Friday, July 29, 2005
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #11


starring Jamie Foxx, Jessica Biel, Josh Lucas and one magic plane

directed by Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious, XXX, The Skulls)

The best first-line of a movie review I've ever read in my life was written by Scott Tobias of The Onion AV Club regarding this film:

"A sort of retarded Top Gun, Rob Cohen's Stealth revisits the world of cocky fighter pilots and war games turned real, but it has some serious moral quandaries on the brain, and too much thinking gets it into trouble."

You had me at "sort of retarded Top Gun," Mr. Tobias.

Actually I think some of the thrill of it comes from the shock of the comparison: wasn't Top Gun already "sort of retarded" all by itself? Am I the only one who remembers the volleyball scene? Or that thing Val Kilmer did when he chomped his gum really hard one time in the locker-room showdown with Mav? That movie had at least one damaged chromosome.

And now here we are faced with this, a 2005 remake of the 1986 classic Short Circuit. The government-built artificial military intelligence machine gets zapped by some giant power surge and starts thinking for itself. Instead of hanging out with Ally Sheedy and Steve Guttenberg (or as I call him, Goot) and making all kinds of hi-larious current (for 1986) pop culture references, the machine in Stealth gets all moody and aggressive. Imagine Short Circuit but instead of Johnny Five having a shoulder-mounted laser cannon, he's got a functioning nuke and he really really wants to use it.

The altered AI in Stealth is an airplane, which means we need hotshot pilots in other airplanes in a desperate bid to stop it, save the world and reassert human superiority to machines in every way. Cue the slow motion back-lit long shot of three people in pilot gear walking slowly toward the camera to slow, echo-y, martial-sounding music.

Jamie Foxx. Jessica Biel. Josh Lucas. Never has an action blockbuster been launched with so little star-power behind it. Sure Jamie Foxx won an Oscar, but not before he shot this movie. If Ray had tanked, I think we might have been seeing this one in January when studios burn off the crap they're embarrassed they made (see: Pauly Shore).

But then action movies with no star power are Mr. Cohen's specialty, apparently. He went with little-known Vin Diesel in XXX and... um... you know, I can't remember who was in The Fast and the Furious. But it did make money.

Critics generally... oh, what's the word... hated it. They hated it. It offended them on both a visceral and an intellectual level, where it registered intellectually at all.

The lack of Goot is criminal and unforgivable, in my opinion.

But man, did you see in the trailer where that plane was refueling in mid-air and then the magic, evil plane shows up and drops fuel around it in a big ring and then ignites the ring into a big flaming circle of flaming death?

Awesome. And the film is thus spared the dreaded Zero Babysitter rating and earns itself

Image hosted by One (out of 3) on the Hot Babysitter Scale.

It might have gotten two, but I never thought Jessica Biel was that hot. It's probably something to do with the 7th Heaven taint. It's exactly the same reason why I'm not attracted to Stephen Collins. I even remember him in that one-piece jumpsuit in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and still... nothing. That's some powerful taint.



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