Eagle Eye, the high-tension, high-budget, high-powered actioner starring Shia Labeouf and Michelle Monaghan lights up the drab September skies with an exhilarating thriller that constantly climaxes, even though the payoffs are too little in comparison to the hype that went into promoting the film. It featured some of the best actings I have seen for a straight action film, even if it is a bit over-the-top.
Jerry Shaw and Rachel Holloman both get a mysterious phone call from an unknown woman who demands they follow her instructions or else they will face the murder of their loved ones and themselves. On top of that, an FBI Agent, Thomas Morgan (Billy Bob Thornton), joined by Air Force investigator Zoe Perez (Rosario Dawson), tries to track down Jerry and Rachel, as they become the United States’ most wanted terrorists.
One professional critic used a phrase in a review of The Dark Knight that really stuck with me. It was the phrase, “constant climax”, and it was used as a negative. Well, if there ever was a movie that had a negative constant climax, it was this one. Not because the scenes weren’t executed beautifully or the action wasn’t choreographed with precision. No, it was because after all the sweating and grabbing the seats and the emotion, all the observers get in return is nuts and butter, and it drags the movie down a bit. It was very entertaining, but it lost the sticking power that separates good fluff films from great Oscar worthy films.
To expand on that thought, remember in The Dark Knight how we waited with so much anticipation to see Harvey become Two-Face? If, in the end, he had ended up looking like Krusty the Klown, well, that film wouldn’t have grossed over $520 million, would it? The point is, there were no jokes at the end of the punchline D.J. Caruso was writing. That was my major gripe with the movie.
On the positive side, as I said before, the acting was some of the best I’ve seen in an action film, which was a pleasant surprise. This was not the screaming, insecure Shia from Disturbia. This Shia is giving Pacino-like monologues and crying like Tobey Maguire. I applaud him and give him a lot of credit for displaying so much growth in so little time. Michelle Monaghan brings in her usual grace and wisdom to an otherwise by-the-books role. There is an actual life for Rachel that she brings to the table and it makes the constant climaxes all the more exciting.
In conclusion, Eagle Eye is a great popcorn flick that will probably fill up the seats in its opening weekend. However, the reward for its expansive and expensive climax does not match its admission price, and that’s a downright shame, since it could have been a contender.
2 ½ / 5 stars