Thursday, July 28, 2005


Stealth (Director: Rob Cohen)

Cohen's big break came with Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. Continuing with the dragon theme, he directed Dragonheart. Then came my favorite and yours, Daylight. He did The Rat Pack HBO movie and then The Skulls. Amazingly, after all that, he still got work and directed The Fast and the Furious, a movie that was such a huge surprise hit that it alone probably rewarded Cohen with at least five more movies in his future. But then he did xXx, another hit. Cohen has inexplicably become a go-to guy when it comes to action movies. Stealth is written by W.D. Richter, who like many writers this year was on a long hiatus between films. His last one was Home for the Holidays in 1995. As a sidenote, he also co-wrote Big Trouble in Little China, but you're not going to see anything near that fun here.

Stealth, as I'm sure you'll see plenty, is a combination of Top Gun and 2001: A Space Odyssey, and for good measure, a little bit of Dr. Strangelove. Believe me, Cohen seems to be paying some homage to Mr. Kubrick in a few scenes here, but you're not going to see any satirical wit, not even the kind offered in Top Gun. The story concerns three top-notch pilots: Lieutenant Ben Gannon (Josh Lucas), Kara Wade (Jessica Biel), and Henry Purcell (Jamie Foxx), who are all ready to start missions off naval carriers and start blowing up terrorists in such terrorist hotbeds as Rangoon. Yeah...Rangoon. The military is readying a fully-functional stealth fighter, sans pilot, under the supervision of Captain George Cummings (Sam Shepard). Want to hear a pervy line that the movie offers without knowing it? OK: If you go down, Cummings will win. Just thought I'd share that.

Anyway, the technological masterpiece goes haywire, since it has a brain that can figure things out and evolve, which is completely unexpected. Joe Morton is in this as Captain Dick Marshfield. I thought he learned his lesson in Terminator 2. The plane goes rogue, going on a mission it has downloaded from secret files, and is unable to be reasoned with by the human pilots. Oh, but that's not all the movie has on its mind. This isn't just a story about a crazy plane killing lots of Asians, no...this is the burgeoning love story of Ben and Kara. And when Kara parachutes out of her plane into North Korea, the movie becomes Saving Private Kara. I'll let you watch the movie, or figure out on your own, to see how Ben rescues her.

The dialogue in this movie has a lot of did-I-just-hear-that? moments, and a lot of discussion about prime numbers which becomes one of the biggest groaners (but not in a campy, funny way) since Mindhunters. There's a lot of unbelievable stuff, which isn't really a problem I have--I have a problem with all the directions this movie wants to take in order to seem more important than it is. This is a popcorn flick for Christ sakes. Why the detour to some Asian land for some shore leave? Oh...we have to develop that Ben and Kara thing...we need to feel for these characters. Ultimately, this movie could have been an hour and a half of just some evil plane trying to dominate the world and this would have been a shitload of fun. In fact, I thought of a million ways to make this better while watching it, which is always a bad sign. Instead, it's two hours with lots of unnecessary stuff.

This is your final big blockbuster of the summer, guys. Breathe it in.


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