STUDIO: Dreamworks Video
MSRP: $22.99
RUNNING TIME: 118 minutes
Deleted scenes
Road Trip: On Location with the Cast & Crew
• Alternate Ending
Asymmetrical Warfare: The Making of Eagle Eye
Is My Cell Phone Spying on Me?
Shall We Play a Game?
• Gag reel
Photo Gallery

The Pitch

It’s Enemy of the State meets I, Robot except Will Smith looks like Shia LaBeouf.

The Humans

Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, Billy bob Thornton, Rosario Dawson, Michael Chiklis, Ethan Embry, Anthony Mackie.

The Nutshell

Slacker Jerry Shaw (LaBeouf) is scraping by in a marginal life, working at a copy center and playing poker just to try to eke out rent money.  His identical twin brother, Ethan, who was the complete opposite of Jerry, smart, motivated, and beloved by his father, has just died in a car crash.  This sets off a string of highly unusual occurrences in Jerry’s life, including finding a roomful of terrorist weaponry and fake passports in his apartment and a call from a woman on the phone telling him he’s been “activated.”  He’s picked up by the FBI for terrorism charges and is aided by the woman on the phone in escaping.  This woman is hooked into everything electronic and shepherds Jerry and his impromptu traveling companion, Rachel Holloman (Monaghan), who’s also been “activated” through an FBI dragnet toward an unknown mission to Washington, D.C.

“Yes, Mr. Spielberg?  It’s Shia.  Yeah, this one is wrapping up.  What else you got for me?  E.T. remake?  Kooky.  Can we do the flying bikes bit with Harleys and leather jackets instead?  OK, I’m in…”

The Lowdown

The concept for Eagle Eye is hardly a new one, but timely as we’ve truly arrived to a point in time where all of our technology is so interconnected as to be ridiculous.  However two key elements would otherwise make this entire movie an exercise in futility and the hoops that have to be jumped through, considering other alternatives, make the film border on the ludicrous.  Shia LaBeouf, who apparently is Steven Spielberg’s newest adopted child, doesn’t get to play to his strengths and the entire film’s lapses in logic ultimately sink it. 

If you read Devin’s review all the way through, then you already know the secret of the mastermind behind all of the shenanigans: it’s the government’s most sophisticated computer brain, ARIA, able to hook into everything electronic, analyze planets of data and keep the US of A safe.  It’s basically a Skynet that hasn’t decided to play Global Thermonuclear War yet.  It can arrange virtually any scenario, draw upon any data source and formulate hopelessly complex scenarios in order to accomplish its goals.  It decides that a few serious changes have to be made and rationalizes this by the words of the Founding Fathers of all things.  The problem is that it’s under safeguards that prevent it from carrying out these plans, which is where Jerry Shaw comes in. 

“Michelle Monaghan, you’ve been activated.  You will proceed home and disrobe in front of your webcam, slowly.  Then you will – “

“Give it up, Oliver…”

In order to make its plans work, ARIA needs Jerry, and orchestrates a Rube Goldberg series of events in order to get him.  Of course Jerry’s not the type of guy that’s easy to root for.  In fact, he’s a loser by choice, having it set in his mind that he’s the parasitic twin that should have been absorbed by his genius twin brother Ethan in the womb.  His fellow fly on the web is single mom Rachel, who is involved because ARIA has threatened her son, who is on a train trip to Washington to play at the Kennedy Center.  On the heels of Jerry and Rachel, who are forced to commit virtually every crime short of murder in order to fulfill ARIA’s demands, are FBI Agent Thomas Morgan (Thornton) and Air Force operative Zoe Perez (Dawson). 

“So yeah, the cutting herself with knives thing and the wanting to be a funeral director thing and the kissing her brother on the lips at the Oscars thing and the writing Jonny Lee Miller’s name in her own blood on her black leather pants at her first wedding thing and the lesbian thing and the wanting to wear vials of each other’s blood around our necks thing wasn’t what ultimately did it in for us.  None of those things.”

“Then what thing?”

“It was the wanting to adopt the whole freakin’ planet thing…”

The two main issues with the plot of the film are that without Jerry’s unique relationship with his brother, the entire thing wouldn’t be possible, and second, that if ARIA is capable of doing everything it can, then it would have been far easier to just take control of a couple of drones with missiles (which it does in one sequence) or a cruise missile in order to accomplish its objectives.  But for the sake of plot, it has to perform like a trained seal in order to make things happen.  And if it’s able to do things like overload a power line and execute a pinpoint drop on some poor bastard, then it shouldn’t have any problem seeing its mission through by less complicated means.  Even taking into account the irreversible need to get Jerry, it still had the missile option rather than the labyrinthine plot it has to undertake.

“Shane?  This is Mackey.  Some chick just called me and said she knows about Crowley.  No I don’t know how.  Did you have an iPhone with you or something…?” 

I like D.J. Caruso and LaBeouf, but a lot of the choices that Caruso makes in this film and how he chooses to present LaBeouf, without playing to his proven abilities, do them both disservice.  I do hope to see them both work again, just not in a sequel.  Monaghan doesn’t get to display much of the likable qualities that she’s capable of as her character is more exposition and love interest (and bomb delivery) than anything else.  Billy Bob though does get the bulk of the juicy character action as his Morgan is a card rife with one liners.  If you can check your brain at the door, like shit getting blowed up real good and conspiracy theories, this might be a decent rental if you’ve seen everything else on the rack or just have to have your LaBeouf fix.

“…and don’t worry about Mikaela, Sam, I’ll take real good care of her…”

The Package

The film does look good and the sound is fine, with optional English 5.1 Surround or French or Spanish, with matching subtitles.  This is a two disc set and on Disc 1 are three deleted scenes totaling about 3.5 minutes and an on location featurette, Road Trip, which runs about three minutes.  Disc 2 has more features, including an alternate ending that was the right decision in not using.  Asymmetrical Warfare: The Making of Eagle Eye is a standard but nonetheless pretty good behind-the-scenes that runs about 25 minutes.  Eagle Eye on Location: Washington, D.C. is another location featurette that runs about six minutes.  Is My Cell Phone Spying on Me? is a nine-minute big brother / technology cautionary featurette.  Shall We Play a Game? is a surprising piece where Caruso interviews his mentor and director of WarGames, John Badham and runs about nine minutes.  A gag reel and trailers round out the offerings.

CHUD site “upgrade” complete.  Downloading all Chewer information…

6.0 out of 10

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