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RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes
It’s such a blatant rip off of Eagle Eye that they have a preview for Eagle Eye on the disc.
Starring Shane West, Ed-fucking-Burns, Ving Rhames, Jonathan god-damn Pryce and Martin ‘fuck it, I’m not doing anything this weekend’ Sheen
Written by: Michael Nitsberg and Kevin Elders
Directed by: Greg Marcks
Jerry Shaw is an amiable slacker with an over-achieving twin brother. After his twin dies in an accident, strange things happen to Jerry at a dizzying pace: a fortune shows up in his bank account, weapons are delivered to his flat, and a voice on his cell phone tells him the police are on their way. Jerry follows the voice’s instructions, and soon he and a woman he’s never met are racing through the city, on to a plane, and eventually to the Pentagon, chased by the FBI. She is Rachel Holloman, a single mom; the voice has threatened her son’s death if she doesn’t cooperate. The voice seems to know everything. Who is behind it, what is being planned, and why Jerry and Rachel?
Oh, sorry. No, I got confused. Wrong movie! They both start with ‘E’, it could happen to anyone.
Alright, maybe I’m being too hard on ‘Echelon Conspiracy’. There are actually times where it rises above its C-grade roots and manages to surprise you. A well shot and choreographed stunt, a well shot love scene, a well shot shootout. But if you’ll notice, the good things are most often found in the technical department. You perk up when the characters are in danger, as you’re supposed to, not because you intrinsically care about anyone, but because holy hell, something is finally happening.
‘Eagle Eye’ is by no definition a good movie. It’s frenzied, disjointed, badly edited and ridiculous. But it does have something ‘Echelon Conspiracy’: the Beef. Say what you will about Shia LaBouf, but he’s always bringing his game face to the show. I will watch him in anything. He’s charismatic, handsome and charming. Shane West, on the other hand, is neither charismatic or charming, and his handsomeness is in question. The life of any given scene is sucked out when he’s around. He’s the poor shmuch caught in the crossfire, and is written as the poorest and blandest of shmucks. It’s the guys on the periphery that I want to see.
Look at that cast! Look at it! When the hell does Ed Burns show up in movies anymore? These are people you want to see in a movie better than this. The movie floats on your desire to see these guys on screen. That is it. They bring just enough of an extra dimension to their characters that you a) wish no harm on them and b) will listen to the inane babble they are forced to speak. Sheen in particular gets to chew the scenery, and Ving Rhames might as well be fighting zombies. But dammit, they’re good at being themselves and that is all the movie calls for.
The script itself has to be bullied into something resembling drama. Easy ways are taken at every turn. Hey tough FBI man, can’t get this guy to talk? Oh, it’s okay, you believe him. That makes it all better. What? You’re going to ruin a potential twist by showing us the twist before the twisting point would happen? Phew, I was thinking I’d have to work for a minute there. With all these easy avenues and escapes, the conflict becomes almost non-existent. There’s no personal loss at stake for the characters and the mystery, which is obvious to anyone over 8 and/or who have seen ‘Eagle Eye’ isn’t new, unique or intriguing. It’s dull. Add all of these up and you have a very tepid movie that plods along, lacking in suspense and drama.
The ultimate villain of the piece, which I’ll give you ten seconds to consider, is lacking in motivation. The plans are set, we see what will happen if, but how did this happen? Give the nature of this conspiracy, the big bad acts more as a MacGuffin for all this shit to happen. And the method of destruction towards our favorite villain, oh, it’s worthy of Captain Kirk. I’d call it ingenious, but it’s so ho-hum that it’s almost insulting. I say ‘almost’ because at least ‘Echelon Conspiracy’ is consistently ho-hum.
Nobody’s heart is in this movie. It’s as if they saw the trailer for ‘Eagle Eye’ during shooting and just said ‘fuck it’. It wants to make some grand statement of privacy and civil liberties, but it fails there. Hell, even ‘EE’ which literally beat you over the head with its message, did it better. Things happen and there’s a small ‘oh…neat’ from the audience, and we go back wishing we were watching something else. What on earth would I rather be watching…
There are no special features on the disc. The movie is a good looking piece of cinema, nothing breathtaking but it’s clear there was a technical eye in previz. Having a well storyboarded movie also minimizes the amount of time an actor needs to be on set, something I am certain Jonathan Pryce adored (three scenes, two locations!). The sound is Dolby 5.1, but hey, what isn’t?