For a prime example of Hollywood’s dearth of imagination one need look no further than STEALTH, a derivative bit of drivel whose makers obviously thought firestorms and really fast planes are all it takes to make a film worth seeing. It steals in equal parts from Star Trek (TOS: THE ULTIMATE COMPUTER) and Knight Rider (pick an episode, any episode) with just a scooch of 2001 and DR STRANGLOVE thrown in. It’s not a good kluge, especially when the computer gone wrong in this case starts talking just like HAL, right down to the timbre and the cadence. The question arises, why would anyone want to consciously force an audience to compare this to a masterpiece?
The machine in question that will, of course, go rogue and cause complications is a computer-controlled plane capable of reading a face five miles away and downloading every song available on the internet. It’s top secret and a pain for the three hot-shots (Josh Lucas, Jaime Foxx, Jessica Biel) piloting similar, non-computer controlled planes who are ordered to fly with it, put it through its paces, and be the mentors to the sophisticated program running it that’s capable of learning quickly, but not well.
Naturally, the first time out, there’s a crisis that only the air team can remedy. Three top terrorists are gathering in a deserted building, and, aside from pointing out how very pat it all is, just like the rest of the script, there’s no need to dwell on it. The film doesn’t, which is why there’s the interlude in Rangoon, which is the excuse to put Biel in a bikini. It’s painfully obvious from the get-go that the people behind this dreck were interested in the shiny planes, the bikini, and nothing else, and it shows in every frame of film. If only the shiny planes in question were snazzy, but, alas, instead of cool aerodynamics and slick angles, they look like nothing so much as metallic versions of giant cockroaches. As for the special effects, think NASA circa 1965.
It’s not just inept filmmaking, it’s filmmaking that boasts the logical thinking of a paramecium, thus top-secret risk management involves storing guns behind cereal boxes, and Navy flight training somehow renders human bone into something either durable enough or rubbery enough to withstand a fall of several hundred feet with no significant negative results. It also posits that there is only one helicopter in all of North Korea.
Sadly, no one told poor Biel that acting was not required for this project. In fact, it would simply slow things up. Hence everyone else in the film, instead of emoting, is doing his best GI Joe impression. That would be the action figure, not the character from the animated series. She’s left out there actually trying to find an emotional center for her character and the people behind the cameras let her. Shame on them.
Call me overly sensitive if you must, but I have serious issues with a film that insults my intelligence this badly. STEALTH wouldn’t make a convincing video game, much less a popcorn flick.