Starring: Adrian Paul, Danny Trejo, Megan Blake, Luke Eberl
In the wake of another devastating terrorist attack, the United States government passes the “Freedom of Observation Act, a law requiring all communications and surveillance cameras to be constantly monitored for national security. Helping to enforce the new law are the Eyeborgs, mobile surveillance robots that can track suspicious persons wherever they may try to hide. Now everyone is under the constant watch of ODIN, the Optical Defence Intelligence Network, an all-seeing system that never sleeps, never rests and never stops “looking out for you.” But what few people realize is the Eyeborgs are authorized to do more than just watch. If an Eyeborg witnesses a crime in progress when no other law enforcement agent is present, it can take whatever action is necessary to stop it.
Investigating a series of suspicious deaths, Homeland Security agent R.J. “Gunner” Reynolds (Paul) finds a link to the Eyeborgs and is led to believe that terrorists have taken over the system and are using the ’bots in a plot to assassinate the President of the USA. What he doesn’t realize is the truth behind the killings is far more terrifying than any mere act of terrorism.
Eyeborgs is a genuinely nice surprise –a relatively intelligent slice of sci-fi action which aims for the same level of satire as Paul Verhoven’s Robocop. And even if it doesn’t quite reach that level, mainly due to budget restraints, it’s ambitions are admirable.
After some heavy exposition dump over the credits, we’re introduced to Reynolds and his partner. They are tailing a suspect called Sankur, who’s been tagged by Homeland Security as a potential conspirator out to kill the president. They are using an Eyeborg a miniature camera on robotic legs to keep tabs on him while he meets with an arms dealer. However something goes wrong – the arms dealer is killed and their suspect escapes.
It turns out his target is a young teen called Jarret Hewes, the guitarist of a small rock band, who also just happens to be the nephew of the Vice President of the USA. In an earlier scene, we’d seen the band’s singer killed by an eyeborg, thereby forcing Jarret to become the band’s new frontman. Sankur arrives but is spotted by eyeborgs and the police arrive. Here we meet larger eyeborgs – five foot long scuttling bug-like robots. One of which manages to save Jarret’s life by jumping in front of a bullet.
Reynolds takes Sankur into custody, charging him with the murder of the arms dealer, which they have footage of thanks to the eyeborg. However Sankur claims he never killed him, despite what the video shows. He claims it was faked by the eyeborgs.
Adrian Paul (Duncan MacLeod in the Highlander tv series) uses his Reynolds is seen as the Poster Boy for ODIN and the eyeborgs, because he’d given a deposition to a senate committee about his wife and son’s murder, which could have been prevented with improved surveillance of public places (in his wife’s case, a children’s playground). As a result the ODIN bill was passed, and his wife’s murder remains unsolved.
It appears that Sankur may have been telling the truth about there being more to the eyeborgs – of curse we already know that, we’d seen them take out the singer and his girlfriend. Now they brazenly attack Sankur in the interrogation room, allowing him to escape the room, then making it look like he committed suicide, falling to his death. They also fix the surveillance footage to make it look like Reynolds forgot to lock the door to the interrogation room, which leads to Reynolds wondering if they can really trust what the eyeborgs are showing them.
Eyeborgs certainly never drags – the pace is very good and it’s packed full of good action scenes. The
themselves are well presented. The little camera eyeborgs seem a bit jokey at first but when the attack Rutledge they suddenly become a lot more sinister. While Michael Bay isn’t likely to lose any sleep , the effects work is good enough so the robots manage to interact well with the real surroundings and the actors.
The film is skewed with a nice line in satire which, as in Robocop, is usually delivered via news reports and adverts scene in the background. A nice gag near the beginning sees the doomed singer and his girlfriend buying some plain tobacco from a drug dealer – the US having banned smoking for years...
Eyeborgs builds to a decent shoot-out climax as Reynolds and co finally discover who’s behind the conspiracy and attempt to stop it. Those viewers more versed in sci-fi movies such as Terminator might guess correctly as to what’s really going on but the outcome is suitably different to what you might expect.
Eyeborgs is a nice surprise – I was expecting something on a par with The Asylum movies, but this is a whole lot better than that. A decent story with solid action throughout and a cast which can handle the material with the right amount of gravitas. 7 out of 10 (MikeOutWest)
Momentum Pictures’ DVD release of Eyborgs contains the following extras: : Deleted Scenes (x 6); Behind The Scenes Featurettes (Making Eyeborgs; Stunts; Visual Effects; How To Make A Robot In 3 Minutes) and a Blooper Reel.
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