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Monday, June 21, 2010

EYEBORGS -- DVD review by porfle

If you throw a bunch of elements from different sci-fi movies into the pot and stir, the result is often one big gooey glop.  But sometimes, as in the case of the rousing sci-fi thriller EYEBORGS (2009), you luck out and get something that's not only watchable, but quite entertaining as well.

The opening exposition is like one of those public service announcements from STARSHIP TROOPERS, explaining that in the near future, thanks to the Freedom of Observation Act, the citizens of the USA are being watched over 24 hours a day by Homeland Security's ubiquitous new robot sentinels known as "eyeborgs."  These come in various sizes such as the smaller "crab" model (basically a big eyeball with legs), the larger and more formidable "spider" model (which can perform other useful robotic functions as well), and, as we discover later in the story, some deluxe models that can be downright militant and hostile.  Needless to say, the specter of Orwell's 1984 is invoked along with the cheerful compliance of a complacent citizenry with their own subjugation as also seen in STARSHIP TROOPERS.

Of course, this all-encompassing surveillance network is a big boon to the police until Detective R.J. "Gunner" Reynolds (Adrian Paul) and TV news reporter Barbara Hawkins (Megan Blake) start to uncover evidence that certain eyeborg recordings have actually been faked.  But by whom--if not the Skynet-like central computer system itself?  Meanwhile, a really bad punk-metal rocker named Jarett Hewes (Luke Eberl) is the victim of an assassination attempt on the eve of performing at a ball for his uncle, the President.  Anti-government terrorists are blamed, but Gunner begins to suspect a deeper and even more insidious conspiracy.  Trouble is, whenever he or anyone else gets too close to the truth, the eyeborgs show up in kill-mode.

The eyeborgs are reminiscent of robots from several other movies, chiefly that big bad law-enforcement unit from ROBOCOP.  The crabs resemble little mini-droids and sneak around furtively like those spidery things that menaced Tom Cruise in MINORITY REPORT.   The larger bipedal kill-bots are like a cross between ATTACK OF THE CLONES' General Grievous and the great Maximillian from THE BLACK HOLE, while some of the other battle models are akin to those in TERMINATOR 3.  All are rendered as well as the CGI budget for the film allowed and are generally pretty convincing, except that the crab-bots move too fluidly for rigid metal devices.  Then again, one of the bad things about CGI is that everything is often made to move too darn fluidly in order to show off how fluid CGI is.

The script is rife with jabs at the Bush administration and other in-jokes.  In a society where tobacco is now outlawed and sold by shadowy street dealers like weed, our hero's name is R.J. Reynolds and one of the TV newscasters is named Winston Salem (two others are named Romero and Coppola).  The political leanings of the screenwriters seem fairly obvious when we hear references to numerous Gulf Wars and the invasions of various small countries (ostensibly due to terrorist ties) which are described as "oil-rich."  The president, as you might guess, is rumored to have stolen the election due to voting fraud. 

The story is kept interesting by the detective work of Gunner and Hawkins as they begin to uncover the real cause of a number of horrific deaths despite faked eyeborg tapes.  A cameraman for Hawkins comes up with solid evidence of this and is on his way to give it to her when his van is attacked (shades of SILKWOOD) by spider-bots.  Venerable Danny Trejo (MACHETE), as guitar repairman G-Man, gets a visit from the mechanical monsters in his workshop and has to avoid getting drilled for information.  All of this leads up to what seems to be an attempt by someone to assassinate the president himself during a televised speech, with Gunner making like Eastwood in IN THE LINE OF FIRE and then fighting off the baddest eyeborgs of all, ALIENS-style, with the help of a SWAT team.  In the middle of all this, there's a nifty twist or two that I didn't see coming.

The DVD from Image Entertainment is in 2.35:1 widescreen and Dolby 5.1 surround, with English and Spanish subtitles.  Extras include about half an hour of "making of" featurettes, several deleted scenes, and a trailer.

With some cool stuntwork, exciting action scenes, not-bad CGI (mostly), a good cast, and a suspenseful story, EYEBORGS is low-key B-movie fun--as long as you take into consideration the fact that it was neither directed nor funded by James Cameron.

Buy it at


Anonymous said...

We're big "Eyeborg" fans as well. But the REAL Eyeborg. This is one badass project.

Shaun said...

When my girlfriend told me about Eyeborgs, I had flashback to when she wanted to watch Highlander, The Source and the ice pick I wanted to pick my eyes out with. Quickly I changed the subject before she started thinking of her crush on Adrian Paul. I decided I would ask the all knowing movie geek that I work with at DISH and get his perspective on it, and I was shocked when he told me that is was entertaining for B movie, and that he liked Adrian Paul in it. So I decided I would watch it with her, so I got onto my movie channels that come with my blockbuster @home but I couldn’t find it there. I did however find it on the DVD by mail side, so when it came two days later I surprised her with it, and I will admit I was surprised by the movie as well, definitely a B movie, but not bad at all.