Hollywood is like the grandpa that just learnt how to use the internet. According to them, it is a device of limitless power, and should be both feared and respected. I’ve seen a million films (actual figure) in which a computer can literally do anything. Jeff Goldblum used a Mac to destroy the alien mothership in Independence Day. Timothy Olyphant faked an explosion on Capitol Hill in Die Hard 4.0. And Hugh Jackman …, well I’m still not sure what Hugh Jackman did on the computer in Swordfish, but he seemed damn pleased with it.
So here comes Eagle Eye, the latest in a line of films about cyberterrorism – the only plot device lamer than say, split personalities. Shia LaBeouf plays Jerry Shaw, a certified genius who seems content to work at the local copy place. He comes home from work one day to find his apartment filled with advanced weaponry and barrels of nitrate. A mysterious woman calls his phone and informs him he’s about to be arrested. She’s right, and later on she provides an opportunity for Jerry to escape imprisonment.
Jerry continues to follow the woman’s orders, partly because he has no choice, mostly because she seems to control the entire world. He meets up with single mother Rachel (an annoying but still beautiful Michelle Monaghan) who is also under the thumb of the mysterious woman. Together they are virtually dragged from Chicago to Washington to complete a political assassination for reasons too silly to explain.
I’m about to go ahead and reveal who the mysterious woman is, so if you don’t want to know, stop reading here. The thing is, I can’t make fun of the film if I don’t talk about this ridiculous plot development. It turns out the mysterious woman is … a giant computer! Of course it is. And it’s become self aware! When Skynet became self-aware, humanity went to war with robot soldiers (which were awesome). This giant computer uses its omnipotent power to control traffic lights and blackmail a random single mother to assassinate the president. I’m shaking in my boots.
This movie has more plot holes than a film about swiss cheese. With a soundtrack by Hole. And wardrobe by The Gap. And the DVD of it has been shot with a BB Gun. That many holes. Now they would all be forgivable if the movie was exciting. But the last twenty minutes of this film was interminable. Maybe I just had enough, particularly after two headache-inducing car chases. Director Caruso seems to have lost the steady hand he developed in the above-average Disturbia. The film really doesn’t earn any goodwill, despite the extremely capable cast, which includes Thornton as a wily detective. LaBeouf truly is the best thing about this film. Hmm, I seem to be noticing a trend.
Maybe in 1000 years, an advanced civilisation will dig one of us up, regenerate us, and ask us why we used to fear computers. “Yeah, yeah, I know. Believe me; we’re embarrassed about the whole situation. I’m telling you, at the time Y2K seemed like the real deal too!” But for now, I guess we’ll have to make do with films that fear technology, much in the way ancient Aztecs feared the Sun. In their defence, the Sun is a big flaming star. In Eagle Eye, we’re meant to fear our GPS.