Friday, August 17, 2012

Film Cemetery

Case Study #16

Where we explore the more 
obscure movies that bombed

This film only has one redeeming 

quality - the special effects

First things first. This is Jamie Foxx's third appearance on Film Cemetery...and I'm starting to see a pattern on his strategy to win that Oscar. Basically, Foxx signed on to do a shit-ton of movies and hoped one would hit the bulls-eye.

Enough about that.

I bought the Stealth DVD without double-checking the reviews back in 2005 - and although the action is stunning, the plot and dialogue are laughable. And not funny ha-ha.


Stealth cost 170 million to make, earning back 35 million in the states, and another 40 mil overseas. To say this flick was a bomb gives the word an entirely new meaning.

The main problem is the ridiculous science, and the writers overstuffing an already overstuffed movie. 

Jamie Foxx, Josh Lucas and Jessica Biel play three hotshot Navy pilots in command of the military's most advanced attack aircraft - the F/A-37 Talon. 

Fictional F/A-37 Talon

But then they have to work with a fourth new member of their team....a non-human member named EDI. (Extreme Deep Invader)

EDI is an Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle, basically a drone with the brain of a Terminator...but without the sense of humor.

Look, I'm a dumbass, okay? That being said, it still struck me as extremely silly when a robotic super-stealthy interceptor/attack bomber that can do Mach 4 and hover like Batman's jumpjet is introduced to the viewer. I sorta just rolled my eyes in disbelief.

I accept that a fighter can indeed double as an attack bomber. The F-15 Strike Eagle has been doing just that for years, and doing it extremely well. 

F-15E Strike Eagle

In fact, the Sud-Ouest Vautour was filling both of those missions for France way back in 1954.

Vautour IIB

But an aircraft that can do that, plus hover like a friggin' Harrier and cruise at 3,000 mph? Come on. 

But Stealth even goes one better. After EDI travels halfway around the world at Mach 4, the damn thing is mission-ready. Doesn't need fuel. No pre-mission briefing. Nada.

So before we move on, I'm just going to say one thing. Stealth was a promising movie until EDI is introduced. Then the whole thing goes to shit.

Director Rob Cohen made a critical mistake. Sorry, several critical mistakes. He counted on Josh Lucas' blue eyes, Jamie Foxx's star power, and Jessica Biel's boobies to put moviegoers in theater seats. 

He also counted on the cool effects, as well....but these factors just don't work when there is no coherent story to back them up.

Because as we will see, it takes more than that.

On to the film.....

In the near future, the American military apparently only puts you in a multi-billion dollar prototype aircraft if you're really good-looking. 

Biel is the beautiful tomboy, Foxx has the street smarts and Lucas is the know-it-all hotshot wiseass. Cookie-cutter enough for you yet?

They are part of a program that wants to target specific terrorists - while the baddies are in either in some camp or a baddie lair. They fly in, blow shit up, and leave. 

But wait! 

The military has also decided to try out EDI on the team's next mission, and things go well until the trip back to the aircraft carrier. EDI is struck by lightning, which screws up its circuits. 

But wait!

As we all know from Short Circuit, lightning gives normally benign machines super-intelligence, a snarky attitude and the instant ability to make decisions on their own. 

That always happens, and is completely realistic.

On the next mission, EDI decides to take matters into its own hands and blow some shit up. This leads to the death of  Jamie Foxx and causes Biel to eject over North Korea. 

Lucas chases EDI down in Russia, and the two of them make nice, blow some shit up, then go and rescue Biel from those evil North Korean bastards.

There are a couple of things to note here. 

The scenario I've described is absolutely ridiculous. At no point does anyone need anything like fuel or support. Nor do the bullets ever run out. 

When Biel bails out over North Korea, well, that's the best part of this movie. The effects are marvelous - especially when her chute is on fire. 

But then she lands in North Korea, which looks remarkably like Southern California... complete with extras from every Asian restaurant in the area.

Yes, there is a reason this movie bombed, losing 100 million dollars. Because no matter how attractive your actors are, and how fantastic your effects are - if the basic plot sucks balls - then your movie is going to fail.

Stealth was, in my opinion, a collection of neat ideas that had no story to fall back on. It's almost like Rob Cohen wanted to make a movie about high-performance military aircraft - but didn't know where to go from there.

Each character is so one-dimensional it beggars belief. There is no plot. The dialogue could have been written by a five-year-old.

F/A-37 cockpit green-screen gimble

Despite this, there are some entertaining moments in Stealth, and the effects are worth checking out. And if you want to see Biel in a skimpy bikini for no other reason than to see Biel in a skimpy bikini - this is the place for that.

But for God's sake, don't fork over the $20 for the DVD like I did.

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