Stealth

August 12, 2005 | Movie Review | By: Mark VandeWettering

Warning, there will be spoilers below, so if you haven’t seen the movie, don’t read further than this paragraph. I liked the movie, thought it was fun, but there are some things that I just have to rant about, and they will probably give away some of the plot elements (such as they are). You are warned.

Still with me? Okay.

Stealth has a premise which you could view as either promising or weak: three hot-shot jet pilots are joined by a cybernetic UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) that is struck by lightning and suddenly starts learning… TO KILL! If you have relatively low standards, you might think this would form the basis of a reasonable action film, and you’d be right. There are lots of pretty cool effects of jet planes moving around at high speed, blowing things up. I found it exciting.

And dreadfully, painfully stupid.

Honestly, this film would make a great demo reel if you were trying to get a job doing effects, but in terms of its writing and direction, it’s just all over the map. In no particular order:

  • The UAV is struck by lightning, and supposedly becomes super intelligent. What does it do with this newfound knowledge? Flies around for a while. Accidently (more than anything else) manages to kill off Jamie Foxx. Pursues a completely fictitious mission it finds in its database, which it then abandons. And that’s about it. You’d think the UAV would be central to the story, but ultimately, it is just hardware that serves as a flimsy premise for…
  • An incredibly weak love story between pilots Ben Gannon and Kara Wade (played by Josh Lucas and Jessica Biel). They are in love. Really. We can tell because at the end of the film they admit it to each other. After all, he rescued her as she…
  • Fled to the DMZ from a crash landing in North Korea. Which she crosses. On foot. With only a couple of people shooting at her. Neatly avoiding any landmines.
  • Oh yeah, you can’t make a neat stable ring of airplane fuel hang in mid air for minutes at a time.
  • It’s nice that ground scenes are filmed in Thailand, but it appears the only reason for that plot point was to give the actors an excuse to lounge around in Thailand, or perhaps an excuse to see Ms. Biel in a bikini.
  • Oh, the smart genius who invents the UAV? His name is Keith Orbit, played by Richard Roxburgh. Absolutely useless to the plot. Tells you nothing, shows you nothing. Richard must have slept with the writers to get a part in this film, because certainly he does nothing on the screen.
  • Oh, there is some subplot about treachery. I’ve spoiled that subplot by telling you everything you are going to learn about it in the film.

Honestly, you’d think that a film nominally about a super-intelligent killer aircraft would feature a killer aircraft displaying some super-intelligence flying around killing things. Did they not read their own treatment?

It’s fun. It’s got explosions. Rent it, or see it in a matinee and be prepared to heckle.

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