In the near future, everything is covered in blinking red lights and everybody is really stupid. That’s the lesson gleaned from this awful film, by some considerable distance the worst movie I have ever seen and a worthless cinematic endurance test of SAS survival-training proportions. I saw it a week ago and it still hurts, like a blister or an earache. The plot can be disposed of in two lines. The warmongering Yanks have developed a high-tech fighter plane operated by an artificial intelligence called EDI but it gets hit by lightning while on manoeuvres and turns evil. Three human pilots, whose character names are unimportant but are portrayed by the cartoonishly heroic Josh Lucas, the it's-better-than-lapdancing Jessica Biel and the Jesus help us Oscar winner Jamie Foxx, are charged with bringing Hal 9000, sorry, EDI back from the brink of full scale war and, while they're at it, employ their big noisy guns to blow the everloving tar out of the ululating ‘terrorists’ in North Korea, Myanmar and Tajikistan - all in the name of Uncle Sam and all on the same busy day. The rest of the thing is indecipherable, but it is jet-engine loud, pit-bull aggressive and day-old stupid. It actually doesn’t matter who these steroidal goons are, or what war crimes they get up to because the whole sorry mess is thrashed to shreds in the digital tumble dryer of frenzied, whiplash editing, slow-motion explosions and lingering military pornography. How dense does a film have to be to make Top Gun look smart?
To refer to Rob Cohen as a filmmaker is incorrect. He assembles slow-witted, belligerent, politically disgusting and noisy cock fights, not movies. Rather than concentrate on those elements that make films interesting; like plot, dialogue and character, Cohen's approach is to tack ten minutes of grisly chit-chat into a shoddy, juddering genre action scene extended over two hours. It is an assault, not entertainment. For an expensive special-effects driven piece, the final results are just shocking (think: the chroma key experimentation of late-period Wanderly Wagon) with every single visual element of the production horribly over-designed and childishly executed. The dialogue is just bilge and the characterisation entirely absent. Stealth is what $150 million buys you in today’s Hollywood: nine reels of dog dirt masquerading as a motion picture. At one stage Lucas roars at his superior officer that he “doesn’t want to see war turned into a video game.” I feel the same way about movies. The only thing noteworthy about Stealth is that it gave me a pain in my head and a pain in my arse at the same time. As for Jamie Foxx, he might find his career going into what the fuck mode after this baffling outing. This is exactly the opposite of the ideal film for an Oscar winning follow up and he might find himself comparing notes with Cuba Gooding Jr if he’s not careful. He's terrible, ridiculous really: they all are, but Foxx is the one with the most to lose.
Banging on about another piece of shit Hollywood turkey, so what? Am I missing the point completely? I don't think so. I believe that cinema has a legacy to protect and allowing modern directors, but specifically testosterone-fuelled goons like Bay, Cohen and, God help us, McG (the talentless bollocks) to remake Kubrick’s films, even in this cackhandedly sneaky way, has to be discouraged right from the outset. They haven't the wits or the desire to properly handle the kind of ideas Kubrick effortlessly put across, without relying on crappy computer animations or the demographic-chasing delights in having every scene with the 'smart' machine battered with a pounding soundtrack of bubblegum metal pop (I closed my eyes for most of those, and thought instead about a meadow on a sunny day, but they are astonishingly loud and persistent). Paying over your hard-eared money to watch this kind of unmitigated rubbish will only provide these hacks with the excuse they need to keep plundering.