Yes, we know Big Brother is watching us. He’s been watching us for a very long, long time — the digital age and relentless media exposure just makes it that much more in your face. And just like when the internet was the new great unknown, Hollywood tried to capitalize on the horrors of it with the awful movie, The Net. In an equally ridiculous fear-hyping scenario, today’s version of that movie is Eagle Eye.
Instead of Sandra Bullock getting the short end of the stick, this time around Shia LaBeouf is the lucky recipient. He plays Jerry Shaw, a tumbleweed of sorts — he moves into a town, works a “no-brain needed” job and moves onto the next locale when he gets the itch to move on. But someone has a need for him (and many other ordinary citizens) to help see their dastardly plot come to fruition. Jerry finds out someone has him in mind for their master plan when learns that his twin brother, Ethan, is killed under questionable circumstances and when a mysterious voice on his cell phone begins giving him instructions as to what do, so as to not end up like his brother.
At first I swore I was watching a terrible imitation of The Matrix. The voice on the line begins to tell Jerry how to escape from FBI agent Thomas Morgan (Billy Bob Thornton) and Air Force investigator Zoe Perez (Rosario Dawson) — duck in four seconds, jump through the open window, turn left, speed up, etc. But after making his escape, and meeting up with a fellow “game” player Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan), I realized I wasn’t watching a parody, I was watching a completely unoriginal movie that was just really, really bad.
There are plot holes and action sequences so incredulous that I found I couldn’t stop myself from laughing out loud (mind you Eagle Eye is not a comedy). Allow me to just mention a few of the implausible scenes — you may just get a chuckle from reading about them.
- As Jerry and Rachel race around the city, their vehicle gets crashed into multiple times and yet they still manage to outrace a dozen police.
- For ordinary law abiding citizens, Jerry and Rachel are at ease holding up an armored truck and slipping past Secret Service agents.
- The voice manages to get control over every single thing in our society —televisions at a Circuit City, traffic lights, and is even able to predict with an amazing amount of certainty the actions of everyone in the populace!
But it doesn’t end there. To tie all the loose ends together and to try to make the movie make some semblance of sense, the screen writers (John Glenn, Travis Wright, Hillary Seitz and Dan McDermott) concoct one of the most pathetic climaxes ever imagined. And when the “ringmaster” and the reason for the scheme is revealed, it is more that enough to convince you to walk out of the theater if you hadn’t already.
Yet the biggest baffle for me was how anyone could have convinced Billy Bob Thornton, Rosario Dawson and Shia LaBeouf to star in Eagle Eye. Surely they knew how the movie was going to turn out after reading just a few pages of the script. Therefore, I am certain, whoever sold them on this screenplay may just be the best used car salesmen in the world and undoubtedly someone to avoid at all costs. Eagle Eye is a clunker, no matter how you see it dressed up. Take my word for it.