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Overall Rating

Awesome: 4.6%
Worth A Look: 3.45%
Just Average: 8.05%
Pretty Crappy: 32.18%

9 reviews, 33 user ratings

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by Jay Seaver

"Liberal application of money to a bad script can only do so much."
2 stars

W.D. Richter's got a lot of uninspiring stuff in his filmography. I didn't realize this; I, like I imagine most people who noted his name as the writer of "Stealth", immediately thought of him as the screenwriter for the 1978 version of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" or his involvement with quirky films "Buckaroo Banzai" (director) and "Big Trouble in Little China" (writer). But check out IMDB; he's got plenty of credits that will indicate that yes, he does have a movie as unimpressive as "Stealth" in him.

Stop me if you've heard this one: The pilots of the U.S. Navy's next-generation stealth aircraft find themselves potentially out of a job when the next-next-generation plane is revealed to be flown not by a pilot, but by an artificially intelligent computer capable of learning and going thoroughly haywire when struck by lightning. Since "EDI", left to its own initiative, will start World War III, pilots Ben Gannon (Josh Lucas), Kara Wade (Jessica Biel), and Henry Purcell (Jamie Foxx) are forced to intercept. Unfortunately, the lightning strike that scrambled its priorities didn't erase what it had learned, so it's going to be a tough one to stop. And, of course, this doesn't take into account the inevitable people who find it more imperative to safeguard the program and secret than protect the pilots.

The premise is, as you can see, ridiculous. But it's the fun kind of ridiculous: It's got a simple idea at its core, which doesn't seem likely in "the near future", but might be something I'd buy for a movie taking placing in 2025 - which (I tend to find) means that a lot of people will buy it for a movie set in 2010. The crazy details are kind of crazy-cool - my favorite is what looks like an unmanned Army blimp that serves as a mid-air gas station. This is potentially fun stuff, if the actors don't trip over technical terms, and if a substantial amount of money is applied to making it look good. The good news is that money was clearly never in short supply, either in terms of hiring a decent cast or rendering the special effects.

The bad news is, a crazy premise isn't the script's only problem. Even the money spent on a pre-Oscar Jamie Foxx isn't going to make dopey lines about how a good team has a prime number of members sound less ridiculous - and I say this as a guy who was on the math team in high school and occasionally uses prime numbers as a metaphor in my own conversations. Not all nerd-talk is bad, but this is, although Foxx's macho pilot-speak is just as embarrassing. Biel and Lucas are probably better off with their thoroughly nondescript lines. The screenplay has a lot of standard parts in it, so when a scene starts, anyone who has seen an "experimental weapon run amuck" movie has a pretty good idea of how it will end. It's especially painful as we see which pilot is going to get "Steven Seagal-in-Under Siege" treatment, with screen time being spent to build them up as important and kind of well-rounded characters with the intent of the audience being shocked when EDI blows them out of the sky - but since we're all wise to the trick...

Oh, and that cool blimp? It's an object lesson in writers not really considering how their science-fictional technology would actually work as opposed to what they need it to do. I can buy that the Army would station unmanned refueling blimps. I can't buy that they aren't being remotely monitored for damage, or that there's not some sort of automatic cutoff valve to prevent a situation where it's bleeding explosive jet fuel for perhaps hours afterwards. Think, guys - how would this stuff be designed? There'd be safety features, damn it!

It also doesn't help that a good ten minutes could probably be cut from this thing - but even if that were excised, the movie would still be a good ten minutes too long but couldn't be cut without sequences seeming choppy. A good deal of the blame for that rests in the far-flung last act, which has action simultaneously occurring in Alaska, North Korea, and the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, somewhere in the Pacific. Even in a movie about hypersonic stealth fighters, it starts to feel a little scattered, especially since you know the characters have to come together. Director Rob Cohen does well enough with the action, though - he lets his FX guys blow stuff up real good, and shoots the movie like a non-evil Michael Bay: His individual frames might not be quite so pretty, but you can tell what's going on in an action scene. Brian "BT" Transeau's score isn't subtle, but it's fun, and heightens the action.

