I don't understand how Stealth could have performed so poorly at the box office, as it has everything a summer blockbuster is supposed to have: lots and lots of things that go boom, plenty of intense action, solid performances all around, and even an original story as opposed to a sequel. I'm here to tell you that I loved this movie; with all of its intense aerial sequences, geopolitical hop-scotch, and heroics, I can't find much of anything not to like about Stealth.
The premise of the movie may be simple, but I found the story pretty darn impressive. There just aren't that many movies that give you no less than three major incidents that could easily ignite World War III. Yes, the film does ignore all of the unimaginable political ramifications in the end, but that's a job best left for the politicians and a possible sequel (unlikely, given the box office returns). This is really the story of four pilots, the most elite fighter pilots the Navy has: Ben Gannon (Josh Lucas), your typical cocky squad leader; Kara Wade (Jessica Biel), a veritable poster girl for the Navy who always seems overly concerned about collateral damage; wingman Henry Purcell (Jamie Foxx), and a mystery pilot who turns out to be somewhat unusual indeed. EDI represents the cutting edge of near future technology, a self-supporting unmanned combat aerial vehicle. I'm not talking about a Predator being flown around by a human via remote control. Eddy (as I'll call him) can operate entirely on his own if need be, although he is supposed to follow the orders of his superiors. Above and beyond making his own decisions, however, Eddy has the capacity to learn. All of this sounds like a great idea, and it is - until Eddy starts thinking on his own and countermanding direct orders. He's only trying to fulfill his purpose as a war plane designed to take out enemies - but the trouble is that he has gained access to virtually every military file out there, including Black Ops, and thinks he knows best how to destroy all of America's enemies. It's not really his fault, though, as a bolt of lightning kick started him from artificial intelligence infancy to his turbulent teenager phase.
Once Eddy goes rogue, it's a desperate race to bring him back under control before he can start World War III. He really leaves his mark across the whole swath of Asia as his three human squad mates risk their lives to talk some sense into him. It makes for an almost nonstop adrenaline rush all the way to the ending credits. The plot thickens, however, as the squad's commander, Captain Cummings (Sam Shepard), employs an increasingly questionable form of damage control designed to cover his own you know what. Of course, no one can cover up a series of disasters involving international incidents with both the Russians and the North Koreans.
The filmmakers dropped a bundle on the special effects for this film, and they got their money's worth. Every piece of action looks and feels real; when it comes to next-generation fighter jets performing unbelievable maneuvers over a variety of terrains, no other film can even touch Stealth. That's one of the reasons it really was THE adrenaline rush of 2005. Even if you don't like the story, it's a thrill to just sit back and watch the incredible special effects. I for one happen to like the story a great deal, which is why I consider Stealth a slam dunk summer blockbuster, no matter how much money it lost.