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A slow takeoff for 'Eagle Eye'

For years, the idea of Big Brother has populated countless Hollywood thrillers and best-selling novels. With the advance of technology in the recent decade, the thrillers have grown more and more frequent.

"Eagle Eye" is such a thriller. Also popular in Hollywood of late is the "video game plot" technique where more and more of the plot is revealed as the movie goes on. "Eagle Eye's" usage of a plot like this may have been its downfall from being an intriguing thriller to just another one of those political techno thrillers that had potential.

"Eagle Eye" tells the story of two strangers, a slacker named Jerry (Shia LaBeouf) and a single mom Rachel (Michelle Monaghan) who are brought together by a mysterious woman who calls them both. This woman lures them into a game of chase against time, taking them from Chicago to Indianapolis before arriving on Capitol Hill. All the while, she keeps track of them through those fun security cameras that hang off buildings and light posts.

"Eagle Eye" is not a bad movie -- or at least the second half isn't. The film starts out really slowly plot-wise (there's an action sequence at least every five minutes or so) -- and the first hour really drags. "Eagle Eye" suffers from its plot unfolding over time. The fact that the plot is not made known to the viewer gets irritating as you watch LaBeouf and Monaghan run around for either no apparent reason, or just a confusing one. It isn't until Jerry and Rachel leave the Midwest for Washington, D.C., that the plot begins to make a lick of sense and suddenly this film becomes a good political technology thriller.

Another slight problem is that it takes a while to get used to seeing Shia LaBeouf in a role other than as a teenage smart mouth or sidekick. He isn't bad in the role, but it's just so different from any of the mainstream films he's appeared in in the past that it takes a while to get used to.

One of the strong points of "Eagle Eye" is its successful selling of the idea of Big Brother and how this woman is able to keep track of them. Throughout the film, the movie cuts to what is supposed to be surveillance from the security cameras around them. Watching the movie, you really have to wonder if any of this is possible and I'm sure that's exactly what the filmmakers had in mind.

The best thing about the movie is its political plot that is revealed in the second half. It feels more like a David Baldacci novel once we cross the hour mark and the movie really shines after that point.

"Eagle Eye" is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, and language. The violence is typical for an action film like this, usually only coming in the form of car/foot chases. There is one strong act of violence near the end of the film that may turn parents off from having children watch it, but beyond that the violence is not anything to worry about. The language includes harsh words in one particular incident.

Joey Polino is a junior at Canisius.

***

EAGLE EYE

2 1/2 stars (Out of four)

PG-13

Starring Shia LaBeouf

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