Stealth (2005)

Rated PG-13. Our ratings: V-0 ; L- 1; S/N-5. Running time: 117 minutes

Stealth

Consider this more of a warning than a review. Not that you have to worry about wasting money seeing it at a theater, because it mercifully has left most of them, but almost as soon as you can say “Let’s nuke ‘em,” it will be showing up at your local video store.

Combining a touch of Top Gun, Behind Enemy Lines. And 2001: Space Odyssey, Stealth asks us to believe the most ludicrous plot since, perhaps Ed Wood sat behind a camera. Lt. Ben Gannon (Josh Lucas), Kara Wade (Jessica Biel), and Henry Purcell (Jamie Foxx) are under the command of Capt. George Cummings (Sam Shepard). The time is the near future, and they are Navy pilots aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln in the Philippine Sea. Their assignment is to test their high tech stealth planes, and they learn to their dismay, their cozy group of three will be joined by a fourth pilot and plane. The new plane, however, will not have a human pilot: it is a UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle), which means a computer is in control. One of the scenes shows the humans complaining while in the foreground we see a red light in the new plane, looking like the scene in Space Odyssey when HAL 9000 was eves dropping on the crew.

The team scrambles to answer an emergency call about destroying a tall building in Rangoon where a notorious terrorist is holding a meeting. They also fly over Tajikistan, North Korea and a corner of Alaska, wreaking destruction, especially when, as expected, the computer goes berserk and turns its plane into a menace that must be stopped at all cost. Other than a sequence of R & R in Thailand which seems inserted solely to show off two of the cast in swimsuits, the most preposterous sequence takes place in North Korea, where our heroine is downed and her lover risks nuclear holocaust to fly in and save her from the goons tracking her down. And can you believe it (SPOILER here), after dodging all sorts of bullets and fireball explosions, nothing is shown of their flight through the DMZ zone, the most heavily mined and guarded border in the world. It is just assumed that they easily made their way through. This is a film solely for those who love military hardware and who believed the Pentagon claims that our smart bombs would never cause (well hardly ever) “collateral damage.”

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