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IN SHORT: Buy the big popcorn. [Rated PG-13 for Intense Action, Some Violence, Brief Strong Language and Innuendo. minutes]
To paraphrase Mel Brooks, "It is good to be a movie critic" Those of us who have paid the dues get a nicely taped off row of seats in the middle of a theater with perfect site lines right down the center of the screen. In the case of Rob Cohen's Stealth, the screening also came with ramped up surround sound subwoofers sending lovely waves of vibration up the floor and into Cranky's achin' back, every single time something worth exploding blowed up real good. There's a lot of that in Stealth and, more to the point, it isn't the usual summer gratuitous explosive stuff. Stealth maintains its story start to finish and, whether or not it is a ludicrous one to your perceptions, it sure is a fun one to plant for.
We recommend that you consciously try not to blink for at least the last hour of the film. Just do it.
We also mentioned somewhere in our review of The Island that some Science Fiction technology is so close to having a basis in fact that the lines between drama and fantasy blue. Such is the case in Stealth, with fantastic military technology on display -- and who knows or cares what is real and what isn't? Does it make the story blast out of the screen or not? The former and something like this:
USN pilots Ben Gannon (Josh Lucas), Kara Wade (Jessica Biel) and Henry Purcell (Jamie Foxx) are the best of the bell bottomed best. Three they are and three are the number of Talon Fighter Jets delivered to the Navy for testing and whatever it is the Navy does with state of the art technology. The UCAV EDI, nicknamed "Eddie" is an automated Talon fighter that responds to commands with its own logic driven voice (voiced by NEED THIS). It isn't any faster than the man driven planes, but it certainly moves with more assurance and takes out targets faster and more efficiently than its fleshy compatriots.
Ultimately, what the Eddie Unit is good for is going into territory that it isn't supposed to and taking out targets that, theoretically, a human couldn't while dodging things like missiles. It's all a matter of reaction time, people. It isn't much of a stretch to imagine that if, say, Eddie were to be struck by lightning, certain fried circuits could mess up its programming real good. Obvious to us. Not so to Eddie's designers -- but there wouldn't be much of a movie then, would there.
Eddie wasn't taught to sing "Daisy" which, as the film is packed with enough basic material sucked out of 2001: A Space Odyssey, that the (non) omission is probably a good thing. Unlike 2001, what happens once Eddie decides not to let itself be turned off -- and there's no way you haven't figured that out from the advertising, or from the loaded paragraph above -- is a lot more fun to watch, and gets itself done with a lot faster.
For those that don't like us to be oblique, things blow up. Fast and Loud and Real Good. Surprisingly enough, the film also manages a couple of unexpected moments and one big surprise.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Stealth, he would have paid . . .
We're living on the edge with this one. Had we been in a really nasty mood it would have been just as easy to slam dunk Stealth into the garbage bin for liberally borrowing story elements from other man and machine movies. Buy a Government Sized popcorn bucket -- don't overpay like the Feds always do -- turn off the cranky circuits and enjoy. We did.
(and for our Lady browsers who are already venting steam, there's at least one guaranteed to please while torturing your date movie available to you, too.)
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