book of aircrafts. They are in fact the US design “Talon”, a swing-wing, and hypersonic bombers yet to be in the production stage. As the movie goes along, a more science-advance fighter - the Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV), known in short as EDI (Extreme Deep Invader) was introduced.

As in most Rob Cohen’s movies, the visual effects are always top notch. This time, in order to flawlessly present the Talons and EDI at beyond sound speed, the latest computer technology called Tergen (Terain Generators) was deployed. With Tergen, the flight of the Talon and EDI looks more realistic even if the scenes were over complicated terrains. The end results were a stupefying aerobatic display of dogfights and bomb-drops. Watch out also for an intense sequence where Jessica Biel ejected below the exploded aircraft, as well as the seat-gripping scenes where Talon and EDI work together to fend off the Russian fighters.

Perhaps much concentration was spent on maneuvering the aircrafts that the performances of the protagonists were much neglected. Having fresh Oscar winner for best actor Jamie Foxx onboard does little to outcast the machines. Josh Lucas (The Hulk) and Jessica Biel (Blade Trinity) were also not given much space to present any unforgettable performances. As a result, the aero fighters were so dominating that you felt the pinch, for the loss of the aircraft rather than for the life of the pilot in it, as the aircraft exploded.

In terms of plot, the machines rules once again as the romance bits between Ben Gannon (Josh Lucas) and Kara Wade (Jessica Biel) in the midst of all the adrenalin seriously hinders the movie. Although most boys would welcome the scene of “Cup C” Jessica Biel in her bathing suit, it is still the body of Talon and EDI that most audience are dying for. When the finale of “Leaving no men behind” took center stage, one further question the purpose of this romance between the pilots.

Though there is nothing to shout about the plot and acting, the underlying morale of the story is still worth pondering. While many may have expected the movie to be another copy of “Terminator” or “A.I”, Stealth offers more than that.

Replacing a human pilot with soulless artificial intelligence is a well intention in protecting a life. However, humane judgments and code of ethic are things that could not be programmed. Hence, there exist a potential danger of relying on artificial intelligence in warfare. Nevertheless, machines are always double–edged swords and its fullest potential depends very much on the mind that operates it.

The gradual friendship develops between machines and human in the movie is a refreshing surprise to support the theory that both still needs to depend on each other in order to succeed.

Overall, Stealth is definitely a movie for all-boys and all-soldiers. Where most female audience in the theatre is restlessly peeping at their watch, men would be riveted with the movie’s sophisticated machines, fanciful military call signs and army languages throughout. The women don’t get it.

Movie Rating:

(This is the fastest and most furious mach speed aerobatic experience ever!)

Review by Leosen Teo

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