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Dir. Rob Cohen; writ. W.D. Richter; feat. Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx, Sam Shepard, Richard Roxburgh (PG-13)

Director Rob Cohen (XxX, The Fast and the Furious) feels the need for speed but doesn't even come close to breaking through the troposphere as Stealth loses altitude in unexceptional fashion.

When a top-secret aircraft known as EDI, designed with artificial intelligence capabilities, is somehow rewired by a bolt of lightning, fighter pilot trio Ben Gannon (Lucas), Kara Wade (Biel), and Henry Purcell (Foxx), must find a way to usher the defective bomber back to base before it flies into enemy territory and causes a war.

It's a cat and mouse game that would have author and biochemist Isaac Asimov spinning in his grave. Screenwriter Richter (Home for the Holidays), whose been M.I.A. for the last 10 years, allows his script to get out of control when he develops more personality for EDI than he does for his main characters. Giving the fighter jet an articulate voice is one thing, but allowing it to experience emotions is far too ridiculous for even the most novice roboticist.

A crash course in territorial airspace and air-traffic law, Stealth barely clears ground before it's pulled over for some serious mechanical difficulties.

- Kiko Martinez

The Island
Dir. Michael Bay; writ. Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Caspian Tredwell-Owen; feat. Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi, Djimon Hounsou (PG-13)

Reminiscent of George Orwell's 1984 and Shirley Jackson's short story The Lottery, The Island is reason enough for director Michael Bay to never again be mentioned in the same breath as profitable yet transparent producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Flying solo for this action film, Bay delivers an entertaining look into a Utopia where everything from food rations to proximity between citizens to the elemental makeup of urine is monitored.

Everyone in this perfect society hopes to win the "lottery," a game in which the winner is whisked away to the last paradise on earth, but unsuspecting clone Lincoln Six Echo (McGregor) uncovers the truth behind "the island" when he begins to question his own existence. Lincoln's best friend, Jordan Two Delta (Johansson), who believes the propaganda that is being spoonfed to her each day, is already on her way to the fictitious paradise. With the help of an in-house human systems technician (Buscemi), Lincoln and Jordan escape their encapsulated world and plan to locate the individuals who have paid to have them created in their image.

Although the strong script has a few plot holes, The Island is actually one of those few good examples of a dumbed-down action flick with purpose.

- Kiko Martinez



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