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Film: Stealth

This page is about the movie. See also Stealth Tropes.

Stealth is a 2005 action film directed by Rob Cohen (the guy who did The Fast and the Furious and xXx).

The United States Navy has built three new top-of-the-range fighter jets called F/A-37 Talons. From over 400 applicants, 3 pilots are chosen to fly them; smart hotshot Lieutenant Ben Gannon (Josh Lucas), tomboyish Lieutenant Kara Wade (Jessica Biel), and street-wise, philosophical Lieutenant Henry Purcell (Jamie Foxx). When the three are flown out to the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Philippine Sea where the jets are, they learn the navy's developed a fourth jet; unmanned artificial intelligence "EDI" (Extreme Deep Invader, no relation to that EDI).

The pilots are to take EDI out on a mission and train it. While they're at it, debate rages amongst commanders about whether it's ethical to use artificial intelligences in war, given that although a computer is not subject to the physical limitations of a human pilot and can calculate strategies more quickly; they likewise possess no sense of morality. At least; theoretically... can you guess where this is leading? And indeed, sure enough, with the mission a success, on the way back, EDI is struck by a lightning bolt, thus zapping his circuits, and he develops a moral code. Initially, everything is fine. But then, on a subsequent mission in Pakistan, EDI decides that the decisions of the humans are faulty, and he starts doing his own thing... Now it's up to the three pilots to stop him.

This film provides examples of:

