Eagle Eye (D.J.Caruso, 2008)

One needs to be prepared for familiar sights while watching Eagle Eye, thanks to abundant references to other movies. Some old school viewers will think of Hitchcock’s North by Northwest; Kubrick’s enthusiasts will recall HAL9000, the self-aware computer from 2001:A Space Odyssey ; or whether the Three Laws of Robotic in Asimov-inspired’s Will Smith starred I, Robot is relevant to this movie. How about me? I think the fast paced, fuel by paranoid ambience seems to be in the same mold of Tony Scott’s Enemy of the State. You may complain Eagle Eye borrows from other superior movies, but hey, don’t you have heard of the phase, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

In this non-stop action techno-thriller, Jerry Shaw, a university dropout cum slacker (played by Shia LaBeouf) and a single mother (played by Michelle Monaghan) are threaten by an unknown female voice, by way of connecting to their cellphones, order them to carry out a daunting task, i.e. to assassinate the President of the United States. From there, the two strangers are thrown into a series of unbelievable metal crushing cum cling-clanging mayhems involving train, cars, crane, aircraft. They are often forced to do what they are told, the mysterious female voice (AKA Aria) seems to know everything happen around them there and then, literally forcing them to react swiftly. Example, an under interrogation Jerry was told to duck himself 10 seconds before a self-activated tower crane smashing into FBI office building. There are moments where Jerry refuses to board a specific train, and to his horror, the people around him instantly receive calls telling them about Jerry being a terrorist! Both of them are basically in You-are-damned-if-you-do, and damned-if-you-don’t-scenario.

Hot on the heels of the innocent duo is Billy Bob Thornton who play the role of Thomas Morgan, a FBI agent with ease, surely he was handed a handbook on how to do a Tommy Lee Jones together with the movie script. The wisecracking Thomas blurts out the most quotable lines in the movie, (to field agents)”If you're staring at me, it better be because I'm the suspect. If not, get back to work or I swear you're all demoted to something that involves touching shit with your hands!”

The movie does not reveal the protagonist until halfway through. But if you happen to know who it is prior to that, you will probably believe that our current advanced technology allow authoritative figure to tab on civilian in whatever methods we can think of: cellphones eavesdropping, bank accounts, computer’s files, GPS satellites tracking…. essentially whatever under the sun connected via networking and internet are expose to the surveillance of government. Call me a paranoid, call me a technophobe, but I think we are paying the price of heading towards the age of Big Brother. Besides, I disagree after reading some of the reviews that I came across, citing Eagle Eye as a dumb popcorn movie full of implausible scenarios. I admit that it contains some plotholes, but generally it is nothing too severe to throw off your interest in Eagle Eye.

***Spoiler ahead*** To me, Aria is not really a bona fide villain. We need to understand that the super computer ‘react’ based on the earlier pre-credit scene, where the US president misjudged an air strike target, which later causing a series of terrorist-style bombing in retaliation. Thus the head rolling operation of President and his Cabinet is deemed by Aria as justifiable. ***Spoiler end***

Lastly, the following are types of people who must avoid this movie at all cost:
- Technophobes
- Shia’s haters.

1 star = Pathetic, SowYau feel ashamed of watching it
2 stars = Off the mark material, approach with caution
3 stars = Generally good, you should watch it if it's your favourite genre
4 stars = excellent, strongly recommended
5 stars = A classic status? only time will tell. But it is definitely in SowYau's Hall of Fame List