Eagle Eye (2008)

D.J. Caruso

Shia LeBeouf - Jerry Shaw/Ethan Shaw
Michelle Monaghan - Rachel Holloman
Rosario Dawson - Agent Zoe Perez
Billy Bob Thornton - Agent Thomas Morgan
Michael Chiklis - Defense Secretary Callister

Genre - Action/Thriller

Running Time - 118 Minutes

Score - 2 Howls Outta 4

There are people who we can't see who are watching out every move. Whether we're walking, driving, eating, sleeping, going to the bathroom - our private lives are becoming more public. This is due to the advancement in modern technology, especially when it comes to cameras and now cellphones that can record photos and videos. We see it all the time - from reality shows, to those programs that show police chases and outrageous moments, to the massive popularity of YouTube and others like it. While new technology is great, the negatives are becoming more obvious. It appears our future society will be increasingly voyeuristic.

But what if this technology boom goes to a place where it's able to control our every move and our every word via threats on our lives? Can computers really grow a brain and indulge in the corruption of power? The Steven Spielberg produced EAGLE EYE attempts to answer that question. While there's much to see in EAGLE EYE, the reasons as to why you should are very limited.

Jerry Shaw (Shia LeBeouf) is your typical slacker who happens to be a Stanford University dropout who works at a copy store. While dealing with his twin brother's, Ethan's, death, he finds out he has about $750,000 in his ATM account. Yeah, this sounds awesome - until he returns home to find a whole bunch of illegal weapons and bomb making material that most terrorists would envy to own. All of a sudden, Jerry starts receiving phone calls from a female voice (an uncredited Julianne Moore) telling if that if he doesn't escape his apartment in 30 seconds, the feds will arrest him. Jerry listens and goes on the run.

At the same time, a single mother named Rachel (Michelle Monaghan) sends her son on a trip for some band camp thing. While hanging out with her friends, her "son" calls her. The caller happens to be the same caller who's haunting Jerry, making the two meet each other and carry out its dirty work. Along the way, FBI Agents Thomas Morgan (Billy Bob Thornton) and Zoe Perez (Rosario Dawson) attempt to hunt Jerry and Rachel down, until they finally learn that technology has completely taken over humankind.

Eh. That's really how to describe EAGLE EYE. Sure it has actions and thrills, but underneath it all is an extremely flawed and convoluted story that deteriorates as soon as it reaches the last half. This is the type of film where the brain will need to be turned off if you want to really enjoy this. Say what you want about Michael Bay action flicks, but at least they have some sort of story that works along with the action. This one really has none.

EAGLE EYE pretty much takes devices used by other films such as TERMINATOR, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, and so on - puts them in a blender and attempts to create a coherent action film. And as much as there is a smudge of an attempt of social commentary about the negatives of technology in the future [which has been done to death by the films I mentioned above - and done BETTER], EAGLE EYE is no George Orwell's 1984. The story has too many flaws to overlook and it just nags at you throughout the 2 hour running time [which feels a half hour too long in itself]. Seriously, why would such a superior technological entity who is able to control every technological device in the free world want humans to help it rule the world by dragging them through such a wild goose chase? Why would it need slaves if it can work itself? Couldn't the computer just taken over the world without anyone really knowing and made things easier for itself? Why play God? It makes no friggin' sense if you really think about it. Even the computer's main goal was ridiculous and illogical. HAL 9000 could kick this bitch's ass! Sure, we get decent action sequences out of it, but that doesn't create suspense or thrills. Especially when we barely know who the main characters are or why they happened to be chosen for this role. There's no real character development at all here for anyone in this film. I thought the supercomputer controlling them all had more personality than the humans. Without a level of intimacy and understanding who these characters are, why should we care what happens to them? Because it could happen to us? Big deal. I'd probably be two steps ahead of this supercomputer and figure how to stop it before any of these idiots would. Any thinking person would be able to figure it all out fairly quickly. Or anyone who has seen TERMINATOR anyway. It's amazing that FOUR screenwriters scripted this movie, yet nothing about the film was remotely original. Wow.

Like I said, the action is pretty good. Cars explode. Military hardware is used alot. There's a nighttime chase. Nothing that we haven't seen before. At least the action is entertaining somewhat and the film never really slows down to bore you. It looks good. Nothing more I can really say about it.

D.J. Caruso, who also directed Shia LeBeouf in the much better DISTURBIA, tries to emulate what Michael Bay has done in all of his action films and only mildly succeeding. The film looks polished. The action sequences are shot well. But the shaky-cam effect is in the house again, as well as a lot of unneeded closeups, and quick cuts. And unlike in DISTURBIA, there is no suspense or tension at all here. Someone needs to tell the dude that showing shit exploding on screen doesn't substitute two important elements in a thriller. When an action film doesn't display any amount of heart and soul and just ends up being cold and standoffish, what's the point?

The acting is what you would expect from this great cast. Nothing surprising here. Shia LeBeouf plays Shia LeBeouf again, but with facial hair to make him look older. The guy is a good actor and he's likeable in every film he's in, but the guy needs to join Ellen Page and try a new act. It's getting pretty boring by now. Let's end the typecasting now, Shia. Michelle Monaghan is cute but doesn't do much for me here, honestly. She plays her role well enough but never takes it to the next level. She and LeBeouf don't have romantic chemistry, which isn't needed here anyway, but they don't share much on-screen buddy chemistry either. I dunno...the two just didn't click for me. Billy Bob Thornton plays the same imbrasive character he normally plays, but it's more subdued while still being slightly funny. He's really the highlight of the film in his federal agent role. Rosario Dawson does enough with the material she's given. And Michael Chiklis is totally wasted here as the Secretary of Defense. He disappears for like half the film before popping up again to remind everyone he's still part of the story. Um, okay. And is that Ethan Embry I saw? Why is this dude not getting meatier roles?


- Julianne Moore is the voice of the supercomputer. Now I know who's behind all those annoying telemarketing calls I get. It's not my fault HANNIBAL sucked!

- The game Rock Band was advertised in the film. It only made me want to play Rock Band 2 rather than wasting my time watching this. At least my awesome vocal abilities on The Sweet's "Action!" are a lot more entertaining than any of the action in this film.

- Rachel's kid plays the trumpet. As a former trumpet player myself, he's already cool in my book. Unless he plays the human trumpet...then I can't really comment on that due to my lack of experience. Learn something from this, Sarah Palin!

is crap. But it's entertaining crap that happens to manage itself into an average popcorn, dumb-as-rocks movie. While it made $30 million at the weekend box office, save your money for a much better movie. This one can wait until DVD, where it belongs. Let's pray these actors star in a much better film worthy of their talents because EAGLE EYE is mainly for the paycheck. Want the corruption of technology? Watch 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. Want to be Paris Hilton for two hours? Watch EAGLE EYE. The choice is yours.

1 comment:

  1. Nice Review Fred - I am glad that you saw this one 1st, as I trust your opinion, and I will just wait for DVD :-)



Related Posts with Thumbnails