Stealth

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When not trading in sexual asides, Stealth has a space-age storyline that puts the pedal to the medal.

Maybe Jamie Foxx spoiled us last year by delivering such memorable performances in four movies, landing Academy Award nominations for both Collateral and Ray, winning for the latter. While his new picture, Stealth, might not measure up to any of his offering from 2004, it’s actually entertaining in its own right, at least as far as mindless, sci-fi action adventures go.

The picture was directed by Rob Cohen, who has staked his name on such high-octane flicks as xXx and The Fast and the Furious, and this entry doesn’t disappoint, at least in terms of explosions, pyrotechnics, and special f/x. Besides Foxx, the film features Jessica Biel and Josh Lucas. The three play Navy Lieutenants comprising a close-knit team of jet fighter pilots deployed to an aircraft carrier.

Each character, here, is a recognizable archetype. Henry (Foxx) is the jive black dude fated to be the first to die, but not before he has a chance to sow his wild oats with a shy Thai babe who falls for these pick-up lines: “I’m from America. I fly jets. Do you like to go fast?� Kara’s (Biel) dialogue isn’t any saner. She flirts with gentle Ben (Lucas) shamelessly from beginning to end, relying on crass come-ons like, “Pardon my C-cup� and “Just tell me you love me, you pussy.� Even their boss, grizzled veteran Captain Cummings (Sam Shepard), is given to similar salty musings. For example, in offering a subordinate a cigar he announces that it was “rolled on the thighs of a mulatto woman.�

When not trading in sexual asides, Stealth has a space-age storyline that puts the pedal to the medal. First, our horny heroes are forced to accept the surprise addition to the team of an unmanned drone driven by artificial intelligence. The foursome’s first assignment, to take out a hotbed of terrorists in Rangoon goes well enough, but then a funny thing happen on the way back to the carrier.

Eddie, the drone, goes haywire after being hit by lightning, and suddenly he has a mind of his own. The danger escalates as we learn that some Tajikistan warlords are whooping it up like wild Indians because they have come to possess a small arsenal of nuclear suitcase bombs. Between that international crisis and the renegade jet that no longer follows orders, we have the makings of a planet on the brink of destruction. Despite the lame script, an implausible plot, cheesy production values, and obvious computer-generated imagery, Stealth is a campy B-flick which wins you over anyway. Simply an updated version of old school sci-fi, reminiscent of the generic junk Japan used to export in the Fifties.

Very Good (2.5 stars)
Rated PG-13 for intense action violence,
sporadic profanity and graphic action violence.
Running time: 121 minutes
Distributor: Columbia Pictures

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