Super sleek planes in PC-wallpaper screenshots eclipse a foolish plot that has the intelligence of a tadpole, in Stealth. While the story of the AI entity spontaneously developing a criminal consciousness is an old one, here that entity isn't a network of computers or an android. It's a stealth plane.
That's right, a sophisticated, glossy black, advanced stealth-plane develops a mind of its own. Goes potty. Speaks in a bass male voice with a feminine lilt and says, "Tin-man does not want to return to formation. Tin-man wants to destroy enemy." And leads its team-mates on a wild goose chase to counsel it, appease it and bring it back home.
The utter goofiness of the story apart, the visuals and special effects in Stealth are its raison d'etre. Whether it is Josh Lucas's sexy voice or smile, Jessica Biel's body-hugging flight-suit, or planes slicing silently through the air, swooping and swerving with the elegance of a gymnast and with ethereal speed, Stealth is best for those who cannot follow English movie dialogues anyway. If you do, you will be taken in by the puerility of the story, laugh when you are not supposed to, and rate this movie rather low. But if you don't, you might just find it inspiring.
Lieutenants Ben Gannon, Kara Wade and Henry Purcell (Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel and Jamie Foxx respectively) are three fighter pilots who are quite cosy in their arrangement as a team when Tin-man (christened only later), an AI stealth plane, joins as a fourth wingmate. Initial resistance turns to acceptance as Tin-man does some fantastic maneouvers and wins over the three aces.
But before they even begin to settle down with the new addition, Tin-man's thinking starts going haywire in their first mission itself. A hotch-potch of reasons are offered – from lightning bolt damage to AI evolution – the aftermath being that Tin-man starts behaving like a primary school kid who's missed his dose of Ritalin for the day.
He goes completely bonkers, raining missiles on Russians, going exploring away from the formation, and finally shooting Henry's shapely birdie to smithereens when he tries to intervene. With Henry in it, of course.
Kara's plane is damaged too, and she sets off back to base, but crashes off into North Korea along her way. She falls along with the plane debris, and the entire sequence captures the tragic drama of her free fall from a million feet, so well that you almost wish she were killed to justify the elaborately agonising sequence. But she doesn't. She lands on her feet and leads the North Korean army on a strenuous hunt through picturesque forests and cliffs, before she is rescued by Ben. After he has successfully counselled and admonished the errant stealth plane and got him to say sorry.
So Tin-man is back home and all is hunky dory, and the much anticipated postlude to the 'Kara-in-bikini and Ben-in-boxers, looking horny in Thailand' scene is well on its way as they both profess their love for each other.
Worth a watch this weekend Stealth definitely is, but that's exactly the point. Watch, don't listen. Look, don't think. And come back home and check out the gaming magazines for when the video game will release. We are predicting it will be an excellent one. If the movie is anything to go by.