Sunday, July 31, 2005

Reel To Reel:

How It Rates: **1/2
Starring: Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx
Rated: PG-13
Red Flags: Language, Lotsa Explosions

Preconceived Notions: Top Gun meets 2001 meets Dr. Strangelove.
The Bottom Line: Fun, if you like Jamie Foxx -- and explosions.

Stealth is a perfect example of a film that's more thrill ride than film. Maybe we should just boil off the subplots, half the dialogue, and just have 90 minutes of three flying aces chasing a haywire drone around the globe. Now you're on to something.

Here's the story: our three Navy pilots (Lucas, Biel, Foxx) are the best of the best in the world of the near future, fighting terrorism around the globe from the confines of souped-up fighters with razor-sharp precision. Luke Skywalker's proton torpedo down the exhaust port of the Death Star looks like kid stuff. Need an Al-Qaida hideout taken out? Call in the air support. They'll fix the problem before you can say "shock and awe."

Now add a fourth member of the team: EDI, but you can call him Eddy. Eddy's an experimental drone fighter. Eddy's got artifical intelligence. Eddy's got the moves and a taste for hard rock -- downloaded from the Internet which is sure to get Eddy in trouble with the RIAA. Eddy's got a voice like HAL 9000 crossed with I.N.T.E.L.L.E.G.E.N.C.E. from Team America: World Police. And Eddy needs targets.

Just like your computer, Eddy doesn't take lightning strikes too kindly. You would think somebody designing the most advanced electronic fighter ever would remember the surge protector. A blast of 1.21 gigawatts rewires Eddy's electronic brain and turns him into one mean machine, disobeying orders and shooting whatever the heck he wants. Somebody's gotta get Eddy back to the hanger before he blows up the planet.

All of this would be more fun if you left out some excess baggage, mainly Lucas and Biel's Mandatory Action Movie Needless Romance and Jamie Foxx's ladies-man pilot act -- although I liked it. But hey Jamie, Hitch is two screens down and Will Smith got there first.

With that stuff gone, we're left with just one problem. Eddy. He's a cool drone, but he's got a girly-man voice. How about something colder and detached like the computer voice you hear on National Weather Service radio? The one that sounds like he's from Norway, especially on the word "cloudy." Now that's scary.

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