Jamie Foxx has had plenty of hits over the years, showing an acting range that few others in the business can claim. Whether it’s action movies, comedies, biopics, or even musicals, the dude can pull almost anything off when it comes to the big screen. And now one of his box office flops (there aren’t many) is finding a new life on streaming. Stealth is currently ranked 9th on Netflix for the streamer’s worldwide audience and is slowly creeping up the charts. It didn’t do well in the theaters the first time around, but folks are enjoying it now all these years later.
Stealth came out in 2005 and offers a harrowing look at advancing military technology and artificial intelligence. Jamie Foxx as Henry Purcell, Jessica Biel as Kara Wade, and Josh Lucas as Ben Gannon are three advanced aircraft pilots, flying some of the coolest planes the not-so-distant future has to offer.
They are flyboys/ girls with all the requisite swagger and bravado to stay up to the task. Imagine a slightly futuristic version of Top Gun with the planes a little stealthier and the plot a lot more ridiculous.
Jamie Foxx and company are tasked with flying a new set of aircraft technology, more advanced than the world has seen before. But they are also given another “personality” that is coming along with their group. That’s in the form of EDI, an artificial intelligence-imbued Stealth jet that is developing a mind and moral code of its own. The government has tasked this new plane to lead the group through missions and make the toughest decisions. Here, check out the trailer for Stealth.
Of course, EDI heads off the reservation when it is struck by lightning on the way back from one of the group’s missions. This has it now a rogue aircraft, capable of maximum destruction and making decisions on its own. Jamie Foxx and the rest of the group have to find a way to take it down while also fighting a possible conspiracy within their own ranks. From this point of view, Stealth has all the hallmarks of your standard action film. The set pieces look cool, the cast looks even cooler and the story is about as thin and implausible as you could ever dream. In short, I can see why it’s doing well on Netflix. This is about as brainless as they come and those movies have a place in our viewing patterns.
There was a lot of hype around Stealth when it first came out. For starters, Jamie Foxx was coming off of the Oscar-winning performance in Ray the year prior. He was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his part alongside Tom Cruise in Collateral. So his star was at its relative peak. And they put together a solid cast at the time as well with Sam Shepard and Wentworth Miller joining Foxx and the other pilots. Plus director Rob Cohen had just come off directing surprise hits like The Fast and the Furious and xXx. So everything was lining up well with Stealth right? Wrong.
Stealth was a box office bomb of the highest order. On its more than $135 million budget, it managed to claw back only $79 million dollars in ticket sales. This is such an unmitigated disaster that it’s hard to even really fathom in a non-pandemic time. Adjusted for inflation, the movie goes down as one of the biggest box office bombs of all time. And the critical response was (almost) arguably worse. It’s currently sitting at 12% on Rotten Tomatoes and 35 on Metacritic. One would have to think that Jamie Foxx would like to have this one back.
But a box office setback like this isn’t enough to derail the career of an all-time talent like Jamie Foxx. He’s gone on to make all manner of movies over the years. Have all been massive hits? Of course not. But there are plenty of great ones in there. You win some, you lose some.
Jamie Foxx has plenty coming down the pike for the big and small screen. Among many projects, he is going to play Mike Tyson in a limited series about the famous boxer. He’s also going to play a vampire hunter in Netflix’s Day Shift which should hit the streamer sometime next year. Plus there’s They Cloned Tyrone with John Boyega and Teyonah Paris set to hit the big screen next year as well. And, of course, we will see his Electro back when Spider-Man: No Way Home releases later this year.