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Stealth review

Isn't modern technology great? Not always. Sometimes the computer packs up, the copier sits silent and the car won't spark into life. Yet still we continue to give machines chances to do us all in. Didn't 2001 teach us anything?

Rob Cohen's latest actioner looks like a CG-powered action flick but it's really a cautionary tale. At its heart is a sly fighter plane that comes with a glowing red eye (evil), the ability to decide on targets and fire weapons without conscience (really evil) and the power to download every song ever written. (internet piracy? Unbelievably evil.)

Sounds cack, right? Particularly when Stealth can't fly under the usual clichés (last-minute saves, will-they-won't-they romance) or evade detection as it steals from other movies (Top Gun, WarGames). But you'd be wrong - - mostly. After a predictable start, Cohen's techno-thriller ups the ante around the halfway mark and morphs into a gutsy, take-no-prisoners war movie. Even more surprising, it has a brain pumping away under all that hardware.

Lucas, Biel and Foxx hardly comprise the starriest ensemble around, but they deftly stretch the boundaries of their fearless action archetypes. What's more, they manage to invest their characters with a sprinkling of humanity amid the high-altitude explosions and aerial dogfights. The latter are undeniably impressive; unfortunately, shoddy model and matte work make things more problematic at ground level.

Still, the explodorama finale doesn't disappoint. And it's during this climax - - and several other sky-scorching set-pieces - - that we remember Cohen was that guy who brought us xXx and The Fast And The Furious. If you feel the need for speed, Stealth might just take your breath away. But please, don't start humming `Danger Zone' in the exciting bits.

Far from original, occasionally hits turbulence and loses momentum on touchdown. But Stealth still gives action junkies a hair-on-fire ride.

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Available platformsMovie