Eagle Eye Review

Published 7 years ago by , Updated September 26th, 2008 at 11:37 am,

Short version: Eagle Eye starts out strong as an exciting action/suspense movie but eventually the implausibilities of the story catch up with it.

eagle eye reviews Eagle Eye Review
Screen Rant reviews Eagle Eye

I hate reviewing movies like this one because you just can’t win. Eagle Eye is one of those films that you can review three different ways from Sunday. You could say it’s “a gripping thrill ride,” “a ridiculous action film with delusions of grandeur,” or “a middle of the road action movie” all depending on your particular point of view or even the mood you’re in when you sit down in the theater.

This review has minor spoilers, but does not give away the ending. If you plan on seeing this I really encourage you to stay away from anything that might give it away including spoilerish reviews, radio talk show hosts, etc., if you don’t want the movie ruined for yourself!

So no matter which way I go, people will come out of the woodwork to say I’m nuts, a jerk, or I shouldn’t be reviewing movies. Luckily I’m from New Jersey and I can handle it, so… bring it! icon smile Eagle Eye Review

At the start of Eagle Eye, my thought was “woah, this is going to be an intense, kick-ass movie.” The opening scene is in a military command center, where an area somewhere in the Middle East (presumably Iraq) is being monitored by both soldiers on the ground and high-tech aerial surveillance. They think they have the equivalent of Osama bin Laden in their sights, but according to a computer analysis there is only a 51% probability that it is him, and he and a group of men are either at a burial or a weapons cache.

A decision has to be made whether to hit the group via a missile attack or abort. The commanding officer and the President both agree it’s worth the risk to take them out, but Defense Secretary Callister (Michael Chiklis) disagrees. He is obviously overruled and the strike is executed.

Cut to a little poker game between Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf), where we see demonstrated that he is a slick, fast talker as he relieves his friends of their cash in a very funny scene. Unfortunately his charming personality hasn’t been enough to raise his station in life as we see him walk out into his job as a “sales associate” at Copy Barn (think Kinkos).

He’s pretty much dead broke and lives in a squalid little apartment. Turns out he has a twin brother who died very recently and was the complete opposite of him. Overacheiver, brilliant, military academy, yadda yadda yadda, while Jerry is basically a drifter, estranged from his father (William Sadler) who is disgusted by his directionless existence.

When Jerry returns home he hits up the ATM machine and finds he has a balance of $750,000. Of course, he’s a bit freaked, especially when the machine spits out thousands of dollars at him (nevermind the ATM limit of $500/day). When he arrives at his apartment it is stocked to the gills with everything a terrorist would order from The Home Shopping Channel: Hundreds of pounds of ammonium nitrate, military night vision goggles, scopes, automatic weapons, tech manuals for military aircraft… you name it.

leboug monaghan eagle eye Eagle Eye Review

And this is when he receives the mysterious phone call telling him he has less than a minute to get out of his apartment because the FBI is on its way. Being the anti-establishment, rebellious guy he is, he tells her to pack sand. Unfortunately she wasn’t kidding and the FBI busts in and arrests him.

We see him back in interrogation where agent Thomas Morgan (Billy Bob Thornton) questions him. Basically ol’ Jerry is hosed until a high level FAX comes in stating that he needs to get his one phone call. You guessed it – the mystery lady is on the line and manages to engineer his very elaborate escape.

And then we have Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan, who seems to be channeling Sandra Bullock), single mother of little Sam (cute little guy Cameron Boyce). She’s sending him off to Washington D.C. to perform with his school band for the President and cabinet. She also receives a phone call from mystery woman, threatening that her son’s train will be derailed if she does not do as she is told.

Eventually Rachel and Jerry come together and are sent on a mysterious mission of which they know nothing more than whatever their current task is (which is usually trying to get away from the authorities, leading us to believe that it’s nothing good).

shia michelle eagle eye Eagle Eye Review

The film also stars Rosario Dawson as Zoe, an Air Force investigative-type and was directed by D.J. Caruso, who previously directed Disturbia (which also starred Shia) and Two for the Money (which starred Al Pacino). Caruso actually does an excellent job with the look of the film, coaxing a “grown-up” performance from Shia and with plenty of great action sequences. My only beef with the action, specifically an early car chase is once again “shaken camera syndrome.” The scenes would have been “actiony” enough without the addition of camera shake and rapid sway. I actually would have enjoyed them more without the additional movement – made it harder to see what the heck was going on.

I think audiences will respond well to this as we’re coming out of an action movie “dead zone” where there hasn’t been anything adrenaline-inducing at the movies for a few weeks. Eagle Eye DOES have plenty of suspense and action, but the problem was that it started out vaguely realistic and became more implausible as the film went on. I always enjoy Billy Bob Thornton on the big screen and even Rosario Dawson did an admirable job in her role.

