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Movies | A cornball jet-fighter action film from the modern

Issue: "Space: Dawn of Discovery," Aug. 13, 2005

Do you develop emotional attachments to technology? Have you ever thrown out an old desktop computer and wept? If so, Stealth-a movie that features a climactic scene involving a computer sacrificing its "life" as grandiose, vaguely religious music fills the soundtrack-may be for you.

Stealth (rated PG-13 for intense action, some violence, brief strong language, and innuendo) is a cornball jet-fighter action film from the modern "master" of the cornball action film, Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious and XXX).

Ben Gannon (Josh Lucas), Kara Wade (Jessica Biel), and Henry Purcell (Jamie Foxx) are three elite Navy pilots who fly highly advanced "Talons." As the movie opens, commanding officer Capt. George Cummings (Sam Shepard) gives them their first non-test range assignment aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln. But the pilots are in for a surprise: They're joined by a fourth wingman that isn't a man (or woman) at all.

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Their computer-controlled cohort is blessed with not one but two acronyms-the very official-sounding "UCAV" (for Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle) and the much friendlier "EDI" (as in "Eddie;" for Extreme Deep Invader). He also sometimes goes by "Tinman."

A lightning strike (didn't the plane's designers ever consider this?) completely rewires EDI's "brain" during his first mission. Although grounded for repairs, the plane is rushed back into service-despite signs of a newly developed free will. Bad move.

Stealth is set in "the very near future," which gives Mr. Cohen freedom to kick technology up a few notches too high and to completely disregard geographic, physical, and political realities. The lazy script provides lots of "convenient" opportunities for cheese (a painfully unironic discussion of war reduced to the level of a video game) and sleaze (some skimpily clad R&R in Thailand).


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