Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray


Stealth looks expensive. The explosions are massive, the stunts awesome, the locations inhospitable and CGI rules, OK?

It starts off like Top Gun, turning warplanes into sex objects and their pilots into slo-mo. Then it clones 2001: A Space Odyssey by introducing a rogue computer, called Eddie rather than HAL, which refuses to obey orders. Finally, after a dodgy attack on a foreign city, under the vague and morally dubious banner, The War On T'rr'r, it becomes a paranoid thriller in the tradition of The Bourne Supremacy, only nothing like as efficient.

Copy picture

The plot has more holes than the old course at St Andrews and there is no attempt to tie up loose ends, or make anything remotely credible. Compared to Armageddon, another airborne blockbuster with a fanciful storyline, it lacks a central star performance, as well as (most important) humour.

The buddy trio that fly the sleek Stealth fighters are shiny plastic. Josh Lucas is effortlessly good looking, with one of those smiles, perfected after months of mirror training. His voice is equally manufactured, emphasising the smooth Bailey's after dinner come-up-to-my-place charm school cadence. Jessica Biel attempts a J-Lo not-in-my-face independent feistiness, but fails in the personality trials. As for Jamie Foxx, he is given the token black role, underwritten to a point of discrimination. He's not so much wasted as thrown away.

On board the aircraft carrier, Capt Cummings (Sam Shepard eases into a wonderfully natural, laid back performance) has unveiled a revolutionary new aircraft, built like the Stealth, but unmanned. Eddie, the computer, is in control and Eddie speaks. The buddy trio call him Tin Man - is that a joke, perchance? - and they fly together. When Eddie goes off the rails, Capt Cummings makes lightening fast, save-my-ass decisions, as an international incident is averted by supercourageous responses from our plastic friends. What follows is hokum of the bang-bang-you're-not-dead-because-you're-one-of-the-stars variety.

It is difficult to justify the patriotic pride that underlies this film. Not only is the technology presented as America's finest and, therefore, invincible, but remarks, such as "Action should never be divorced from consequence", sticks in the craw when you consider Fallujah and Guantanamo Bay.

Perhaps, this is taking formulaic Hollywood entertainment too seriously. Without being prejudicial, it looks as if the neo-cons have moved into the movie business, which is not good for those who remember Three Kings with affection.

Reviewed on: 05 Aug 2005
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Stealth packshot
Unmanned warplane with a mind of its own.
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Director: Rob Cohen

Writer: W D Richter

Starring: Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx, Sam Shepard, Richard Roxburgh, Joe Morton, Ian Bliss, Ebon Moss-Bachrach

Year: 2005

Runtime: 121 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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