However, the level of control over surroundings and planning for unforeseen circumstances by the mystery woman eventually (to me) wandered over the line into the absurd. There was also no shortage of people getting out of cars that had been totaled with barely a scratch.

eagle eye action scene Eagle Eye Review

You’ll either think the reveal is awesome, or it will take you out of the movie (for me it did the latter). I kept wanting to enjoy the ride, but the absurdities of the film and plot holes kept nagging at the back of my mind.

There was also the issue of the film being bracketed by “serious” scenes/messages at the beginning and end of the movie, which didn’t really fit with the over the top middle.

BTW, if you want to bring kids from around 10 years old and up and you don’t mind a few “S-bombs” the film isn’t TOO violent and there’s nothing suggestive that’ll make you want to cover their eyes.

Overall I’d say Eagle Eye was a decently fun ride that took itself a little to seriously considering the overall story. It might serve to tide you over until James Bond returns on November 14th in Quantum of Solace.

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5
(Very Good)

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  1. Your review only strengthens my opinion about this one. I’ll pass.

  2. Yeah I agree with FlameStrike, but that was a great review !!!!!!

    I can’t wait for quantum of solice!

  3. I think I’ll check this out and see if my review coincides with Vic’s.

  4. i must disagree good review but i actually LOVED this movie.

  5. “I think audiences will respond well to this as we’re coming out of an action movie “dead zone” where there hasn’t been anything adrenaline-inducing at the movies for a few weeks.”

    I wasn’t aware that they released a big budget action movie every week Vic… ;)

    Great review, I think Shia is highly over rated and is Spielberg’s poster boy to be the next big A-lister..”If I promote him he will become…”

  6. @Oscar Glad you enjoyed it, I tried to indicate in my review that I didn’t hate it (hence the 3.5/5 which is more than what most reviewers are giving it).

    No, the don’t, hence my comment. :-)


  7. so Vic, do your reviews show up on Rotten Tomatoes? If not then they should :)

  8. @Oscar

    Thanks, I’ve been trying to get on their list for a long time, but they haven’t added anyone new in since forever.


  9. Oh ok, lol cuz i always look for yours. Do you have to apply or something???

  10. They’re just not accepting any new reviewers right now. I bug ‘em once in a while about it. :-)


  11. It was enemy of the state mixed with 2001 a space oddesy

  12. “It was enemy of the state mixed with 2001 a space oddesy”

    With a little sprinkling of the “I Robot” plot, I think. Anyway, I did enjoy the movie. Makes me more eager to see Quantum of Solace too.

  13. Personally, I really enjoyed the movie, and it’s story line. But many things spiraled in my head. Why did this computer choose that Girl? I know why they chose Jerry, and they make it obvious later on, But why the girl? This movie will make any Thirteen-Year Old Kid clapping wildly at the end, (Like me, Heh. :D), But the movie isn’t the best if you think about it.

  14. I tried to post this message the day after this review was up but had errors so I saved it on my desktop and forgot. It’s late now but here it is anyway

    I saw it last night and would agree for the most part – maybe would give it a tad less myself though.

    I felt that for a movie thats supposed to be a semi-intelligent thriller with little twists here and there, there was way too much spoonfeeding of the audience – its like they left no room for viewers to think for themselves or put 2-and-2 together from previous scenes.

    All the techy visuals were too exaggerated as well. Another negative for me was how the film wrapped up but that’s all I’ll say about that ;)

    On the bright side, I thought that acting was pretty damn good. I LOVED Michael Chiklis and Billy Bob Thornton in this and I really bought into their characters – which was a nice surprise considering im not big fans of theirs. Monaghan is always on the ball and Shia did his part well too.

    So all in all, it was pretty fun, although way over-the-top, hehe

  15. The movie was really good, there is a lot of competition this year. Directors better step up, this is one of the years they could be known and get pretty wealthy at the same time.

  16. I thought the movie was decent. yes there were some inconsistencies, and I think that what lead to the decline was that the writers couldnt figure out how to end it in a pleasing way.

  17. Jerry Shaw worked at Copy Cabana, get it right, gosh

  18. BTW someone on the /Filmcast thought I was you. I have no idea why.

  19. I saw this movie a couple of days ago and really liked it. I felt all the players did a great job and I loved the action. I can see why it wouldn’t be for everyone as it switches gears going from a melancholy drama to a fast paced thriller pretty quickly. BTW, that scene near the beginning at the funeral got me misty; made me think of the passing of my best friend.

  20. Shia LaBeouf rocks, I am sorry some of you hate him. You probably feel the same way about me, that I feel about Steven Seagal Fans. I am sorry, you are going to have to endure him for a long time to come. ha ha ha ha ha.

  21. Well Smitty I didn’t give it a terrible review. 3.5/5 is above average and a lot higher than most others rated it. :-)


  22. you are right Vic…..I was just saying. I hold your opinion very highly. we agree 95% of the time. thank you for doing what you do.

    -Smitty, you most jealous fan :)

  23. I thought this was a good movie, a little scetchy plot line but besides that I thought they did an ok job with it. But your right Vic, out of all the reviews i’ve seen your’s was one of the nicer ones.