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Overall Rating

Awesome: 4.08%
Worth A Look: 26.53%
Average: 14.29%
Pretty Bad30.61%
Total Crap: 24.49%

4 reviews, 25 user ratings

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Eagle Eye
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Matt Seaver

"Shia... I wish I could hate you..."
2 stars

Stupid movies have carved out a nice little niche in America. They cost little, they do well, and they are often forgotten shortly after audiences leave the auditorium. The problem is that those tend to be comedies. “Eagle Eye” is not a comedy. But boy, is it ever stupid. On the bright side, it could be a lot worse.

I don't want to give the wrong idea. I enjoyed the heck out of Eagle Eye. While I was watching it, it was a damn good movie... most of the time. Occasionally, I would have a flash of realization that something I was seeing onscreen was completely absurd, ridiculous, misguided, paranoid or just plain idiotic. But then something would blow up REALLY BIG, and I would be sucked back in. In that way, I think the movie does exactly what it was designed to do – it's escapism at every possible level. But the way the plot is written, there may be people out there (re: stupid people) who try to see it as more than it is. If you fail to categorize the twist as absolutely moronic, then we have a problem.

Now, I can't go into what that twist is, really. In fact, giving away anything about the plot beyond what is shown in trailers and advertisements would be unfair. To start, we have two seemingly unconnected stories. The first is Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf), a super slacker working at a Chicago copy center in between hands of a nightly poker game. Jerry's life kind of sucks – crappy job, crappy apartment, no savings to speak of – but early on you get the impression that if he wanted to, he could move beyond that life. There must be something attractive about it. Tragedy hits Jerry's family, which reveals a lot about the choices he's made, and upon returning home for the night, he finds his crappy apartment stuffed to the gills with weaponry, explosives, and classified intelligence. His cell phone rings, and a woman gives him instructions to run. He doesn't, he gets arrested, the woman calls again and helps him escape... we've all seen this clip in the trailer.

The second story is about Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan). We meet her as she is bringing her son Sam to a train station in Chicago for a trip with his school band to Washington, D.C. Naturally, she's nervous, and her deadbeat ex-husband's presence doesn't help anything. Luckily, we don't see him again. After putting Sam on the train, her cell rings, and the same woman threatens her son. Rachel complies, ending up driving the car the picks up the escaping Jerry Shaw. From there, they are on the run together, completing assignments from the mystery woman without really knowing what the end game is.

It's about at this point that the movie turns deeply stupid. In the opening segment, we met Secretary of Defense Callister (Michael Chiklis), and his story is the one that reveals the mysterious woman to us. And it's deeply, painfully idiotic. I caught it about half an hour prior to the reveal, and I quietly swore that if it turned out to be true (which it was), I might leave the theater. I didn't. After the movie ended, I started talking about it with my girlfriend, and we picked it clean before we got to the restaurant down the street for dinner. Particularly involving the mystery woman's methods of getting Jerry and Rachel to where she needs them to be, there are leaps of logic over gaps so vast that they almost come off as clever at first, since there's no way in hell that YOU would have thought of doing things this way. But after a quick discussion, you'll quickly figure out that the reason you wouldn't have thought of it is because it's a damn stupid idea. This became a pretty common theme in our post-movie chat.

At least those goofy methods showed a bit of creativity, something the actual story lacked severely. Listing the works that Eagle Eye borrows from would be too blatant a giveaway, but it's clear these guys watched Live Free or Die Hard and read Debt of Honor by Tom Clancy, mixed in with certain unnamed cinema classics, and decided that a good filmmaking method would be to ram all of these things into each other head first and see what emerged.

The good news in all of this is that D.J. Caruso puts together a fun little action movie in spite of the plot. The first car chase, when Rachel picks up Jerry, is a chaotic mess. I've railed against miserable editing in action sequences, but this one was ROUGH. There were points when I couldn't even tell which car was in the shot, let alone important details like where they were, how many cars were chasing them, or who was in said cars. It was bad, but luckily it was not repeated. Each member of the supporting cast gets their big moment, Billy Bob Thornton and Rosario Dawson specifically, and everyone performs quite well. These are not Oscar performances, but they're all capable of the action thrown at them and all serve to advance the ludicrous story toward its inevitably moronic end. There are a few really fun sequences, specifically one in a tunnel with Thornton and LaBeouf, that make the movie much more enjoyable. Caruso is serviceable, showing most of the action from a respectable distance and allowing us to actually see what is going on.

The most important thing to come out of this film for me is that I must begrudgingly lay to rest my inherent dislike of Shia LaBeouf. The guy has it. While “It” is not by any means an overflowing fountain of talent, he has demonstrated that he has what it takes to hold a movie together, either by himself or as the centerpiece off of which the supporting cast is working. He is downright watchable in this one, and handles himself pretty well. Monaghan simply reinforced my idea that I will watch her in just about anything – she is quickly approaching underrated status, and I hope she'll break out of that soon.

My advice on “Eagle Eye” is this: watch it, enjoy it, and then forget that you saw it. If I had written a review immediately after the credits – I mean sitting in the theater without talking about it with anyone – I think it might have gotten another star or two. The movie falls apart after the simplest examination, and it's a shame to ruin it like that. Two stars is because there's a fun two hours here. Just don't try to push it past that.

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originally posted: 10/02/08 01:24:11
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: Fantastic Fest 2008 For more in the Fantastic Fest 2008 series, click here.

User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell silly but exciting 4 stars
5/07/10 BAReFOOt Switched off after the IT’S A TRAP scene at the beginning. Too fuckin’ retarded! 1 stars
2/24/10 Peter North I'd like to drill Monaghan's eagle eye....beside that, movie stunk. too predictable. 3 stars
9/06/09 kmsj a didnt understand the movie but, its enjoyable. 3 stars
8/28/09 JJ logic is gone , so are my precious hours 1 stars
8/13/09 Dan Even drunk this would be impossible to enjoy. Just so dumb. 1 stars
7/13/09 mr.mike It was aight. 4 stars
4/20/09 Beau Despite the farfetched moments, the film was quite enjoyable 4 stars
2/17/09 Matt Cool car chases, but the most turdsome screenplay in living memory 2 stars
1/21/09 mike car chase was the best ever. awesome movie 5 stars
1/07/09 Ubias Black Guy Totally fell asleep watching this but according to the review I ddin't miss much. 3 stars
1/06/09 gc lots of chases, running around from one place to the next, but where's the plot here? 2 stars
1/02/09 action movie fan evil super computer scapegoats labeouf and others-some action overdone,but a fun movie stil 4 stars
12/30/08 Jon G fun movie with stupid ending 4 stars
12/07/08 matt hey kid, i'm a computer. stop all the downloadin. preposterous but fun. 4 stars
12/04/08 Anthony Feor Un-inspired storyline and choppy editing outpaces good performances 1 stars
11/21/08 Shaun Wallner Fell asleep to this one. 1 stars
10/22/08 Erik This is your basic popcorn flick don't expect much 3 stars
10/05/08 IndyFan wow.....take a pill.... 3 stars
10/04/08 Samantha Pruitt fast pased and a lot of action, great car chase! 4 stars
10/04/08 Bethany I thought it was amazing, with Shia as good as usual 5 stars
9/29/08 George Barksdale Exciting in spots, but get impression I have seen this before. Than realize I have. 3 stars
9/28/08 Roy It makes less than no sense at all. 2 stars
9/27/08 Bob dumb movie 3 stars
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  26-Sep-2008 (PG-13)
  DVD: 27-Dec-2008


  DVD: 28-Dec-2008

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