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Another Tired Tale of Man Vs. Machine

Following in the misguided footsteps of Nicolas Cage, who segued from a memorable performance in Leaving Las Vegas to lead roles in the brain-dead clunkers The Rock and Con Air, Jamie Foxx has gone from his Oscar-winning turn in Ray to Stealth, a laughable dud fashioned from bits and pieces of other, better movies. To be fair, Foxx filmed it before his Academy Award, and his work here is more than respectable. But even his assured performance as Henry, a hotshot fighter pilot, can't lend enough weight to this slighter-than-air vehicle.

The story should be familiar enough to anyone who has seen The Terminator, I, Robot or any number of movies in which machines rise up to slaughter their creators. You'd think that, by now, mankind would be wary of super computers endowed with the capacity to learn, realizing that too much knowledge might just be a dangerous thing. Not so in Stealth, in which Capt. George Cummings (Sam Shepard) asks his best stealth fighters, Henry, Kara (Jessica Biel) and Ben (Josh Lucas), to break in an unstoppable drone known as "Eddie." Are Capt. George's motives a bit less than noble? Does Eddie, derisively referred to as the Tinman by his fellow pilots, pose just as ominous a threat to his trainers as to his designated enemies? No points for guessing.

To clarify Eddie's intentions, he has been programmed to communicate with a cold, emotionless voice undoubtedly intended to evoke memories of HAL 9000 from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. The similarities end there, of course. Director Rob Cohen, the brains behind The Fast and the Furious and xXx, brings a certain visual style to the proceedings, but even a little high-octane action can't redeem a script rife with leaden dialogue and predictable plot twists. After all, Stealth is a story we've been told many times before. This time around, the packaging isn't quite so attractive.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars