Image Entertainment // 2010 // 102 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 6th, 2010
Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide.
There may not be a lot of original ideas going on here, but if you fire up Eyeborgs with a modest set of expectations there is fun to be had,
In the near future, terrorist attacks have prompted the United States government to implement a drastic domestic surveillance program. Cameras on every corner monitor the daily goings-on of the populace and, even more hardcore, the Department of Homeland Security has been using robots called Eyeborgs to boost their camera coverage. These spider-like machines rove the cityscapes and send video back to the DHS operatives.
When mysterious deaths begin popping up, DHS investigator Gunner Reynolds (Adrian Paul, Highlander) suspects that the Eyeborgs may be involved. But to what extent? And are they preparing to go to war with humans? And where the heck is the reprogrammed-Eyeborg-from-the-future-sent-to-help-the-scrappy-human-resistance, anyway?!
On the surface, Eyeborgs looks like another half-baked made-for-TV sci-fi outing. Don't be fooled. Lurking beneath the corny title and the goofy cover art is a functional adventure, playing with some interesting political concepts and utilizing a surprisingly effective array of special effects to transmit some decent action scenes.
As I mentioned, the film isn't packed with new thinking: an overreaching government, service robots that may or may not be sentient, a plucky band of heroes that no one believes -- they are all well-worn genre conventions. Credit to writer/director Richard Clabaugh as he's able to put this formula to good use, infusing it with enough energy and adding his own directorial spin to make Eyeborgs feel fresher that it probably is.
There are big political points about exchanging privacy for security and none of it is subtle, but it works, because public cameras up the wazoo isn't out of the realm of reality. And though there aren't jabs thrown at specific names or political parties, Clabaugh does toss a few darts that ring true in our society (digs, for example, at politicians that don't read bills).
Thankfully, Eyeborgs is less a preachy meditation on human freedom and more a conspiracy thriller that turns into a giant robot war. The big twist is interesting and likely foreseeable and if you really think about it, it doesn't make sense, but at least it gives the opportunity for some major fireworks in the finale, a massive battle led by Adrian Paul's character. The action is well-staged and believable thanks to some B+ visual effects. The Eyeborgs are all CGI and for the most part look really good. Some instances aren't too kind to the 'bots and the lower budget shows itself, but those are in the minority.
This holds true on Blu-ray, which can be unforgiving to discount visual effects. Not so here. The 2.35:1 widescreen is clean and highly detailed and the Eyeborgs look perfectly fine in the enhanced resolution. There are a few instance when the picture becomes jumbled and disorienting, but that's more a few stylistic missteps from Clabaugh. As a whole, the transfer is a success and worthy of an upgrade consideration. Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, an active track when the action kicks in; weirdly, during a live music sequence, the band's performance was muted and shallow. Extras include a 30+ minute making-of documentary and deleted scenes.
Sure, Eyeborgs is pleasant enough, but some of the dialogue is awful. "Binary bastards?" Really, Danny Trejo?
An effective little sci-fi actioner that just clears the mediocrity bar, Eyeborgs surprises.
Not Guilty. I welcome my robot overlords.
Review content copyright © 2010 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 102 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Deleted Scenes