Movie News & Reviews

Big Awful Friday: 'Eyeborgs' bad pun, an even worse movie

I have been derelict in my duties.

Somehow, I have gone weeks on end covering films that range from good to great and in the process, ignoring the much wider swath of movies that should be added to the same mass media grave housing all those copies of Atari's E.T.

After all, it isn't called Big Pretty Good Friday. To put the "awful" back in Big Awful Friday, let's spend 101 minutes too long with 2009's Eyeborgs.

In the nearish future, the president has authorized constant surveillance of U.S. citizens through eyeborgs -- small, mobile cameras blanketing the nation. In response, a freedom-loving maniac comes for presidential nephew Luke Eberl. Initially, Homeland Security agent Adrian Paul is skeptical of the maniac's claims, but his investigation soon leads him to a conspiracy reaching to the highest levels of government.

I'll admit it: I wanted to watch Eyeborgs because of the title. Just once, I wanted to see spindly-legged eyeball-bots terrorizing the citizens of someplace besides my dreams. On that front, Eyeborgs is a smashing success.

Yet signs of its not-success arrive as soon as the characters open their mouths. Within minutes, they're busily reminding each other of all the changes the nation has seen in the past few years. In sci-fi circles, this is called "As you know, Bob" dialogue, where characters explain to each other concepts they already know just in case there are any ignorant audiences lurking nearby.

It's hugely clumsy. And it's not like these people are talking about far-out things like the time sentient bananas rose up and started peeling us, leading to Olay's ascendancy as global hegemon. Instead, we're talking about a bunch of everyday Bush-era outrage about election fraud and manufactured wars that reads like it was pilfered from the bottom of a Tisch dropout's trash can. Yet the exposition for these readily-understood concepts is balder than a Seattle Mariners general manager.

The acting is no better, featuring the moody eyebrows of TV's Highlander. Then again, maybe Paul's look of constant frustration and confusion stems from the fact that he can't figure out the sprawling plot, either, despite it being a straightforward conspiracy of killer spybots and exploding guitars.

Eyeborgs is not completely without merit. It clearly had a real budget of sorts, and it does feature a scene of a bat-wielding Danny Trejo clubbing vicious swarms of tennis ball-sized bots into their component parts. A modern B-movie, Eyeborgs shouldn't be watched alone -- and not because it's scary.

* Contact Ed Robertson at edwrobertson@gmail.com.

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