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Sometimes, job opportunities knock. And sometimes they bash in your door and drag you, kicking and screaming, down the hall.
Take the new job "opportunity" of one Jerry Shaw, an associate at the local Copy Cabana outlet. Or so he was, before he was selected to become a cog in a grandly complex terrorist plot. It's not like he applied for the position. Forget about issues of morality and mass carnage, this gig hardly comes with a 401(k) plan. Job security is dubious. Indeed, early termination seems likely. And Jerry's new boss is really, really demanding.
But she's also an extremely effective recruiter. First, she slaps $751,000 into Jerry's bank account and fills his apartment with weapons, forged passports and bags of highly explosive fertilizer. And then, having framed Jerry to look like a terrorist, she calls in the FBI.
Then, and only then, does she call up Jerry and introduce herself: She tells him he has 30 seconds to start running before the Feds crash into his apartment and mess him up good.
So much for employee orientation.
Jerry isn't ready to switch careers just like that, so he asks a few simple questions (Who are you? What do you want from me? How much vacation time do I get?) until—30 seconds later—he's flat on the floor with his hands behind his back. But Jerry's new employer won't accept such unexcused absences, so she engineers an escape using cranes, trains and automobiles—not to mention all manner of common electronic devices. She calls him on strangers' mobiles. She gives him directions ("Yes, Jerry, jump!") on stock crawlers. And she eventually leads him to a nifty Porsche Cayenne driven to the rescue by one of her other new workers—a woman named Rachel who was recruited using, if possible, even more nefarious means.
"Would you risk your life for your son?" this new "employer" asks Rachel via cell phone. Rachel answers yes, and she proves it time and time again. Turns out, she's willing to do plenty else to protect her boy who is currently having the time of his life on a field trip to Washington, D.C.
This, obviously, is not all good, considering the lying, stealing and terrorism involved. Rachel puts hundreds of people in danger for her singular goal. But a mother's love doesn't always weigh the cost. Still, we see at one juncture that even she has her limits: When the caller tells her to shoot and kill someone, she finds she simply can't do it.
[Spoiler Warning] Lots of folks show a willingness to sacrifice themselves for a whole host of laudable reasons. An FBI agent takes down an evil unmanned drone at the cost of his own life. And Jerry, once he wriggles free of the conspiracy, saves a great many people by thwarting the horrifying plan—though security guards gun him down in the process. (He lives.)
When FBI agents quiz Jerry about the $700-grand that mysteriously found its way into his bank account, Jerry tells them, largely joking, that maybe God did it ("I thought it was a miracle") or, at the very least, it was a serendipitous bank error. We see an Islamic funeral. During a military operation, personnel use code words connected to Norse mythology, such as "Thor," "Loki" and "Valhalla."
When one of Jerry's friends talks about his steady girlfriend, Jerry asks, "You had sex with her yet?" He answers, "Kinda." Jerry makes a crude play on words that refers to a sexual act. Rachel changes clothes in a department store, and we see her (from the back) slip on a sweater over her bra.
Eagle Eye is wall-to-wall action, filled with car chases, shootouts, fistfights and explosions. Aside from a brief glimpse of a charred thumb and a blood-soaked shirt, though, little of it is particularly gory: The film showcases mangled cars, not mangled people. Indeed, its makers destroy so many cars here that it's possible Eagle Eye has single-handedly propped up the sagging automotive industry.
No fewer than seven police cruisers are crushed during Jerry's initial escape from the FBI. They smash into other cars, thud into piles of scrap metal and are thrown about by gigantic metal claws. Chases are filmed using a jarring, jerky, quick-cut style, which makes the frequent smashups feel that much more painful. One character gets severely hurt during one of these crashes. (This is when we see that marinated shirt.) Jerry and Rachel's Cayenne is swept up by a wrecking-yard claw—Jerry and Rachel still inside. The pair jumps out of the car and onto a garbage barge just before the claw releases their vehicle into the ocean below.
A suspected Islamic terrorist—and scores of other Muslims—are presumably killed in a fiery missile strike. A military drone fires several missiles at Jerry and an FBI agent before the drone is destroyed in a blistering crash. Explosions rock the Pentagon. The government tests a new bomb-like weapon which unleashes a huge blast.
Jerry and Rachel threaten security guards with shotguns, and Rachel fires into a nearby window. Jerry fires a gun into the air. A major character is shot twice. A minor character is zapped and killed by falling power lines. Jerry gets into violent tussles, and someone points a gun to his head while he pleads with them to pull the trigger. A mechanical arm either knocks out or kills a soldier. An FBI agent gets conked on the head by both a suitcase and a metal beam during a chase through an airport baggage area. Jerry almost gets hit by a train, jumps out of another and tumbles from an upper-story window.
Crude or Profane Language
One f-word and more than 20 s-words. Milder curses include "h---," "b--ch" and "a--." God's name is misused at several junctures. (It's paired with "d--n" at least four times.) Jesus' name is abused three times.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Rachel goes to a bar with a couple of friends, where they drop shots of alcohol into glasses of beer and drink up. Rachel and Jerry inject themselves with an experimental medication that allows them to survive an unpressurized airplane flight.
Other Negative Elements
Rachel is divorced and on bad terms with her ex. Jerry and his dad don't get along very well. Jerry plays poker with some Copy Cabana workmates.
Eagle Eye is an intense sci-fi tale with two obvious messages: 1) Beware unknown callers to your iPhone. 2) Beware your iPhone, period. It wrings its hands over our tech-dependent ways and frets over the fact that most of us can be monitored almost constantly, what with video cameras watching as we work in our cubicles and drive through intersections, and computers dutifully cataloging the websites we frequent and the phone calls we make.
Creepy, when you think of it as invasive and omnipresent rather than protective and practical? Perhaps. But this movie deep-sixes deep thoughts and instead goes for a more frenetic smash-bang experience. This is a carnival ride, not a journey of exploration. It's punctuated by peril and marred by some language problems. And as such, Eagle Eye can't see its own problems without suffering from a bit of nystagmus.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Shia LaBeouf as Jerry Shaw; Michelle Monaghan as Rachel Holloman; Rosario Dawson as Zoe Perez; Billy Bob Thornton as Agent Thomas Morgan; Michael Chiklis as Defense Secretary Callister