You don’t rush into a summer action movie and expect to take something away from it. There is, however, a line which, when crossed, takes dumb fun and turns it into sheer boredom. That’s Stealth.
How Jamie Foxx went from an Academy Award-winning showcase in Ray to this epic box-office disaster is forever a mystery. Jessica Biel and Josh Lucas also star in this action-packed mess revolving around a secret government experimental aircraft that thinks on its own. From one implausible occurrence to the next, the movie continues to spiral downhill until it can go no further.
Wentworth Miller can scratch this one off his resume, voicing the new stealth jet with a static tone that makes the already unbelievable completely stupefying. When this government experiment is hit by lighting, it goes crazy, but never to the point where the audience would be engaged by what it’s doing.
That’s the problem with most of the action. Not only does every scene look like the last with rotating cameras and zooms, there is rarely a sense of danger. Many of the problems are not caused by this military creation, but malfunctioning equipment. Giant explosions are everywhere and look spectacular, yet in terms of the story, they’re pointless. Nothing ever comes of them.
The action should be on a grand scale. Every battle is fought in what feels like a few seconds without any challenge. The most intensity is brought out by a shoot out on the ground, and the absurdity of the finale cannot be overstated.
While at least half of Stealth is action, the script does call for a painfully clichéd romance. It’s beyond predictable, much like some of the direction which calls for the three main heroes to walk beside each other in slow motion towards the camera. There had never been a big budget Hollywood movie about an AI-controlled jet going against its owner, and after this, there probably never will be again. [xrr rating=1/5 label=Movie]
An early Blu-ray effort, Stealth is showing its age about a year later. Compression artifacts are greatly evident in the bright reds and blues. Grain fluctuates regularly. The bold color leads to some spectacular shots (particularly one over the Alaskan mountain range), but mutes detail up close. The overall soft transfer is disappointing. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Video]
If your surround speakers haven’t been working much lately, they will now. Everything soars and moves through the sound field, enveloping the listener. Gunfire careens through every channel, and missiles leave their trails in the appropriate speaker. Sadly, the bass is weak at best, and non-existent at worst. There’s little impact to the explosions, and jet engines should rattle a house to the ground when on screen. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Audio]
Stealth contains one of the strangest extras on a DVD or Blu-ray. The case lists it as An Introduction to Blu-ray with Director Rob Cohen. What it actually contains is a single line from Cohen stating he welcomes you to Blu-ray, which is then followed by premiere footage. After that, there’s completely random footage of a beach that doesn’t even seem to belong here. The whole thing lasts a baffling three and a half minutes. [xrr rating=1/5 label=Extras]