Eagle Eye (Rated PG-13) 4 Stars

    Eagle Eye (118 minutes) is a neat action-thriller, with a little sprinkle of mystery thrown in to keep the audience guessing. While it bears similarity to several classic movies from the last 30 years, giving specific titles would probably give away the entire plot. There are two overriding themes that guide the logic of the movie. First, there is the danger of relying too heavily on technology (especially government controlled technology). Second, the film offers a very subversive take on the dangers of taking the Constitution too literally, making this one of the best timed movies in years. The film is particularly interesting in light of the current Democratic/Republic divide, as well as the various Supreme Court justices’ opinions on literal interpretation of the Constitution. 
    {mosimage}We open in the middle of a crucial decision — destroy a suspected terrorist without confirmation of his identity, or strike first and ask questions later. The Secretary of Defense (Michael Chiklis), keenly aware of the politics of the situation, is in favor of holding back. The President overrules him, and the strike results in terrorist retaliation on American citizens. 
    Meanwhile, as shown in the trailers, Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf) comes home to find his apartment filled with terrorist paraphernalia. Despite a woman’s voice on the phone telling him to escape, Jerry is arrested and interrogated by FBI Agent Thomas Morgan (Billy Bob Thornton). As Air Force Investigator Zoe Perez (Rosario Dawson) arrives to speak with Jerry, the mysterious voice assists him in an escape. During his flight from the law Jerry meets up with single mother Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan), who is also receiving her orders from the mystery woman. 
    Jerry and Michelle execute a series of maneuvers that land them in Washington D.C., in time for the State of the Union Address. It is here that the climax of the film takes place, involving some very nice explosions, but a lamentably high body count. In fact, for a PG-13 movie, the casual way in which police officers and random bystanders are violently dispatched calls into question MPPA standards for movie ratings.
    Director D.J. Caruso seems to know what he is doing with the action genre, but the ending of the film seems like too much of a compromise between a good ending and an audience-friendly ending. Billy Bob usually drives me up a wall, so it is no faint praise to say that here he gets all the best lines and is hardly grating at all. As much as I love Michelle Monaghan (do yourself a favor and check out the criminally underappreciated Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), I wish they had written less Monaghan and more Rosario Dawson. 
    Yes, Eagle Eye requires above average suspension of disbelief. Yes, it borrows from other, better films. However, the movie gods are smiling on this film. What might have been a sad little pastiche quickly disappearing into second run theaters actually holds its own. All the elements are old, but they are combined well. 

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