Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Eagle Eye - DVD Review

EAGLE EYE (**) - Starring Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, Billy Bob Thornton, Rosario Dawson, Michael Chiklis, Ethan Embry and Anthony Mackie.
Directed by D.J. Caruso.

Kalukistan? Really? Did I hear that right? Because at first I thought I heard them call it Palooka-stan, and I knew the filmmakers weren't that cynical. I'm not a big fan on made-up countries in movies, unless it's something like Freedonia with Pres. Groucho Marx. Or Moldavia from Dynasty, but then, Moldavia eventually became a real country.

I am almost over Shia LaBeouf. I've been rooting for him ever since I saw Holes and season 2 of Project Greenlight. The movie he made on that series - The Battle of Shaker Heights - wound up being forgettable tripe, but Shia had professionalism about him, and he seemed like a good kid. His persona, though, hasn't evolved beyond the fast-talking hustler type, where he's pretty much been the same character in the last four or five movies he's done.

So we now come to Eagle Eye, from Disturbia director D. J. Caruso, and it comes off as a Jon Turteltaub remake of The Game, with some Enemy of the State thrown in, containing a third-act revelation that's hard to swallow, even in a movie like this. (Diagram that sentence, Abbott!)

The movie gets its name from a government project that enhances its ability to spy on its citizens. Hence this female voice is able to call Jerry (Shia) no matter where he is, and give him instructions that he must follow right then. She can see through every camera, hear every cell call, access every database, jam any signal...

Jerry must go on the run because he finds himself being framed for terrorism. Meanwhile "she" is putting him through a series of tasks he must complete if he wants to stay alive. Billy Bob Thornton is the determined FBI agent hunting Jerry down, and like Gerard from The Fugitive, he eventually figured maybe Jerry's innocent of what they're pursuing him for.

I don't want to hint at the reveal, as I figured it out well before it happened, much to my chagrin ("they're not really going down this path, are they?..."). It has some good chase scenes, but otherwise, allow me to damn it with faint praise by saying it's better than Jumper.

And I'm hoping Shia chooses something a little more challenging once he's done with Transformers 2.

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