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“Even big brother finds this hard to believe.”

Does something have to be believable or plausible to be entertaining? That is the first big question that you need to ask yourself before laying down hard earned money to see the new action thriller Eagle Eye. Can you put aside over the top conspiracy theories and computer systems that can do practically anything when the plot calls for it but nothing at all when the good guys need to escape? If you can do that then I think you will find the latest D.J Caruso directed film quite entertaining indeed. But don’t try to think too much about the story or you will just end up frustrated.

Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf) has just returned from his brother’s funeral to find his house full of terrorist materials and his bank account overflowing with cash. Before he can even try to figure out what is happening the FBI is on his doorstep and a mysterious woman is on the phone encouraging him to escape. At the same time Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan) is receiving the same phone calls with messages to do as she is told or forfeit her young son’s safety. Jerry and Rachel find themselves strangers thrown together in a race against the feds to try and find out who to trust and why they have been targeted by the voice on the phone.

Eagle Eye has action galore that includes shoot outs, un-survivable car chases and cliché military maneuvers. They are shot well and keep you on the edge of your seat. Also the basic mystery to the film is quite intriguing. The writers keep you guessing as to the motive behind the strange phone calls and you aren’t sure who is behind it all. Though once you find out you will wish you hadn’t. Jerry and Rachel are being pursued by FBI agent Thomas Morgan (Billy Bob Thornton) and an Air Force agent (Rosario Dawson). Both have different reasons for getting to the truth which adds a side conflict as well. These fundamentals alone rank it high on the entertainment scale. But beware the laughable story line that holds these rudiments together.

We are all aware of the big brother conspiracy theories of our government. That through cell phones, traffic cams, computer networks and satellites we are never alone and always in monitoring distance. But the liberties this film takes with using that to further their story is so outrageous it almost sidelines the entire picture. In this day and age the idea of a Hal 9000 offspring is not as intriguing as it was in the 70’s. 2001 a space odyssey seems silly for those of us now living in 2008. So I had a hard time putting aside the computer networking parts of Eagle Eye.

I must give quick kudos to the cast of this one. LaBeouf continues to become my favorite young actor with each film he does. We often forget that this deeply brooding intense guy is only 22 years old. Sure he looks 17 but he is solid and serious about his performances’ and never once falls short of delivering the goods. Thornton too is always spot on. Though he is mellowing slightly with age he still has a spark to his eye that can bring intensity when needed. Monaghan is 10 years Shia’s senior and has a hard time keeping up at times with the solid performing. Thankfully the writers didn’t go the romantic sub route. There is an element of respect between the two characters but anything else on screen would have looked awkward.

Eagle Eye is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, and for language. Certainly safe for your younger teens and they might enjoy it more than those of us cynical about the cyber world and what it can and can’t do. All and all, look past the ridiculous plot and you will find a well acted fast paced entertaining time at the theater. I give it 3.5 out of 5 green lights. And yes, the government knows the rating I just gave it, after all, I typed this on a computer.

“Matt is a member of the North Texas Film Critics Association (NTFCA) and hosts a daily online talk show along with a weekend radio feature, The Mungles on Movies, with his wife Cindy. For additional reviews, interview clips and great DVD giveaways, visit the website www.mungleshow.com”

Review copyright 2008 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

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