*** (out of 5)
September 26, 2008
Shia LaBeouf as JERRY SHAW
Michelle Monaghan as RACHEL HOLLOMAN
Rosario Dawson as ZOE PEREZ
Michael Chiklis as CALLISTER
Billy Bob Thornton as THOMAS MORGAN
Directed by: D.J. Caruso
BY KEVIN CARR
Not to bash on Shia LaBeouf, but since when did he become this country’s hottest action star?
Don’t get me wrong. I like the guy. I’ve liked him since he was on “Even Stevens” on the Disney Channel. But I’ve never really seen him as an action guy. I guess I just don’t see what Steven Spielberg sees in the kid.
After topping the box office in Spielberg hits like “Transformers” and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” Shia is making it once again to the big screen in “Eagle Eye.” In this film, he plays a slacker named Jerry Shaw whose twin brother is killed in a car accident. Right after the funeral, Jerry receives a call from a mysterious woman who coerces him into becoming a cog in a terrorist wheel.
Whoever is behind the phone calls has framed Jerry to look like a terrorist. Soon, Jerry meets a woman named Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan), who has also been coerced into action with threats against her son.
On the very highest level, “Eagle Eye” is a lot of fun. It’s a powerful action film with awesome car chases, explosions and a hilarious supporting character played by Billy Bob Thornton. I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon that hails director DJ Caruso as the new Michael Bay, but he made a pretty slick action film.
Even Shia LaBeouf, who is on the verge of overexposure (if not into that territory already), plays well in the role of Jerry. There’s not a lot of chemistry with him and Michelle Monaghan, but the movie isn’t really about them as a team. She’s just along for the ride. And this ride is pretty enjoyable.
However, “Eagle Eye” is one of those movies where you have to leave your sensibilities at the door. Like David Fincher’s “The Game,” “Eagle Eye” is horribly implausible and really doesn’t make sense in the big picture. So much of the story relies on chance and narrow misses that if this were to really happen, the story wouldn’t get past the first act before turning into a train wreck.
Additionally, the script is somewhat uninspired. It draws plot points from so many different films that it feels like a Vanilla Ice song. There are elements of “Enemy of the State,” “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “The Matrix” and even this summer’s “Get Smart.” These elements are assembled in a different way, but it does reveal how often Hollywood throws money into copycat scripts.
Ultimately, in the dog days of autumn, when the releases are numerous yet crummy – like the studios blowing their noses to make way for the holidays – a film like “Eagle Eye” can be an escape. Just don’t try to think your way through it, or you might suffer a brain hemorrhage.