The idea of mechanized roving security cameras that go schizoid and start slaying people — perhaps at the behest of nefarious establishment masters, perhaps not — inescapably aligns with surging modern fears about privacy, and technological intrusion. That’s Eyeborgs, in a nutshell. There’s delicious potential here, if it’s in the right hands — someone like Paul Verhoeven, perhaps, or David Cronenberg. But Highlander‘s Adrian Paul and some kid who looks like he might be cast as Robert Pattinson in a high school production of some emo Twilight fiction… well, they’re not the right hands. That’s all I’m saying.
Set in the near future, when the fear of terrorism has escalated into absolute, media-stoked hysteria (i.e., after the next successful Stateside terror attack), Eyeborgs posits a world where, in order to deal with the paranoia, robotic cameras are everywhere — in people’s homes, on the streets, in the workplace — in order to monitor things, and keep everyone safe. But are the cameras really being used to keep America safe… or to safekeep Americans?
Federal agent Gunner Reynolds (Paul, perhaps operating under the assumption that he’s being paid in per-ounce emoting) becomes suspicious of this prowling, precautionary system after a series of murders occur in which the video records don’t seem to align with the physical evidence. Recruiting the help of TV news reporter Barbara Hawkins (Megan Blake) and the President’s punkish, purple-haired nephew, Jarett Hewes, (Luke Eberl), Gunner angles to discover who’s really controlling the eyeborgs, with reclusive political dissident G-Man (Danny Trejo) providing the valuable initial assessment that the little buggers seem to be weaponized.
Eyeborgs might sound schlocky, but the potential for derisible special effects hampering its effectiveness actually ranks far down on the list of problems. Director Richard Clabaugh keeps things moving at a decent clip, and the CGI work is… adequate, at least. Let’s say that. Clabaugh doesn’t succumb to the feeling or need to feature a straight-on effects shot when something a bit more integrated and fleeting might work just as well. And if Eyeborgs doesn’t quite, on an intellectual level, fully dig into the provocative themes that its conceit raises, the film at least amply earns its R rating without dipping too far into over-the-top gore. Unfortunately, the movie’s dialogue is hammy and on-the-nose, and its acting simply not up to snuff. Repeatedly, the movie fumbles away any sense of accrued momentum or suspense, with screwball inflections and other oddly timed freak-outs.
Housed in a regular plastic Amaray case, Eyeborgs comes to DVD presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with an English language Dolby digital 5.1 surround sound audio track, and optional English and Spanish subtitles. Special features consist of a small handful of deleted scenes, the movie’s trailer, and a nice, lengthy behind-the-scenes featurette which blends cast and crew interviews, some on-set footage and clips from the film. To purchase the DVD via Amazon, click here. In addition, the film is available via digital download. C (Movie) B- (Disc)