  • Ace Pilot: Who would have guessed.
  • Aerial Canyon Chase: Between Henry and and EDI. This costs Henry his life when EDI dodges a missile and he loses visual for a second, causing him to plow into the canyon wall.
  • All of Them: It happens right after EDI becomes sentient after getting struck by lightning.
    Tech Guy: EDI just downloaded some music from the internet.
    Ben Gannon: How much?
    Tech Guy: All of it.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: An interesting variation. EDI doesn't actually decide the humans are evil or anything, but is just misinterpreting orders. When its human superiors try to correct the misunderstanding, it uses past statements or examples given by its human companions as a logical precedent for its actions. The overall effect is closer to Gone Horribly Right than Gone Horribly Wrong: EDI is really doing exactly what it was told to do, just not in the way it was told, and ignoring the context of said orders.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version uses "Countdown" by Hyde as the theme song.
  • Artistic License Military: quite a bit. Even the premise is suspect: because all of the Navy's hardware is, to at least some extent, Awesome but Impractical, it's the least likely branch of the Yanks with Tanks to sink a gazillion dollars into Super Prototype planes as it is seen doing here.
  • Artistic License Physics: All flight scenes.
    • Not to mention the "implosion bomb" that safely takes down a skyscraper in the middle of a city as if it was a controlled demolition.
  • Black Dude Dies First
  • Chekhov S Gun: EDI's cockpit chair.
  • Combat Pragmatist / Well-Intentioned Extremist: EDI doesn't care about collateral damage as long as he kills terrorists. Then again, he learned this from Ben, who was prepared to slam his plane into the ground and kill hundreds of people just to prove a point.
  • Cool Airship: Airborne fuel station.
  • Cool Plane: Well yeah.
  • Custom Uniform: Real naval uniforms are not quite as flattering as Jessica Biel's.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Leaving aside the funny acronym, just watch the scene where EDI goes for a refuel. His initial attempt is met with a feminine computer voice saying "Access Denied." He angrily shoves his refueling probe into the nozzle several times, complete with bumping noises. As he does this, the camera is focused on his cockpit and the actual computer housing his AI inside at an angle that invokes an angry-looking facial expression. Then, he shoots off the nozzle and forcibly shoves his refueling probe into the hose.
  • Driven to Suicide: The Power Trio's boss kills himself when his villainy is exposed (although we don't actually see it).
  • Everything Sensor: In Rangoon, EDI manages to perform a series of comically impossible tricks to identify the various terrorists, including identifying a fingerprint using a spy satellite.
  • Fake Static: Gannon pulls this at one point.
  • Fanservice: Bikini-clad Jessica Biel? Yes, please. Doubles as a Shirtless Scene for Josh Lucas, and it's certainly just as nice for the chicks and non-heterosexual males in the audience.
  • Friendly Enemies: Gannon and EDI, eventually.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: EDI, though it's pretty obvious.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: A doctor is given orders to quiet Gannon by lethal injection. Gannon uses it on him instead.
  • Hollywood Science: Lots and lots of it.
  • Informed Ability: For the best pilots in the world, they sure do a lot of stupid things during the course of the movie.
  • Insane Admiral: Cummings. Well, captain, but as a Full Bird Captain he's not far short of flag rank.
  • Improbable Piloting Skills: The dive-bomb in Rangoon. And that's not half of it. This may be justified on account of it being the planes and not the pilots.
  • Instant AI, Just Zap With Lightning: EDI becomes sentient after getting hit by a bolt of lightning; a splash of water from Lucas' character saves EDI from burning up and helps nudge him into a Heel-Face Turn.
  • Ironic Echo: During the canyon chase, separated by about ten seconds:
    Henry: Goodbye EDI!
    EDI: Goodbye Henry.
  • Just Plane Wrong: Basically, the designers have never studied a real plane. Any accuracies are pure coincidence. See the trope article for more details.
  • Karma Houdini: The government ally of the Power Trio's corrupt boss seemed to go scot-free, despite his involvement in most of the movie (even if he only came up in the second half of the movie).
  • Lightning Can Do Anything
  • Power Trio/Four Is Death: The trio becomes a foursome once EDI arrives, and then it's back to a trio again.
    • Purcell comes just short of naming this trope explicitly to his superior officers when complaining about the new foursome. At times it seems he's not so much bothered by EDI being a computer as so much as just being there, period.
  • Precision F-Strike: only one F-bomb, possibly the only swear in the film.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The powers that be want EDI to learn from the three mains. It watches and learns from Ben that getting the mission done is more important than following orders from that stupid stunt in Rangoon. If Ben had JUST let EDI take the damn shot... we wouldn't have a movie.
  • Nom de Guerre: averted, unusually for a jet-fighter movie. Gannon's call sign is "Big," Purcell's is "Easy" and Wade's is "Guns". ...Okay, maybe now we know why they don't use 'em.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Capt. Marshfield.
  • Rule of Fun: The most likely reason for all the inaccuracies and improbabilities.
  • Sapient Ship: EDI.
  • Scenery Porn
  • Shout-Out: EDI has a big red eye; an obvious reference to HAL 9000.
  • Stealth Pun: According to the Tech Guy, the guy who made EDI was only 22 when he programmed the AI for the Raptor, a relatively new fighter aircraft. The Raptor's designation is F-22. Note that this is also literally a Stealth Pun.
  • The Stinger: After the credits, we see the red light of EDI's CPU come back on.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The aircraft seem to have non-conservation-of-energy missiles that explode with the force of plot.
  • There Are No Global Consequences: So the pilots shot down 3 Russian pilots after invading their airspace, shot a bunch of North Korean soldiers in the finale... And all's well. No international incidents. No World War 3.
  • Token Romance: Ben and Kara. Mentioned in about two scenes, never has any relevance to the plot, and barely transmitted in the character interactions.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: Set in the year 2016.
  • Viewers Are Morons:
    • When a prime number is brought up, someone has to explain that it's a number only divisible by one or itself. Lampshaded since the guy who was getting lectured had just as much patience for it as the audience.
    • A Spy Satellite is shown with a hammer and sickle flag painted on it to indicate that its supposed to watch over Russia, even though it is explicitly marked "Russian Federation" on the map. Apparently production team felt that the USSR flag was more instantly recognizable to viewers than the Russian tricolor. It is also especially weird because it was an American satellite, so having another country's flag there wouldn't make sense except to serve as an audience aid.
  • Wham Line: In-universe after EDI disobeys orders in Tajikistan.
    EDI: 'You're just not getting it, are you? EDI is the whole idea.' Selecting other targets. Detaching formation.

The SpiritRoger Ebert Most Hated Film ListThe Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
xXxFilm Brain ListDeck the Halls
Ship of FoolsCreator/Mill Creek EntertainmentS.W.A.T.
A Sound of ThunderFilms of 2005 - 2009 Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

alternative title(s): Stealth
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