Eagle Eye (Blu-Ray) (2008)
"You think I'm a terrorist?"- Jerry Shaw (Shia LeBeouf)
Stars: Shia LeBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, Billy Bob Thornton
Other Stars: Rosario Dawson, Michael Chiklis, William Sadler, Anthony Mackie, Ethan Embry, Bill Smitrovich, Cameron Boyce, Lynn Cohen, Charles Carroll
Director: D.J. Caruso
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, and for language
Run Time: 01h:57m:33s
Release Date: 2008-12-28
Genre: techno thriller
DVD ReviewEagle Eye is the sort of high gloss action thriller that operates under the assumption the viewer isn't necessarily looking for any semblance of real-life logic; instead what director D.J. Caruso provides is a film that exists strictly to serve as an escape valve, a neat example of the term "popcorn movie" that gleefully propels a couple of innocent strangers through a meat grinder of action set pieces that eventually push them to the big moment of truth.
Caruso, as he did with the Rear-Window-for-teens reimagining of Disturbia, lays out the generally likeable and often maligned Shia LaBeouf as his lead, here playing lowly Copy Cabana worker Jerry Shaw. After he's setup as being a potential terrorist, Shaw is quickly put on the run when a mysterious female voice on his cell phone orchestrates a complex escape plan involving a giant construction crane, and he is soon paired up with single mom Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan), who also has been "activated" by the same mysterious voice. As the voice tells them: "desertion is not an option".
The voice on the phone provides explicit instructions to Jerry and Rachel on how to escape, and exerts a creepy Big Brother level of control by displaying the ability to operate traffic lights, coordinate accidents, derail commuter trains, spell out instructions on nearly any digital sign, use high voltage lines as a murder weapon and turn airport baggage carousels into a rollercoaster. With determined FBI agent Thomas Morgan (Billy Bob Thornton) on their tail, Jerry and Rachel's convoluted adventures become sequentially more logic-free (though certainly fun to watch) as the film progresses, eventually revealing the plot particulars that threaten to push this one into the realm of supreme dumbness. The good news for Caruso is that by the time the ridiculously complicated meat-and-potatoes of the story is unearthed about an hour in, you're either onboard for the action or you've already hit the eject button.
This is the kind of film that revels in its own techno-absurdity, but somehow does so with generally exciting action/chase sequences, and a cast that makes the nuttier bits easier to swallow. LaBeouf does his usual wiseass accidental hero bit (see Disturbia, Transformers, Indiana Jones and The Crystal Skull), yet proves himself to be the kind of lead actor that can do more than just utter one-liners, and for all the mocking this guy seems to get in the press I find him to be a very watchable performer, and the type that can easily carry a big brainless action film such as this. Billy Bob Thornton once again elevates things up a notch or two here, and he doesn't simply do his take on the Tommy-Lee-Jones-from-The-Fugitive, and his character has a bit more definition. Early on Michelle Monaghan doesn't get much to do but be the exasperated sidekick, but eventually late in the story she is given the opportunity to flesh out Rachel more, and she is given a couple of moral dilemmas that give her character some heft.
I have the ability to disengage my brain when necessary for some films, and Eagle Eye is most definitely one of those. It moves quickly, plays fast-and-loose with technology, and even tries to deliver a V For Vendetta-esque message of excessive governmental control that also borrows a little from a certain 1983 thriller that was high-tech for the time, involving another couple of young folks on the run.
It seems wrong to admit liking Eagle Eye as much as I did, because the story is so preposterous and illogical, but I can get dragged along without complaining too much when the package is so shiny and noisy.
Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: C+
|Aspect Ratio||2.35:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Eagle Eye comes from Dreamworks in an AVC-encoded 2.35:1 presentation. Despite a purposeful color hue that often applies a layer of metallic blues to the visuals, the transfer itself is richly detailed, most dramatically during the brighter outdoor sequences. Black levels are deep, allowing the frequent night scenes and dimly lit interiors to carry the same impressive level of detail throughout. No evidence of major compression concerns, nor are there any print blemishes to contend with.
Image Transfer Grade: A-
Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless audio track is a fine compliment to the onscreen action, using all channels to create the type of enveloping mix that the genre demands. Voice quality is clear, and a substantial .LFE presence gives a boomy kick to the car chases.
French and Spanish 5.1 surround dubs are also included.
Audio Transfer Grade: A-
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Deleted Scenes
1 Alternate Endings
Packaging: standard Blu-ray packaging
Extras Review: In what I hope is a more common trend for BD titles, all of the supplements—with the exception of a photo gallery—are presented in HD. The other upside is there's a fair amount of content here, though unfortunately none of it is especially noteworthy.
A set of four short deleted scenes is most significant for the inclusion of an alternate ending designed for those who love the vague promise of a sequel, operating under the same umbrella of silly logic. The best of the extras is Asymmetrical Warfare: The Making Of Eagle Eye (25m:32s), a fairly run-of-the-mill behind the scenes piece that carries the usual sort of cast/crew interviews, but is made moderately engaging by a look at the film's special effects. Eagle Eye On Location: Washington, D.C. (05m:59s) is a bit more cursory, and quickly focuses on the complexities of shooting an action film in D.C., while Is My Cell Phone Spying On Me? (09m:14s) purports to make a real-life connection to the events of Eagle Eye, though it never really gets as conspiratorially paranoid as it could have. Shall We Play A Game? (09m:22s) offer up a conversation/interview between Eagle Eye director D.J. Caruso and slightly uncomfortable looking WarGames director John Badham. Road Trip (03m:05s) is a frothy bit of promo content built around the film's many locations, while the obligatory Gag Reel (07m:00s) exceeds its welcome by a good four or five minutes.
The film's theatrical trailer is provided, along with the aforementioned non-HD photo gallery. The disc is cut into 24 chapters, with optional subtitles in English, English SDH, French, Spanish or Portuguese.
Extras Grade: C+
Final CommentsClearly a case of style over substance, Eagle Eye carries its nonsensical logic proudly, making it a noisy, fun and decidedly check-your-brain-at-the-door sort of entertainment. And as an added plus, the audio and video transfers are first-rate, and nearly all of the somewhat generic supplements are presented in HD.
Rich Rosell 2009-01-05