Over the past few years, writer/director
Rob Cohen had been thinking about making a movie about
Navy fighter pilots. He was fascinated by a recent
technological advance called Tergen developed by Digital
Domain, which would give him the ability to create
In preparation Coehn worked on the designs for EDI and
the Talons. Working with two senior designers at North
Aviation, he came up with the first prototype Talon.
With his production desiger, J. Michael Riva,and a team
of industrial engineers, they refined it and came up
with a sexier Talon, which would be flown by the three
main pilots in the film.
Cohen thought Australia would be the perfect location
for Stealth. They used Fox studios because of the amount
of space they needed. In addition, they needed locations
to double for Alaska, North Korea and Asia.
The film begins in Nevada, for which they used
Australia's Flinders Ranges mountains. Sdyney's Blue
Mountains were used for North Korea's rugged mountainous
terrain. New Zealand was used for some of Alaska's
shots. They recreated Myanmar (formerly Burma) in an
area called Zetlands in Sydney and brought in more than
100 Burmese as extras and also put together a platoon of
Following completion of photography in Australia, the
production moved to Northern Thailand for three weeks,
followed by a week at sea off the coast of San Diego on
the USS Carl Vinson, an active aircraft carrier.
Photos - Rob Cohen
directs his cast:
Co-star Josh Lucas said the best reason for doing
"Stealth" was to work with Sam Shepard
Roger Ebert - Rating 1.5 out of 4:
Navy fliers have been chosen to pilot a new generation of stealth
fighter-bombers. They're all aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln in the
Philippine Sea, under the command of Capt. George Cummings (Sam Shepard, who
played the test pilot Chuck Yeager in "The Right Stuff"). In a movie like
"Stealth," you're asking for trouble if you remind people of "2001: A Space
Odyssey," "Top Gun" and "The Right Stuff."
Kenneth Turan, LA Times:
If you're going to steal, you might as well steal big. "Stealth" has pilfered
from "Top Gun," "2001: A Space Odyssey" and a few other places to produce a
slick piece of summer entertainment that is counting on elaborate special
effects to make its derivative, convoluted story line all but irrelevant...
The trio of pilots, looking good in the requisite slow-motion flight-suited walk
down an aircraft carrier deck, are prouder than punch to be flying top-secret
stealth fighter jets called Talons for Capt. George Cummings (Sam Shepard,
always a treat in military roles).
Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Shepard is convincingly dyspeptic as the venal Cummings. But the best
performance comes from Roxburgh, whose take on Orbit is so intriguingly
eccentric that the character seems to have parachuted in from a different,
better film. Occasionally, "Stealth" seems poised to make a statement about the
absurdity of war and the dubious morality of those who wage it. But again and
again, the impulse to address the situation in depth is pre-empted by the urge
to blow something up. It's as if the filmmakers were afraid to follow through,
opting instead for cheap thrills. Not that there's anything unusual about that.
Tyler Hanley, Palo Alto Weekly:
Shepard fills his officer shoes admirably but commonplace
double-crosses and unrealistic scenarios make his role feel all but worthless.
Biel is an attractive draw, but more for sex
appeal than performance reasons, and Foxx just seems out of place after reaching
best-actor status in Ray. EDI -- a shameless mockery of HAL from
"2001: A Space Odyssey" --
offers some interesting moments, but again not until the film's finale. Visuals
waver from stellar (hyper-kinetic flight scenes) to superfluous (a
graphics-heavy world map). A strained romantic angle between Lucas and Biel does
nothing to quicken the pace.
Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle:
Sam Shepard plays Capt. Cummings, lending gravity by his presence...
Beyond mind-numbing explosions, Stealth's effects are good, especially the
whooshing flight scenes. But as Eddie shows, humanity matters, and computer
wizardry won't fill an empty plot.
John Wirt, The Advocate:
Stealth's hazy subplot touches on the arrogance of power. Rushing an unmanned
combat aerial vehicle into action, a Navy captain ignores simple common sense,
not to mention science. Crusty Sam Shepard fits the bill as the hardheaded
military man who won't see the writing on the wall.
Bill Muller, The Arizona Republic:
The fliers train under Capt. Cummings (Sam Shepard), who introduces their fourth
wingman, a sophisticated jet piloted by a computer instead of a human. Shepard
is always great as the Slightly Loopy Guy in Charge, especially if you can't
find Donald Sutherland or Chris Cooper.
Kyle Smith, NY Post:
A Pulitzer-garlanded playwright can't blame his agents for hooking
him up with a script that gives him lines like, "All I want to hear out of that
plane is 'Yessir!'...His noble mug is a painful
reminder of glory past: The scene where a pilot bails out in "Stealth" is so
over-painted with CGI that it doesn't look as real as the sequence starring
Shepard that inspired it in "The Right Stuff," a movie made with model
NY Daily News:
The best acting comes from Shepard, although it's deflating to see him ordering
these young pups to do what he did with more charisma as maverick pilot Chuck
Yeager in "The Right Stuff." "Stealth" is flimsy and
forgettable, but it does have a few worthy action and special-effects sequences.
Christine Toto, The Washington Times:
Stealth" flies into theaters a bit late in the summer season, but it's
got summer stamped all over it.
Big, bold action. Beautiful stars who could double for Bally's "after" models.
Dialogue that will never make it into any AFI quotation list.It's Rob Cohen country. The director behind "The Fast and the Furious"
and "XXX" steers his action sequences with the steady hand of a safecracker, so
who cares if characterization gets short shrift?
Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune -
Rating 2 out of 4:
Shepard swaggers amusingly as the villain
Cummings, and the other actors (including Joe Morton and Richard Roxburgh) are
pleasant enough. But they can't really make much of the mad rambles of EDI and
the vaulting excesses of the special-effects team.
Cohen, 56, achieved his movie success relatively late, but his errors sometimes
suggest the follies of youth. He mounts a lavish production, casts good actors,
hires a good writer (Richter) and tries interesting angles but he also gets
overly tangled up in technology and blind to logic.