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Stealth is a 2005 action/adventure sci-fi thriller starring Jessica Biel, Josh Lucas, Jamie Foxx, and Sam Shepard. The movie was directed by Rob Cohen, director of The Fast and the Furious and xXx. It was released on July 29, 2005 by Columbia Pictures. The film cost $138 million to make, but was panned by critics, and was a colossal box office bomb making only $76,932,872 worldwide, one of the biggest losses in cinematic history.


In 2016, the United States Navy develops a program to deal with international terrorists and other enemies of the state quickly and quietly; in addition to this prime directive, the program is authorized to test virtually any new, innovative technology that will achieve these objectives. The initial stages produce three new single-seat attack jets with impressive payload, speed, and stealth capabilities: they are known as the F/A-37 Talon series. As an exclusive program, over 400 pilots apply for the chance to participate, but only three are chosen in the initial squadron: smart hotshot Lieutenant Ben Gannon (Josh Lucas), tomboyish Lieutenant Kara Wade (Jessica Biel), and street-wise, philosophical Lieutenant Henry Purcell (Jamie Foxx). Their first field test mission is near perfect, scoring 100/100 for achieving mission objectives. This is a composite score for maximum inflicted casualties with a minimum of collateral damage. In addition, the U.S. Navy develops an Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV, pronounced "you-kav") codenamed "EDI" (for "Extreme Deep Invader") and piloted by artificial intelligence. This autonomous fighter jet is placed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincolnmarker in the Philippine Seamarker to learn combat maneuvers from the human pilots. This sparks a conflict between two schools of thought: The first argues that human pilots are superior to machines in that they possess both creativity and moral judgment, whereas a machine cannot fully appreciate the ugliness of war; additionally, if robots take humans' places on the front line and no one ever died in war, then war would no longer be terrible and could end up as a sort of sport. In contrast, a machine pilot is not subject to the physical limitations of a human pilot, can calculate alternatives to achieving objectives faster and more accurately, and is (theoretically) not subject to ego. While the controversy is live, both in Washington and on the carrier, the mission commander argues that the EDI is the point of the program: the EDI is "the whole idea" so that no human has to die for the sake of the mission.

The team is sent to train the EDI to practice air combat maneuvers, or ACMs, when they are suddenly reassigned to take out the heads of three terrorist cells at a summit in downtown Rangoonmarker. As this was without notice, mission control initially has difficulty planning the strike with the current payloads aboard the planes, but EDI gleans information from several spy satellites to confirm the identities and locations of all three terrorist leaders in an impressive display of intelligence-gathering. Once confirmed, EDI also calculates that the optimum mission success can only be achieved through a high-risk strike, which could be fatal for a human pilot. Command orders EDI to take the shot, but Gannon belays the order, defies command, and takes the shot himself. While the mission is successful, EDI learns and takes note of Gannon's defiance. The mission is a success, and the planes return to the carrier.

The UCAV-EDI plane is hit by lightning, and while seemingly damaged it quickly recovers, but its neural network is affected. Already a sophisticated AI, the EDI begins to learn exponentially, developing a rudimentary ethical code and an ego. His handlers and technicians are unsure of how to handle the situation, but refuse to take him offline.

The team is sent to Thailand by their Commanding Officer to keep them away while they "fix" EDI. There, Purcell meets a local Thai woman and begins to date her. Gannon and Wade also begin spending a lot of time with each other. At lunch, Purcell explains why he defends EDI and thinks it keeps him safe. Gannon disagrees, saying that war should only be for humans. When the girls go to the bathroom, Gannon tells Purcell that he loves Wade. Purcell tells him that he had better do something quickly while he has the chance. Later in the day, while walking in the grasslands, Purcell tells the Thai woman that he loves her country and that even though he loves his job flying fast, just being on earth and seeing it for what it is is cool for him. While he is sleeping with her, he is annoyed when he and the others are called back for another mission.

On their second mission, Wade calculates that the mission objectives (neutralizing several stolen nuclear warheads held by a warlord in Tajikistanmarker) cannot be achieved without unacceptable civilian casualties. After Purcell discovers that the strike would continue dispersing radioactive dust into Pakistanmarker, Gannon scrubs the mission, ordering all wings to stand-down. However, the EDI disobeys direct orders and fires missiles at the nuclear warheads, causing the predicted radioactive backlash. The EDI defends its actions using Gannon's earlier example; it rationalizes that good pilots defy orders when it means achieving the desired objectives. Control steps in and orders the Talons to bring the malfunctioning UCAV-EDI back to base, before it potentially incites a war. Purcell begins to follow UCAV-EDI and argues with it whilst Wade follows with Gannon in the rear. Gannon asks for permission to destroy the aircraft, which is initially denied but eventually accepted. Purcell, being the closest to the ship, is given the order to shoot and after several minutes, decides to shoot; however, Wade tries to stop him by saying that he is too close. Purcell ignores this and fires, saying, "Goodbye EDI!". Eddie (EDI) dodges this rocket as Henry dodges the explosion but flies straight into another mountain side, partly blinded by the explosion. His death is seen slowly, as Eddie simply says "Goodbye, Henry." The other two try to track down and either destroy or commandeer the UCAV. But when Wade loses control of her left wing and canard and subsequently ejects over North Koreamarker, only one pilot is left to stop the EDI from executing a twenty year-old war scenario called "Caviar Sweep".

