Stealth is the best movie of the summer. And when I say best, what I mean is that it's the most hackneyed and predictable 130-million dollar piece of crap action flick of the year. Stealth has no intentional redeeming qualities whatsoever, and plays into every single textbook stereotype of the genre. Thus, if you're the kind of person who loves Mystery Science Theatre 3000, you must, must go see Stealth immediately.
Stealth follows the exploits of three Navy pilots in a top secret program involving, well, experimental stealth fighters. There's Lt. Ben Gannon (Josh Lucas): the white-bread pretty-boy with a smarmy attitude with a history of breaking rules and taking too many risks, played like a twisted caricature of 'Maverick' Mitchell of Top Gun. There's Kara Wade (Jessica Biel): the obligatory Caucasian hottie pilot who spouts clichéd feminist rhetoric and sports an "I can do anything you can do, better" attitude aligned more with the Spice Girls than Andrea Dworkin; the pink teddy lingerie and frilly bra she apparently wears under her LuLu Lemon flight suit don't help her cause either. Finally, there's Henry Purcell (Jamie Foxx) the black male who listens to rap music, has indiscriminate sex with as many women as possible, and poses for imaginary photographers in his bedroom. For no apparent reason he's also a mathematician and numerology nut who later expounds that "one is a prime number".
The fourth character is "Tin Man", the artificially intelligent experimental stealth fighter assigned to the squadron. Its brain uses "quantum computation" and processes "20 terabits per second" which is pretty impressive until you realize the number doesn't make any sense. Having a computer as sympathetic character is a pretty cool idea. At least it was in 1968 when Kubrick made 2001: A Space Odyssey, though Tin Man's inflective voice and bizarre penchant for rock music suggests a closer relation to Max-- the shipboard computer in Disney's Flight of the Navigator-- than HAL 9000. This doesn't stop the writers from making bizarre homages to Kubrick's space opus; in fact one major plot point centers on the computer overhearing a conversation in a scene shot much like HAL's famous lip-reading in the Pod. The computer also has a big red eye, which is dumb because it doesn't need to see anything with it, but cool because it helps the computer emote more effectively.
After a minor sortie in Rangoon (where "three terrorist leaders" are meeting in "a building still under construction" (which is important because now they can implode the building without killing any civilians-- go America!)), and then an extended Thailand vacation sequence where the pilots engage in tedious ham-fisted metaphysical discussions about whether Tin Man is actually alive, the computer predictably goes nuts and decides to attack a fortified terrorist camp in Tzadzikistan or something that just got access to some old Russian nuclear warheads and SCUD launchers. (We know they're terrorists because of the turbans and the fact that they're moving the warheads around on carts pulled by mules.) The nukes get blown up but radioactive dust falls down the mountain side and kills "thousands of innocent farmers" which I guess is bad but they don't spend too long worrying about it because they have to catch the psycho stealth.
Usual stuff happens after that-- a pilot hits the side of a mountain, another one goes down inexplicably in North Korea, and the remaining one has to avenge his friend's death and rescue the other pilot from the Koreans' evil clutches. The ability of these planes to be in Rangoon, Tzadzikistan, Russia, Alaska, and Korea on just a few tanks of gas is explained by their ability to hit hypersonic speeds exceeding Mach 5 which is cool because it's like warp speed on Star Trek-- they punch a button and the planes zip away in a bullet cone of displaced air and end up in a new locale more suitable for extreme aerobatics. They also get to fly against the Russians which is funny because the Russians obviously haven't built any new planes since the fall of the Soviet Union, which begs the question: why do the stealths have such trouble with them? Why don't they just hit the Mach 5 button and get out of there? Is there something about the shocking yellow and brown paint job on the anachronistic Migs that impedes the functioning of hypersonic engines? The plot isn't really important-- what is important is that the movie contains a wealth of brain-dead inaccuracies for geeks to make fun of. From bizarre phrases like "the Stealth has firewall-ed the transponder!" to the fact that the Stealth's brain is made alternately from quantum hardware, neural networks, and DNA sequences depending on which one looks coolest for the effects sequence, and was apparently programmed by hand by one man using a futuristic language reminiscent of Matlab, to the way that the naval command is powered by transparent lexan PC cases decked out with coloured LCD cooling fans, this movie just stinks of technical naivety due to lack of research as opposed to creative liberty.
Stealth is a movie that begs its own drinking game. It should be watched with a group of people in an environment that engenders snarky comments. Stealth is not a good movie in any way, shape, or form, but it is a film that is so stupefyingly bad it absolutely must be seen to be believed.