Stealth Fighter (1999) – Review

3 Stars

There are two sides of the Jim Wynorski filmography, one is filled with grade A B-Movies and the other is cluttered with soft-core porn featuring recognizable faces from the world of hardcore. Stealth Fighter, which is credited to Wynorski’s well-known pseudonym Jay Andrews, is the kind of low-budget military thriller that plays right into the strengths of the often over-looked filmmaker. Sure, there is a ton of stock footage and the opening and closing credit scroll is dragged out to the breaking point so that this scant story could make the feature release running-time but this is upper echelon Wynorski, which is why he is obviously hiding behind the fictitious name.

The opening shot is an homage to the meeting in Predator between Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers. Two hands clasp, one black the other white. It’s an apt visual metaphor to suggest the rivalry between Owen Turner (Ice-T) and Ryan Mitchell (Costas Mandylor), a pair of naval pilots that are competitive to the point of physical altercations. The film starts with an aerial raid on a Nicaraguan drug compound in the mid-1980s, during the course of the mission Turner fakes his own death.

Years later Turner has reemerged as the partner of a ruthless Cartel Boss (Andrew Divoff) in Latin America. The duo is responsible for the hijacking of a satellite with nuclear capabilities, stealing a stealth fighter from a Philippines air-force base and taking over a U.S. submarine. Mitchell is recruited by the President to infiltrate the villains lair and recover the Stealth fighter plane.

There are a few fun touches throughout, my favorite being a fight that ends with the hero chomping off the bad guy’s ear then quipping, “Everybody wants to be like Mike”. Stealth Fighter is being sold as a Broken Arrow knock off, but in actuality there is a lot more ground fighting, fisticuffs and guerrilla warfare rather than aerial combat. Costas Mandylor is an ok choice for the lead, outside of Mobsters I had never seen him in anything else. Ice-T is good at playing Ice-T and that is exactly what you’d expect from the rapper/actor. As far as rapper cross-overs he’s not the worst by far nor anywhere near the best. Ernie Hudson, the B-movie Morgan Freeman, is cast as an African-American President of the Unites States years before Obama got into office, making Wynorski somewhat of a prophet.

Director: Jay Andrews (Jim Wynorski)
Stars Ice-T, Costas Mandylor, Erika Elenia

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