a critiQal film review Eagle Eye (2008)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: A slacker (LaBeouf) and a single mother (Monaghan) are torn from their normal lives when they are "activated" as part of a high-tech assassination plot.

634 words (Est. Reading Time 3m 10s)
  • ...this thriller updates the public's fear of government intrusion for the new millenium - and makes for an exciting ride along the way.

As we thought over which movie we were going to kick off 2009 with, there was only one we could think of, since we were in the mood for an action flick: Eagle Eye, recently released on DVD.

We’d seen the previews, and thought this new LaBeouf/Monaghan starrer looked to be right up our alley. Conspiracy theories and big explosions – definitely sounded like a good way to kick off the new year with a bang. So would we be starting 2009 off right, or should we have stuck with the ghostly new comedy Ghost Town (2008).

After starring in Transformers (2007), Shia LaBeouf became a rising action star. He kept that going this past summer by hitching a ride with Indy in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), and looks to keep that action star status going strong with his upcoming appearance in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) – and his recent turn in Eagle Eye.

While playing twins usually spells trouble for actors (Double Impact, etc.), Shia manages it decently in Eagle Eye. Since only one of the twins is on screen most of the time – the slacker of the duo – viewers probably won’t have to deal with the overexposure and confusion generally associated with an actor playing twins.

And Shia helps keep the viewer’s interest by playing a rather fun slacker. From the beginning of the film – as in most of his films – he manages to realistically portray a guy who doesn’t really have a lot of motivation. He goes to his mundane job, eking out a living without much joy. When he is suddenly wrapped up in highly dangerous situations, he at first just shoves away the very idea of them. He’s grown comfortable in his mundane existence, and when that’s thrown out of whack, he flounders at first. Gradually, as the film continues, the viewer can almost see his self-confidence growing, turning him into a real action star – emphasis on the real.

Michelle Monaghan, who has basically dropped off the match since popping up for the first time in Mission: Impossible III (2006), does a decent job of portraying a frightened mother in Eagle Eye, but it’s easy to see that Shia is the lead in this film. She tends to defer to him, letting him run the show. This does make her character appear weaker, but only to an extent. Unlike Shia’s character, her character tends to become less self-confident as the film goes on, eventually just following orders like a sheep, without question.

The action in this action flick can be summed up in one word: INTENSE. Whether it’s a maniacal car chase or a plane attack, the action is high-pitched, and will keep the adrenaline flowing for most of the film. Sure, some of it seems a bit over-the-top, but by the time the flying drone enters the tunnel and chases after their fleeing truck, missiles flying, the viewer will be so involved they’ll overlook the seeming absurdity of the situation.

The plot takes the whole conspiracy bent and transforms it for the technological age we live in. Based on a bad case of “Big Brother is watching” (similar to Enemy of the State (1998)), Eagle Eye updates the public’s fear of government intrusion for the new millenium, making it even more frightening. True, it’s nothing that hasn’t been tried before, and the final confrontation with the bad guy seems rather cliched, the film has enough action and intensity to keep the viewer tuned in anyway.

With the help of new action star Shia LaBeouf – and some minor assistance from Michelle Monaghan, not to mention lots of high-powered explosions and car chases – Eagle Eye is fun from start to finish.

True, it’s not without it’s faults, but overall, Eagle Eye is the heart-pumping adrenaline rush it’s aiming to be. Check it out today!

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