Thursday Night Movie Club
Stealth
star rating graphicstar rating graphic½
Release Date: July 29, 2005

Director: Rob Cohen
ACTORS:
Josh Lucas
Jessica Biel
Jamie Foxx
Sam Shepard
Richard Roxburgh
Joe Morton
Ian Bliss
Ebon Moss-Bachrach
Michael Denkha
Rocky Helton
Clayton Adams
Maurice Morgan
Christopher Naismith
Charles Ndibe
Nicholas Hammond
CHARACTERS:
Lt. Ben Gannon
Kara Wade
Henry Purcell
Capt. George Cummings
Keith Orbit
Capt. Dick Marshfield
Lt. Aaron Shaftsbury
Josh Hudson
Naval Controller
Master at Arms
USS Abraham Lincoln Sailor
USS Abraham Lincoln Sailor
USS Abraham Lincoln Sailor
USS Abraham Lincoln Sailor
Executive Office
Click on the Stealth poster to link to the official movie website. Click on the Stealth poster to link to the official movie website. Click on the Stealth poster to link to the official movie website.
Josh Lucas in StealthStealth is another typical summer action movie. It is fun to watch. The action scenes are exhilarating. Just don't take this movie too seriously as it is not a great action movie. Analyze it too much and you will find plot holes a plenty.

The fighter squadron consisting of Lt. Ben Gannon, Lt. Kara Wade and Lt. Henry Purcell are the best of the best. Fighting along side each other, the team is virtually indestructible. But this has only involved war training flights, so far. They are finally given the opportunity to showcase their talents in the real theater. They are assigned to the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the South Pacific.

The squadron gets the surprise of a lifetime. They are assigned a new wingman, well, not quite a man. Their new partner is an entirely automated jet fighter, code named E.D.I. EDI has all of the flying skills of his human counterparts but he is not burdened by human emotions. EDI can perform its objective with emotional detachment. EDI has the added ability to learn. Since this is an action/suspense thriller, it is fairly obvious where this is heading.

EDI is designed with one purpose, to carry out missions that are impossible for a human being to perform. On their first mission together, the squadron is asked to take out a trio of major terrorists. The problem is, there is no way to hit the target without serious collateral damage to the public. The weapons on board the fighters are not sufficient enough to destroy the building where the terrorists are meeting. EDI comes to the rescue by devising a radical attack plan. Fly your plane at a high enough speed to achieve penetration of the heavily fortified building.

Photo of Jamie Fox, Jessica Biel and Josh LucasEDI impassionedly informs his human counterparts that this mission is impossible for them to carry out so he will fly the mission. Lt. Gannon takes this as a personal challenge and proves the computer wrong. In the process, Gannon endangers his squadron and innocent civilians if he is incapacitated during the mission.

While on return to the carrier, a freak lightning strike hitting EDI (you'd think the top minds in the military would develop a super jet plane impervious to lightning and EMP effects.) changes EDI forever. Although it is not mentioned, I suspect that EDI has become self-aware. "I think, therefore, I am!"

EDI begins to take on frightening characteristics. On their next mission, to destroy nuclear warheads, squadron leader Gannon calls off the strike because the nuclear fallout will destroy a local civilian village. EDI's only concern is his orders. He breaks off from the squad to make the strike. Well, the success rate of a single plane completing its mission is about 10%. Gannon and his squad fly in to help EDI. The target is destroyed along with the civilian population. Emotionless EDI has accomplished his mission, coldly and objectively, just as he was designed to do.

With 2001 A Space Odyssey's Hal 9000 firmly in mind, EDI even has a red eye, the robotic plane has gone rogue. Without receiving orders from humans, he begins to select his own targets for destruction. Here is plot twists #1 and #2. EDI is as impassioned as the Captain giving his orders, Cummings. All that matters is the mission. Collateral damage is immaterial.

Photo of Jennifer BielThe hunt is on! Gannon makes the human decision that the rogue plane must be destroyed, since it can no longer be controlled. The middle portion of the film is an aerial cat-and-mouse game as the squadron attempts to find EDI and somehow convince it to return to base. When this fails, the shooting begins. The ending of the movie borders on unbelievable as it is discovered that Cummings has an alternate objective. Exactly what that is, I mean besides covering his ass when things go horribly wrong, remain unknown. He has a secret organization working for him, but to no apparent purpose.

The direction by Rob Cohen is straight forward although the aerial scenes are well executed, depicting the jet fighters flying at incredible speeds. The refueling sequence is the highlight of the film. The acting isn't much to write home about with the exception of Sam Sheppard who finds a way to deliver his lines with carefully controlled underlying malaise.

The final plot twist is that EDI finally learns enough to change allegiances back to the good side. All that was really missing was a teary-eyed saying from EDI, "Let's go get our wingman!" Stealth is entertaining if you are not looking for a movie that takes itself too seriously. It's an action movie, after all.