dir. Cohen
Opens Fri July 29
Various Theaters

Quick: What do you get when you combine Knight Rider, Top Gun, and The Fast and the Furious? Give up? Okay, me too. But that unseemly conglomerate of recycled flotsam is exactly the formula I imagine Sony Pictures used to conjure up Stealth.

The premise seems simple. Ben, Kara, and Henry (Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel, and a pre-Ray Jamie Foxx, respectively) are Navy pilots who blow the turbans off generic terrorists. In order to more effectively kill foreigners, the Navy green lights a new jet--one imbued with artificial intelligence. But--of course--the robot plane is struck by lightning and goes rogue, and--of course--globe-threatening chaos ensues.

Despite its horror flick marketing, Stealth (whose ominously hilarious tagline is "Fear the Sky") never actually frightens you with it supposedly badass jet, the erotically named "EDI" (that's an acronym for--seriously--"Extreme Deep Invader"). The reasons are legion, but perhaps it's the jet's milquetoast-y voice (oh yes, it speaks), or the way it magically hovers around while all the other aircraft abide by the laws of gravity.

Not that Stealth is without merit. Directed by Rob Cohen (of, appropriately enough, The Fast and the Furious fame), Stealth delivers the sleek, motion-centric vehicular thrills one might expect. With explosions galore and dialogue that's peppered with one-line stingers, the film has the kind of damn-the-character-development/pacing you've come to expect from Cohen.

Foxx's third wheel character disappointingly befalls the black-man-gets-killed-off-early syndrome; although Foxx's untimely demise is pandered to with hollow sentiment, the sickeningly sweet ending of Stealth seems to utter "Ah, well. As long as an aircraft carrier full of white protagonists survives, everything's fine!"

Okay, so that line isn't literally spoken--but that's cool, because the film ends with an even better line. With a final command to Lucas' character, Biel simultaneously caps off the cast's robot-jet adventures and sums up the film's depth, intelligence, and classiness: "Just tell me you love me, pussy." Damn straight.