Film Reviews


By • Jul 29th, 2005 •

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QUOTE: A phallic masterpiece. My testosterone level went up 10%.

Director Rob Cohen is only interested in something if it reminds him of his penis. And this is not necessarily a bad thing, since it is probably a highly idealized penis. Cohen is a master at visualizing repressed teenage boy’s fantasies. And with STEALTH he has also almost managed to make Josh Lucas sexy. Perhaps Quentin Tarantino could ignite Lucas’s Paul Newmanese appeal. Someone needs to. Right now, its there but you have to work too hard with him to see it. Lucas needs the right role and a director that wants a handsome stand-in for himself. STEALTH comes close because of Cohen. Cohen could make dirt sexy.

This is exactly what Cohen is paid to do. He makes Lucas, Foxx, and Biel sexy, tough, and aggressively male. You don’t see a Rob Cohen movie without sensing his hand in every scene. There is no denying STEALTH has a vigorous, blast of energy rolled up into a far-fetched story. (My husband, who had an illustrious 32-year career in the military, hated the movie’s nutty premise and low-level, simplistic technology.) Having playwright/actor Sam Shepard on board gives STEALTH emotional weight. Shepard is playing his character’s central backstory and invests more acting then Cohen required. Shepard may be angling to become the next Gene Hackman; though I would not like to see Sam doing comedy or wearing fake teeth.

Lt. Ben Gannon (Josh Lucas), Lt. Kara Wade (Jessica Biel) and Lt Henry Purcell (Jamie Foxx) are an elite group of Navy fighter pilots who fly stealth fighter jets known as Talons. Their commander, Capt. George Cummings (Sam Shepard), informs them they will be getting a fourth member, a new wingman, on the team. It is a prototype drone, nicknamed EDI. It is entirely unmanned and is fashioned after 2001’s HAL. It has a big red eye, feelings and, eventually, expresses a mind of its own. Gannon is not enamored with EDI and EDI is offended by the snub.

Gannon is the sexy team leader in love with Wade, a prize catch as the poster girl for Navy women and a real smart pilot with a bright future ahead of her. Purcell is fascinated by prime numbers and, if you are also, there is a million dollar prize from The Clay Mathematics Institute for solving one of the seven greatest unsolved mathematical puzzles of our time: The Riemann Hypothesis. This problem has something to do with primes.

The Stealth team does a great deal of mayhem and destruction of cities as per their orders. Unbeknownst to taxpayers and the U.S. Congress, these pilots are prowling the air just looking for something to blow up. When sent out to destroy a Tajikistani warlord supposedly hiding in plain sight with nuclear weapons, Ben, after hearing from the very smart Wade about how many people will die, decides to go against orders. EDI, on the other hand, has no such moral qualms. EDI decides he knows best. Wade is forced to eject from her aircraft on a seek-and- destroy-with-massive-bombs mission and ends up in South Korea. Gannon has to decide to either destroy EDI or rescue his teammate.

It’s really unnecessary to discuss the logic or technological truth of STEALTH. And, if you think you are going to learn something about fighter jets today, this is not the movie for you. For that, join the Navy Pilots program. If you want a testosterone fueled, high excitement level of adventure, filled up with massive explosions and a very sexy, and muscular Jessica Biel, STEALTH works.

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