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STEALTH (PG) (2005)

Sony Pictures

Official Site

Director: Rob Cohen

Producers: Laura Ziskin, Mike Medavoy, Neal H. Moritz, E. Bennet Walsh

Written by: W. D. Richter

Cast: Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx, Joe Morton, Richard Roxburgh, Sam Shepard

Rating:


“It was all sound and fury indicating nothing.” —The Monarch

I hear the roar of a jet, a thunderous boom from an exploding truck, and the rattling blasts of anti-aircraft fire. That continues for about three minutes and that’s how the movie opens. From the beginning you’re given a pretty good idea of what to expect, if the previews and/or trailers failed to do so. But let me tell you more in case you don’t quite understand.

Lieutenant Ben Gannon (Lucas), Lieutenant Kara Wade (Biel), and Lieutenant Henry Parcell (Foxx) are the three best fighter pilots the US Navy has to offer (I know, but stick with me here). They are part of a program designed to make the ultimate flying machine. This machine is an artificial intelligence commonly referred to as Eddy. They have recently been given clearance to field-test Eddy as a member of the squadron. As both the new kid and a non-biological entity, Eddy is a little less than welcome. But it soon proves itself to be a valuable member of the team, with ultra-high-speed data analysis and long-range sensors that could challenge God (seriously, detecting a thumbprint off a target hundreds of miles away without even dusting). However, when the issue of unavoidable collateral damage springs up, we see the difference between a caring woman and a calculating machine. Things get out of hand when Eddy decides that it can act with initiative just like a human and starts behaving like the infant (designed for destruction) that it is. It has yet to internalize values for human life (never mind the fact that it doesn’t exactly have the best environment to learn that) and acts without regard for morality. The squadron is ordered to stop it, and Captain George Cummings, the officer in charge of the operation, begins covering his back…

This movie really got me down for several reasons. First off, there is no way that anyone designing a sentient war machine would give it complete control over itself. With all the effort that goes into keeping the fighting humans in line, I don’t see why they’d go out of their way to not close some (any?) circuits off from the AI. That’s a very serious problem in this movie, at least for me, because the feasibility of the sci-fi elements is just thrown out the window. So basically, the science (or rather, engineering) is completely bunk. Bullshit. Next, the geopolitical emergencies that all-too-(in)conveniently pop up just make me scream, “No!” Do Southeast Asian terrorists really organize meetings inside government facilities armored with 14 feet of concrete? Do breakaway Russian satellites ending in –stan really have warlords thirsty for nukes? You’d think they’d be more concerned with keeping their asses alive as opposed to calling the hammer down on themselves. Whatever, the way I see it the scriptwriter was just using the bogeymen that the common audience understands. After all, for some reason the whole program behind Eddy was a response to global terrorism. As if we don’t have enough capability to blow up terrorists…

So, I give Stealth a solid thumbs down. It seemed like a Top Gun that tried to go sci-fi, but failed miserably in the attempt, crashing and burning. I wouldn’t recommend this movie being exposed to intelligent or critical eyes (smart people can enjoy this flick if they just ignore the idiocy in it), but if you have to see it do yourself a favor; be stealthy and sneak in (Am I allowed so say that? No? Okay.). Just kidding folks. But seriously, don’t sacrifice too much to go see this movie, because you’ll probably end up regretting it. I know I did when I saw it raining like hell upon exiting the movie theater.

—Duncan Wright

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



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