The advertising for Stealth is very misleading. Every trailer and TV commercial I’ve seen has Jamie Foxx front and center as the star of the film. He’s actually the third leading character behind Josh Lucas and Jessica Biel. Lucas is the star of Stealth, but he didn’t win the “Best Actor Oscar”. So the marketing execs at Warner Brothers have decided to cut him completely out of the advertising, until you see the film and realize Jamie Foxx has about fifteen minutes of screen time. That said, Lucas does an excellent job in a movie that is action packed and filled with surprises. I walked in expecting a “Terminator-like” plot about an evil computer bent on destruction. This is not the case. Stealth goes in unexpected directions and turns out to be a tremendously entertaining film.
Stealth takes place in the not too distant future. Lucas, Biel, and Foxx star as America’s best Navy pilots. They have been given the task of forming an elite fighter unit around a top secret, ultra high-tech stealth fighter. They are shocked to find out that the fourth member of their team is an artificial intelligence known as Eddie. Eddie has all the skills, but none of their instincts. The pilots, especially Lucas, see Eddie as a threat and doesn’t believe a machine should be given the choice to kill humans. Eddie gets struck by lightning during a mission. It breaks free of its technician’s control and gives itself new missions to fly. The pilots are given cart blanche to subdue Eddie and bring it back, destroying it if necessary. What they find is a deeper conspiracy surrounding the machine and a deadly struggle with a dangerous enemy.
The action scenes in Stealth are awesome. The planes do look a bit computerized, but the overall flight scenes, especially the dogfights, are spectacularly shot. Director Rob Cohen, known for his work on “XXX” and “The Fast and the Furious”, is at the top of his game here. He gives the film a slick look without getting too futuristic. The planes and their capabilities don’t seem that farfetched. Stealth is probably an accurate prediction of the next generation fighter aircraft. I’ve not been a fan of Rob Cohen’s previous work, but he shows in Stealth that he’s definitely got the skill to make a good action film.
The great failure of Stealth is a corny, forced romance between Lucas and Biel’s character. It’s completely unnecessary and thankfully does not drag down the entire film. Biel’s character is the quintessential damsel in distress that needs the strong silent type to save her. I thought she could have been given a lot more to do, but it’s obvious her job was to fill out a bikini and prance around a waterfall in Thailand. Biel is a capable actress who’s done some good dramatic work, but is relegated to eye-candy status in Stealth.
Summer action films are usually special effects and explosions with plot being an afterthought. Stealth, despite what you see from the trailers and commercials, has a good story that is well told. It’s not that involved, but syncs nicely with the action structure. I didn’t feel that I was being force fed brainless action scenes. They pop up when the story warrants and are very well executed. Stealth is one of the better summer films and a good way to spend an afternoon.