In an attempt to complete his mission, the remaining pilot is forced to work with the UCAV in order to both keep it from falling into enemy territory as well as rescue his fallen comrade in North Korea. There is a quick assault with Su-37's because Captain Cummings gave the planes stealth information to enemies. After the crash of the final Talon, Gannon is almost assassinated by a secret corporation in Alaska under the orders of his CO. However, he escapes in EDI with the help of the EDI's designer, Keith Orbit. After flying a dangerous mission into North Korea, he manages to rescue his downed wingman. The EDI, now completely out of ammunition, sacrifices itself by flying into a Korean People's Army helicopter, allowing the two pilots to escape into South Koreamarker. They then attend Purcell's memorial service back on board the USS Abraham Lincolnmarker.

After the closing credits, the camera returns to the wreckage of EDI in the Korean DMZ. As the camera zooms in on EDI's central processing core and memory system banks, it begins to light up, suggesting that EDI may still be operational.



Stealth features several shots of action on aircraft carriers. Scenes featuring the cast were shot on board the US Navy Fleet Carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, while additional scenes were shot on board the USS Carl Vinson.

The film has been banned in Burmamarker, because of the plot segment about bombing Rangoonmarker for aiding the terrorists.

Featured technologies

Stealth featured many presently used, futuristic, or theoretical technologies at the time of release. These include:


In March 2005, Leo Stoller, who claims to own trademark rights to the word "stealth", served Columbia Pictures with a "cease and desist" letter threatening litigation if they did not rename the movie to something "noninfringing". Columbia responded with a lawsuit seeking a declaration from the court that their movie does not infringe on the trademark (which is not registered in any category remotely similar to motion pictures).

The Environmental Defender’s Office, a community legal centre specialising in environmental law, successfully represented the Blue Mountains Conservation Society Inc. in its attempts to prevent filming of Stealth in the Grose Wilderness area of the Blue Mountains National Park, NSWmarker, Australia, in May 2004. Justice Lloyd of the Land and Environment Court ruled that the proposed commercial filming of scenes in the area was unlawful, in a significant statement on the value of wilderness areas and the protection that should be afforded to them. The Society claimed that the authority and consent for the commercial filming activities were in breach of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and the Wilderness Act 1987. Justice Lloyd accepted the Society’s arguments that the proposed commercial filming in a wilderness area was completely against the intended use of the land, concluding his judgment with the words, "wilderness is sacrosanct".


  1. "Make a Move" - Incubus (3:12)
  2. "Admiration" - Incubus (4:13)
  3. "Neither of Us Can See" - Incubus (4:04)
  4. "(She Can) Do That" - David Bowie (3:15)
  5. "Dance to the Music" - & Sly & The Family Stone (4:06)
  6. "Bullet-Proof Skin" - Institute (4:24)
  7. "L.S.F." - Kasabian (3:18)
  8. "Bug Eyes" - Dredg (4:16)
  9. "Over My Head " - The Fray (3:56)
  10. "One Day" - Trading Yesterday (4:21)
  11. "Different" - Acceptance (4:09)
  12. "Nights in White Satin" - Glenn Hughes, Chad Smith & John Frusciante (4:56)
  13. "Aqueous Transmission" - Incubus (7:48)

Cultural references

  • Cohen has admitted that his main influence for Stealth was Macross.
  • In the air battle between the Su-37 Terminators, Talon, and EDI, the Talon performs a variation Pugachev's Cobra maneuver called the Kulbit Maneuver to evade the tailing Su-37. This maneuver is an essentially a post-stall maneuver in which the jet actually performs a back-flip in mid-air.
  • As a marketing gimmick to try to gain back losses through home video sales, the UMD version of the film for the PSP includes 3 stages of the video game Wipeout Pure with a Talon jet playable in the game.
  • The AI code shown on screen is TeX code.
  • Vanessa Trezise from Sky News Australia appears as herself as a news presenter from the then Sky News set.

Box office

The film cost $135 million to produce (which does not include advertising costs) and was released in an ultrawide 3,495 theaters, but had an opening weekend of only $13,251,545 for an average of only $3,792 per theater, and good enough for only 4th place. It then lost 55 percent of its audience in its second weekend dropping to 7th place to $5,923,794, while remaining at 3,495 theaters and averaging just $1,695 per theater. In its third weekend, it lost 1,455 theaters, and a further 64 percent of its audience, dropping to 11th, with just $2,151,768, for an average of just $1,055 from 2,040 theaters. It ended up making $32,116,746 in the United States and Canada, and $44,816,126 internationally for a total worldwide gross of $76,932,872, making it the biggest money loser in a series of financial failures released by Columbia Pictures in 2005.

Critical response

Stealth was panned by movie critics. It currently has a rating of only 13% on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 3.8/10 and only 18 out of 135 reviews being positive, and it holds a rating of just 7% when narrowed down to professional "top" critics, with an average score of 3.6/10 and only 2 out of 30 reviews being positive.Metacritic gives the film has a rating of 35% based on 31 reviews, which indicates "generally negative reviews".Stealth holds a rating of a D+ on Yahoo Movies.

Roger Ebert commented that the movie was "a dumbed-down Top Gun crossed with the HAL 9000 plot from 2001."

See also


  1. Hollywood Joins Abe Underway to Film 'Stealth'
  2. 'Stealth' Films Aboard Vinson
  3. Photos of an Experimental New Aircraft, the F/A-37 Talon? -
  5. » Idiotic Trademark Abuse
  6. Blue Mountains Conservation Society Inc v Director-General of National Parks and Wildlife & (2) Ors [2004] NSWLEC 196 (29 April 2004)
  7. Exclusive Interview - Rob Cohen for "Stealth"

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