Stealth – Fast jets, action and artificial inteligence

I watched this film again last night and although it’s quite an old one now (2005), it’s still one of my favourites.  I must have watched it at least four or five times I reckon.  My reason for watching it again was that I saw a film called Playing for Keeps and I recognised Jessica Biel but at the time couldn’t quite remember which movie I’d seen her in before.  A quick search on IMDB brought up Stealth and well…  I think it’s a really good film and decided it need to be screened again!

I’d describe it as an action packed film full of in flight shots featuring advanced futuristic aircraft and technology.  If that’s the kind of thing that floats your boat then you are definitely going to love this film.  In the opening sequence we see three fast jets flying around launching missiles at ground targets and blowing things up.  What a way to start?  Personally, I’m a bit of a fan of films with some sort of artificial intelligence, robots etc.  and combining this with some fast jets and lots of action for me is a winning formula.  There’s also a quite a good soundtrack to so I’d definitely recommend watching Stealth.

The following is a synopsis with spoilers

The basic plot centres around a secret military programme in which out of 400 would be pilots only three get to fly the new super fast and sophisticated jets (Talons).  Our main characters in this case are Ben Gannon (Josh Lucas), Henry Purcell (Jamie Foxx) and Kara Wade (Jessica Biel).  This is all very well until a new wingman is added to the mix in the shape of an unmanned combat aerial vehicle called EDI.

EDI, designed by flamboyant boffin Keith Orbit features the latest quantum processing technology and rapidly learns from his (it’s) environment as he watches Ben Gannon disobey orders and fake a communicator malfunction in order to personally complete a mission to destroy a high-rise building full of terrorist leaders in downtown Rangoon.  But EDI’s behaviour is about to alter after the robot aircraft is struck by lightning flying towards an aircraft carrier during a storm. 

Stealth (2005) screenshot

On the next mission EDI appears to be malfunctioning when he decides to continue after the the other Talons have decided to abort due to the risk of too many civilian casualties.  He then leaves formation and tells Ben that he is going to seek out new targets which we later learn actually originate from a secret defence war games scenario.  Ben and his wingmen are sent to capture the rogue drone and bring it back to base but in the attempt Henry is lost during some low-level flying through a mountain range and Kara’s aircraft is severely damaged when it is struck by a piece of wreckage from Henry’s.  Ben is ordered to find EDI and bring him home, meanwhile Kara’s aircraft becomes unflyable and she has to punch out – unfortunately that takes place over North Korea.

Ben’s chase to capture EDI takes him towards Russia where the two aircraft are intercepted by Russians who had tracked EDIs unique heat signature.  How did they get that?  Well as it turns out Ben’s Captain (George Cummings – played by Sam Shepard) isn’t really one of the good guys.  Ben and EDI have to team up in order to fight the Russians and after EDI flies in and rescues Ben, Ben help had s EDI put out a critical engine fire.  As he’s nearly out of fuel Ben is ordered to take the UCAV to a secret base in Alaska and with EDI’s assistance he learns that Kara is behind enemy lines in North Korea and that Captain Cummings has covered this fact up.  Incidentally throughout all the action a little bit of romance has blossomed between the two pilots.

Meanwhile, in North Korea Kara is a little bruised and scratched from a rough landing having ejected from her Talon and had a narrow escape as debris tore apart and burned her parachute.  Pretty soon after picking herself up she is forced to go on the run to evade capture by the mean looking soldiers who are chasing her and taking pot shots at her with a sniper rifle.  Will she make it to the North/South Korean border and safety?

By now Ben has crash landed at the Alaskan air base and when the doc tries to give him a lethal injection he puts the pieces together and realises they’re working for Cummings and they’re not the good guys..  Dr.  Keith Orbit has also been sent in to wipe EDIs memory (presumably to cover up wrongdoings).  He’s not happy to do that when he realises how unique EDI is and how the A.I.  has developed and exceeded expectations.  Ben asks Keith to put EDI back together as he plans to make a break for it and fly out of the base in EDI to rescue Kara.  He and EDI fly out of the base in a hail of bullets and fire and skim the terrain to stay under the radar on the way to to North Korea.

Kara has made it to the border but is under fire.  Luckily for her that’s precisely when Ben and EDI arrive and with the last of his missiles Ben takes out the treeline where the soldiers who have been chasing Kara are.  This gives Kara the opportunity to run the last stretch to across the border as Ben and EDI land.  Ben runs toward Kara and in the final crazy moment a North Korean helicopter gunship flies towards them firing.  At that point EDI, in a heroic gesture takes off and because he is out of rockets opens fire with machine guns and sacrifices himself to save the pair by flying into the helicopter.

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