Review by Jack Foley
AS IS so often the case with high-concept chase movies, the ride in Eagle Eye is much better than the resolution. But that shouldn’t deter you from seeing it.
DJ Caruso’s thriller touches on buzz issues such as surveillance and counter-terrorism, but moves at such a relentless pace that it barely allows the audience time to think about them. Which is just as well, given the direction it later takes.
Following the death of his twin brother in a traffic accident, Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf) suddenly finds himself framed for being a terrorist, arrested by the FBI (led by Billy Bob Thornton) and then sprung from captivity by a mystery female caller who instructs him to keep following her instructions.
At the same time, a single mum (Michelle Monaghan) is also coerced by the same voice into uniting with Jerry and taking on a dangerous mission. The two strangers then face a race against time to make sense of their predicament and uncover the identity of their mystery – but deadly – informant.
Eagle Eye is at its best during the opening section of the movie, when the audience is as much in the dark as the central characters. Watching them escape from one tricky situation to the next makes for exhilarating viewing and Caruso shows a keen appetite for carnage on a grand scale (throwing in car chases, a building destruction and an airport pursuit).
But as events take increasingly absurd turns and the main villain is unmasked to be a super-computer gone rogue, the film switches from being a taut chase thriller to an overblown, and increasingly unlikely, countdown to the inevitable.
Caruso even manages to bodge the ending, opting for cheesy and feel-good rather than gutsy or memorable.
Shia LaBeouf once again underlines his leading man credentials and works well with Monaghan’s similarly feisty mom, while Billy Bob Thornton has some quality put-downs to utter and proves a worthy pursuer.
It’s just a shame that Eagle Eye lacks the courage of its convictions to see things through. Fun while it lasts, but ultimately laughable, Caruso’s film offers popcorn thrills by the bucket-load even though it should have been so much more.
Running time: 117mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: March 16, 2009