For those who wondered what a sequel to "Enemy of the State" would look like (well, without Will Smith), look no further than "Eagle Eye", a preposterous and yet still enjoyable techno-thriller starring Shia LaBeouf as Jerry Shaw, a young slacker living in Chicago who has just found out that his twin brother (who was working for the government) has passed away.
After a game of cards and some dead-end work at a copy shop, Jerry goes to the ATM to find that he's suddenly far wealthier - whereas the machine wouldn't even let him do a transaction before, it's now spitting out money all over the sidewalk. When Jerry arrives back at his rental apartment, his landlord warns him that he was getting packages all day long. As Jerry opens the door, he finds that those packages are a wide range of military items, from weapons to documents.
In the midst of his shock at seeing what's around him, Jerry gets a phone call from a mysterious woman (an uncredited Julianne Moore, perfectly cast) who warns him that he must leave, as the FBI is about to come in and arrest him. Jerry doesn't take the warning and gets hauled away to a Federal building downtown, where he's interrogated by Tom Morgan (Billy Bob Thornton). When Jerry gets approval to have a phone call - guess who's on the other end - the mysterious woman, who warns for him to duck.
Somehow, the woman on the other end of the line engineered a rather unsubtle escape, and leads Jerry - via phone and messages from electronic boards - out into the night. While she engineers an escape plan from above, Jerry suddenly begins to realize that she can see him whereever he goes, even if he's not carrying a phone.
After a narrow escape, he is lead by the voice to Rachel (Michelle Monaghan), a young woman who has also been "activated" by the woman on the phone - if Rachel doesn't comply, her son may be in danger. The two go on a high-speed chase through the city streets, narrowly escaping due to the comments from the woman, who has taken control of their GPS. After leaving the city, the two are lead across the country by the mysterious voice, completing tasks on their way to finding out the woman's scheme in D.C. There's plenty to spoil, but I won't do it here.
The first complaint is the biggest one: the film's script is full of giant plot holes, and takes more than a little from several other movies. However, the movie moves at such a relentless pace - once Jerry breaks free, the movie becomes one long chase sequence. While not brisk enough to get over some of the huge plot holes, the movie does a remarkable job keeping up an almost frantic pace. Although director DJ Caruso has previously helmed smaller pictures (including "Disturbia", which also starred LaBeouf), he manages to handle the larger, action-heavy "Eagle Eye" well, as the picture offers some tense, well-choreographed action sequences (which are helped by above-average effects work.)
Caruso also gets fine performances from the two leads; while I've rarely liked LaBeouf in prior roles, he's improved here in a moody, more serious role. Monaghan also has her moments, although the character doesn't have quite as much to do. Thornton, Rosario Dawson and an uncredited Julianne Moore (the movie wouldn't work quite as well as it doesn't without Moore's take on the mysterious voice) also offer fine supporting efforts.
Overall, "Eagle Eye" stands out as a slick, enjoyable popcorn flick with fine performances and solid action sequences. A rewrite of the script to smooth out some of the plot holes would have been nice, but I thought the film still entertained.
VIDEO: "Eagle Eye" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen by Paramount Home Entertainment. The Blu-Ray edition is the clear winner in terms of image quality, but the DVD presentation is still a pleasing, quality effort for the format. Sharpness and detail are terrific, although the DVD lacks the precise clarity and small object detail seen on the Blu-Ray edition. Some slight edge enhancement is seen at times, but the film otherwise appears pristine, with no print flaws, pixelation or other concerns. The film's subdued color palette looked spot-on, with no smearing or other faults. Additionally, black level appeared strong and flesh tones looked accurate.
SOUND: The film is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Surround use is as aggressive as the film's pacing, with the rear speakers offering near-consistent effects (gunfire, planes and other action audio) and ambiance, as well as reinforcement of the score. Audio quality was consistently stellar, as effects sounded wonderfully powerful and dynamic, while dialogue remained crisp and clear throughout. The DVD's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack fell a little short of the powerful, dynamic quality of the Blu-Ray's Dolby TrueHD presentation, but fans should still find that this DVD provides a fantastic slam-bang action flick soundtrack. Overall, this was a high-intensity, enveloping audio presentation.
EXTRAS: Note: there is a 1-DVD edition with just the supplements from the first disc in the two-disc Special Edition set: the "Road Trip" featurette and deleted scenes.
The 2-DVD set offers a series of extras (although Blu-Ray users get the benefit of having the video featurettes presented in HD on the Blu-Ray edition.) The extras start with the short featurette, "Road Trip", which follows the cast and crew as they bounce from location to location across the country.
A few deleted scenes and an alternate ending are included. The alternate ending is more than a little silly, and I'm glad it wasn't in the film. “Asymmetrical Warfare: The Making of Eagle Eye” is a 25-minute documentary that looks at the making of the picture, starting with an idea that came from Steven Spielberg ten years ago. Although the documentary did a fairly good job (as these sorts of pieces go), of particular interest was the fact that Caruso tried to do as much "for real"/without effects as possible, and some moments I thought were effects-driven were in fact not. We also see the crew filming some of the major action sequences and the actors discussing their roles. While not too in-depth, this was better than the usual EPK piece.
"Eagle Eye On Location" is a short doc looking into the filming in Washington, DC. "Is My Cell Phone Spying On Me" looks at the realities of cell phone monitoring and privacy issues regarding technology in our life today. "Shall We Play a Game?" is another featurette, with Caruso talking with director John Badham about making the film. This featurette does have some spoilers.
Final Thoughts: "Eagle Eye" may have some script issues, but the movie pushes forward with impressive urgency, maintaining a high level of tension throughout much of the running time. The cast also offers solid performances and Caruso manages some very good action sequences, too. The DVD offers very good video quality and superb audio quality, as well as an assortment of minor supplements. Recommended.
The Film C+