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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Movie Review: Eagle Eye

After Disturbia became a surprise hit last year, Hollywood wasted no time in reuniting director D.J. Caruso and Shia Labeouf for another sure to be hit. They had the director, and they had the main lead, all that was left was the female, the action, and the story. To solve the first problem Michelle Monaghan was cast, an action which I applauded. The second problem was solved by deciding to turn the whole film into a chase movie with a side of government phone tapping just for kicks. Once they had their money making template set up Eagle Eye needed a story and for that they began to pick their favorite scenes from similar plotted films and just changed the characters and location.

Eagle Eye starts off with a confusing attack on a middle eastern could be terrorist that doesn’t make much sense. A flying jet, or camera on a jet, sees a man and deduces that it has a 51% of being the man that they are looking for. The soldiers watching debate as to whether or not fire upon this person and in the end the president deems the chance to big to pass up and they fire. I don’t recall this ever being important in the movie ever again. Then we cut to Shia Labeouf’s character Jerry who works at a copy story. One day he gets a call telling him that his twin brother has just died and when he returns from the funeral he finds mountains of weapons, bombs, and equipment manuals stashed in his house. A woman calls him on his phone and tells him to run because he’s been “activated” and when he refuses the FBI reach his room and arrest him. At the same time Monaghan’s character Rachel drops her son off to go play at some form of symphony orchestra in Washington D.C. (I feel it is important to note here that this child can’t be more than eight, and this is obviously a small class of modern Beethovens) While she is drinking at a bar with some friends the same woman that called Jerry calls her and tells her that she has been “activated” and must follow her directions if she ever wants to see her son again.

This woman sets in motion a huge escape in which Jerry leaps from FBI holdings onto a train track and eventually meets up with Rachel. The two are closely followed by FBI officer Thomas Morgan (Billy Bob Thornton) and Air Force officer Zoe Perez (Rosario Dawson). Soon the voice is giving Jerry and Rachel directions and altering traffic signals, listening in on cell phones, and even controlling cranes to attack following police cars. The whole movie takes place with Jerry and Rachel running away from the FBI while the voice (who is played by Julianne Moore by the way) makes everything easy for them and most of the time kills all followers or obstacles which pretty much takes the suspense away.

The acting is acceptable. Labeouf has one cringe worthy scene but for the most part passes through the film, as does Monaghan even though they have little material to work with. Thornton actually gave the best performance but that’s not saying much. While he had some good one liners, most of other lines were attempts at humor that came off as annoying after a while. The voice also does a great job at reminding video game players of Portal, so at least that feeling could make people happier during this film. Overall the acting isn’t great, and it isn’t bad. It isn’t in acting where the movie fails.

No, it’s everywhere else. You can complain about the horrible story or the countless rip off from movies like I, Robot, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and even Live Free or Die Hard to a certain extent. As a whole though the movie just doesn’t work in any way. The suspense is gone completely seeing how everything is perfectly set up for the characters so it doesn’t work in that department. The story is completely predictable so there’s no “Aaaaaaah” moment when characters suddenly realize something that you’ve just assumed has been true for the last half hour, and the movie is just too boring to really thrill you. You laugh at some scenes when you shouldn’t, at other times you roll your eyes at the events unfolding on screen, and at other times you grunt in anger at the fact that you feel like you really are watching something you’ve already seen before. Eagle Eye worked on nearly no level for me which is a shame since I enjoyed Disturbia and had high expectations for this one. Unfortunately the movie doesn’t deliver at all and I would have given it at least a generous 2.5 if they hadn’t copped out at the end. The movie could have at least ended great but they went cheesy and stupid and so I find nothing redeeming in this film and give it 1.5/5.

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