DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)

    Shia LaBeouf as JERRY SHAW
    Michelle Monaghan as RACHEL HOLLOMAN
    Rosario Dawson as ZOE PEREZ
    Anthony Mackie as MAJOR WILLIAM BOWMAN
    Billy Bob Thornton as AGENT THOMAS MORGAN

    Rated PG-13
    Studio: DreamWorks

    Directed by: D.J. Caruso

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“Eagle Eye” is one of those movies that are ultimately forgettable at the end of the year but will always be fun to watch when you catch it on cable somewhere down the road. The film came out in theaters this September and served as a nice action flick diversion. It doesn’t hold a candle to films like “Iron Man,” “The Dark Knight” or “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” but I don’t think anyone was expecting it to.

The story follows a ne’er-do-well named Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf) who learns his respectable and successful twin brother has been killed in a car accident. Soon afterwards, Jerry gets a call from a mysterious woman who coerces him into what appears to be terrorism and treason. At the same time, a single mom named Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan) gets a similar phone call, threatening her son who is on a school trip, unless she does the same.

A movie like this is nothing more than escapism for the masses. On one level (as is pointed out in the special features of the DVD), the movie is supposed to make you think about the lack of privacy in today’s world and the effects of too much technology. However, it really isn’t a film that should be pondered too much. The story is utterly ridiculous and, while it has roots in reality, the plot is really a house of cards.

But don’t let that stop you from enjoying yourself while seeing it. Like last year’s “Transformers” (which also featured the young Mr. LaBeouf), this movie is about the action and the chase. There may not be giant robots blowing things up, but it makes about as much sense.

“Eagle Eye” marks the big action film debut of director D.J. Caruso, who worked with LaBeouf before in last year’s “Disturbia.” Caruso isn’t quite ready to be the next Michael Bay, McG or Brett Ratner, but give him a few more films and he just might be. His sense of story is shakier than it was in “Disturbia,” but the man’s grasp on action is undeniable, offering us plenty of car chases, explosions and things crashing into other things.

The DVD comes in a two disc set, with the first disc offering a handful of deleted scenes and a featurette about how the many locations of the movie served as a road trip. Some of the material you’ll see in the “Road Trip: On Location with the Cast and Crew” is mined from the special features on the second disc, but not too much.

The second disc includes a somewhat predictable and soft alternative ending, but as a special feature, it’s still valuable to see where the filmmakers were originally going. There’s a making-of featurette as well as a spotlight on the use of Washington D.C. as a location. There’s also a gag reel, photo gallery and theatrical trailer included.

Two of the more interesting special features include the featurettes “Is My Cell Phone Spying on Me?” which contemplates the real-life implications of the technology seen in the movie, as well as “Shall We Play a Game?” featuring D.J. Caruso interviewing “War Games” director John Badham about how they each did their films. I definitely appreciated the nod to “War Games” and Caruso’s humility in that he doesn’t claim all the ideas to be his own.

While Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan each work okay on the screen, there is a bit of fluff about them on the DVD. Ultimately, LaBeouf has a stronger career and is more of a star, where Monaghan (although she has been in some pretty big films from “Mission: Impossible III” to “Gone Baby Gone”) is a B+ lister at best. I like to think of her as a female Luke Wilson, and she didn’t deserve the love fest they give her in the special features.

Still, “Eagle Eye” can be a lot of fun, both as a movie and a swatch of DVD features. Don’t think too hard and just enjoy yourself.

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