The cast does what they can. Josh Lucas and Jessica Biel are good-looking B-listers, folks who might have enough talent and charisma to become movie stars given the proper roles, but are sort of place-holders in this one (although place-holders are sort of what the movie demands). After all, they come off better than Foxx, who has gotten the proper role. Sam Shepard is a standard-issue military hardass as the Navy Captain in charge of this program. Richard Roxburgh is a standard-issue arrogant successful computer nerd. And Joe Morton is Joe Morton as the Captain of the Lincoln, projecting the usual right-headed professionalism.

I can't recommend this movie; pretty as it may be (both in terms of visual effects and how they manage to emphasize Ms. Biel's hotness despite other-than-revealing costumes), it's head-shakingly dumb enough to neutralize its fun high concept. That said, I'll be tempted to get it on DVD, where I can watch it in Spanish and enjoy looking at it without being concerned with the words coming out of the characters' mouths.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12659&reviewer=371
originally posted: 09/25/05 22:01:45
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User Comments

8/12/08 Shaun Wallner This movie has some great scenes in it. 5 stars
6/15/07 al smith leave your brain at the door and you will have a good time 4 stars
4/18/07 Stevo UK As pleasurable as a meteor strike to the balls. 1 stars
2/22/07 David Pollastrini Jessica Biel is hot! 2 stars
9/29/06 Stanley Thai Filled with great action scenes and a good plot. Come on people, where's the love? 3 stars
7/27/06 drydock54321 do you really think he could have found her from the air and all the landscape. 2 stars
7/27/06 Alonso Bonilla bleak, boring, and just plain stupid, people, do not watch this movie! 1 stars
2/05/06 cody a pretty good action flick, with edge seat action scenes! fun time 4 stars
12/28/05 tony Not even close. This movie is without a doubt one of the worst movies in hollywood! 1 stars
12/21/05 tina mateer boring!!! If it did not cost so much to go see, would of left right away 1 stars
12/17/05 J.D. Pittman III Come on people! You know that movie was tight! 5 stars
12/05/05 Carolyn good explosions and sfx, nice eye candy worth a rental 3 stars
11/28/05 JH Oh Dear God. Make It Stop. Killer Tomatos was better. 1 stars
11/27/05 ELI Planes fall down go BOOM! That's a pretty complex plot! Eh, the planes looked nice 2 stars
11/27/05 Evil Wolfie The action was nice looking..... at least. 3 stars
11/24/05 shaun wallner i thought this movie was pretty good but i didnt like the music 2 stars
11/23/05 Narcs Cool planes.. but too fake and video game oriented. 3 stars
11/13/05 Lanie Richardson Not the best movie... but I liked it. 4 stars
10/11/05 Josh Swanson Not the greatest movie, but Jessica Biel ain't bad on the eyes. 2 stars
10/05/05 Ava Rice Jessica Biel thinks her shit don't stink; otherwise film coulda been 90% more watchable. 3 stars
10/03/05 poo it's so bad it's funny. good for a larf. 2 stars
9/16/05 Green Gremlin Makes "Top Gun" look like "Saving Private Ryan" !!! 2 stars
9/14/05 Pinkline Jones Cohens couldn't direct a turd down a Toto toilet 1 stars
9/13/05 Jonathon Holmes Foxx should be ashamed of himself 1 stars
9/12/05 Summer 2 hours too long! 2 stars
8/07/05 E Well, this is quite underrated 5 stars
8/07/05 ^ZuLu^ stereotypes - sfx - sfx - forseeable - stupid ending - yawn 1 stars
8/04/05 Jake Shocker A Thriller. 5 stars
7/31/05 KingNeutron Good FX, ridiculous dialogue, ridiculous plotline. 2 stars
7/31/05 ClaranceTheCobra If Jessica Biel Had balls, I'd probably lick 'em 2 stars
7/30/05 Naka Nope! 1 stars
7/26/05 Ice-T too heavy on the effects and blur 3 stars
7/26/05 WilliamPrice standard zoom and boom 3 stars
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  29-Jul-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 15-Nov-2005



Directed by
  Rob Cohen

Written by
  W.D. Richter

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

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