Some critics of Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express made the point that their extensive action scenes threatened to diffuse their comic spirit and that there was a noticeable dip in quality and entertainment value when they switched into action mode.
|Starring||Shia LaBeouf, Billy Bob Thornton, Rosario Dawson|
|Running Time||118 minutes|
Some critics of Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express made the point that their extensive action scenes threatened to diffuse their comic spirit and that there was a noticeable dip in quality and entertainment value when they switched into action mode. With Eagle Eye, no such criticism can be made, for when we are not sighing with impatience at its unattractively shot and absurdly conceived action scenarios, we are rolling our eyes at the film’s shallow attempt at character development.
Eagle Eye is an action film directed by DJ Caruso and stars the normally charming Shia LaBeouf as a man framed as a terrorist and then issued ominous instructions via telephone that he must follow if he is to survive and vindicate himself. He escapes from captivity and is pursued by an FBI agent played by Billy Bob Thornton. There is little else worth disclosing about the plot.
The film owes a large debt to the first instalment of The Matrix trilogy, in terms of both plot and style. In fact, those wonderful scenes in which Neo is given anonymous advice over the telephone are laboriously extended to carry the film along for roughly an hour. Caruso enhances our eagerness to discover the identity of the mysterious caller not by instilling confidence that a satisfactory payoff will be arranged, but, rather, by suffocating us with uninteresting characters. Also, Eagle Eye’s ethical and political cogitations are more trite that those of the Wachowski brothers. The film concerns itself with issues of civil liberty and the implications of the Patriot Act, which is frequently namedropped, and tacks on a pious and depthless assessment of American governmental policy following 9/11 at the end of the film.
There is so much that is automatic and derivative about Eagle Eye. The film expects us to be amused and surprised at the variety of electronic devices that hinder and direct LaBeouf’s character, but there is always a sense that one bad idea is being stretched to its limits. The fact that this film keeps the audience in the dark for so long about the only worthwhile plot point is a pity, because it would enrich many of the dull early scenes if the engine of this tale were disclosed to the audience almost immediately rather than an hour in. This is because, though silly, I actually found the selling point of the script to be clever and amusing. Because of its disclosure, there is a stretch of twenty minutes during which the film manages to be engaging. This does not justify the wait, however, and my only recommendation is to sneak into this film for a few minutes after the movie you actually paid to see is over.