Quick - Bourne Supremacy
or Enemy Of The State? Of the two anti-establishment action escape films, which is the one you enjoyed more? If your answer is even, "Well, I loved Bourne, but I also like Enemy...," book your tickets now for Shia LaBeouf's new feature. But if, like me, you're resolutely in the Bourne side of things and you like a dash of logic and energy in your action, you're the exact kind of person who this movie was made to spite.
D J Caruso has teamed up with Spielberg to make his follow up to his amusing yet enjoyable Disturbia, again starring LaBeouf, and while Disturbia was an okay film that got better with time and began to approach the Hitchcockian sensibility, Eagle Eye is the kind of film that uses stupid action film cliches and serves them up with the least amount of plausibility. This is French Connection for the Paris Hilton crowd.
When the film starts, there is still some hope for it. A US military group is trying to pinpoint the location of a terrorist leader, but all they can tell is that he is possibly at a funeral service. This is because the computer can't give them an accurate match. They decide to blow the whole place up anyway. This is the kind of moral dark place the film starts off from, and I was excited to see a script take such bold moves.
Sadly, it takes the easiest way out, and we see our protagonists created with the least effort. Faux somber characterizations and teen-friendly brooding music is meant to be our substitute for real characters. Jerry Shaw (LaBeouf) is a slacker who one day finds three quarters of a million dollars in account and his house full of fake passports, drugs and weapons. On the run from the FBI, he is helped and commanded by a woman on the phone controlling his actions.
He meets Rachel (Monaghan), who is in a similar quandary, but instead of being framed as a terrorist, she is told that her son, playing in a band at Washington's Kennedy Center, will be killed if she doesn't comply with the woman on the phone. This mysterious female voice that controls every electronic device on earth and calls them and tells them what to do, leads them through a series of stupid action sequences until we find out who she is.
That is the ultimate low point of the film - it is the kind of terrible waste of money Hollywood is often lamented for. It is also the kind of screenplay contrivance that makes stupid people pay money at the counter and that is why you get piles of poop like these. I wish I could spoil it for you and stop you from watching the film, but I can't. Just trust me - it's a terrible angle.
It's not like the action is any good either. It is almost as if the writers were deluded that they had written an intelligent thriller and that they must now bring down the conclusion with the stupid action to make it palatable. Trust me, it was stupid enough to begin with. There are at least two action sequences so wretchedly shot that I could not tell what was going on, who was doing what.
The actors are wasted criminally. Both LaBeouf and Monaghan are not given any room to do their own thing, and these are intensely charismatic actors here. Billy Bob Thornton fares a little better simply because he is given a few implausible lines that he delivers with a healthy dose of irony. At least someone knows what he is in.
I know I should have been kinder, at least to the cinematography or the background music, but the truth is that they consciously made a train wreck of a film and everything else is complicit in that crime. I can't believe the forty odd plot holes that the film has, and the utterly unbelievable twists it goes through to bring an end and a dumber-than-bricks moral message.
Avoid this as much as you can. And if someone does drag you to the film, please carry your stupidity filtering glasses.