It may seem to have “ScFy Channel” written all over it, but EYEBORGS turns out to be a well-acted film with an intelligent story and a topical message.
When I sat down to watch EYEBORGS, I was expecting nothing more than a SyFy Channel-level flick with crappy f/x, a silly one-note story, and wooden characters. And why wouldn’t I expect that? The movie is about surveillance cameras, originally designed to protect us, attacking and killing people – it has “SyFy” written all over it. I was in fact wondering why this hadn’t aired on that channel. But after watching for only 10 minutes, I realized that EYEBORGS is well-acted with an intelligent story that has a very topical message. In short, I was pleasantly surprised.
We’re told that after another major terrorist attack on U.S. soil, the government initiated a wide-reaching and intense surveillance program by which every camera in the U.S. is linked to a single network called O.D.I.N (Optical Defense Intelligence Network). In other words, the U.S. government has created Big Brother – no, not that shitty reality show but the Orwellian society in which everyone is being watched at every point of the day in every thing they do. It’s the United States of Fascist America!! The always good Adrian Paul (from the HIGHLANDER TV show) plays R.J. Reynolds, an agent for Homeland Security. Along with a reporter (played by Megan Blake) and Jarett (Luke Eberl), the nephew of the President, they become entangled in a plot to assassinate President Hewes (Mark Joy). It seems someone has hacked into the O.D.I.N system and is programming the surveillance cameras (some are small; others look like huge spiders) to kill people who are getting too close to the truth. I can’t go too much more into the story without giving away some spoilers, but I can tell you that nothing is as it seems in this surprisingly layered story. Think CHOPPING MALL with elements of RUNAWAY with a tiny sprinkle of THE TERMINATOR and you come close to EYEBORGS!
EYEBORGS is at times hindered by some made-for-TV-level acting and action, but you’ll overlook this as you find yourself getting sucked into the plot. Genre favorite Danny Trejo pops up as G-Man, the owner of a guitar shop who is also part of an underground resistance fighting the ever-increasing loss of freedom. Or is he? He may be involved in the plot to kill the president – or he might just be a patsy. Writers Fran and Richard Clabaugh (Richard also directed) do a fantastic job of making you think you have everything figured out – and then completely twisting the plot in a different direction. And they do this two to three times. The “twists” are inherently logical to the overall story and don’t feel at all forced.
EYEBORGS features some pretty good visual effects. The surveillance robots range from cute-looking little mobile cameras straight out of a Disney flick to some bigger, intimidating Volkswagen-sized spider-looking cameras that have somehow been fitted with weapons. Overall, the CGI is pretty good and the scenes with the humans and robots interacting are well-done.
There’s not much by way of extras on the EYEBORGS DVD. We get six deleted scenes, the trailer, and a “Behind the Scenes” feature which includes a “Making of the Eyeborgs,” a blooper reel, and “How to Make a Robot in Three Minutes.”
EYEBORGS is not perfect, but it will keep you involved – and guessing – until the final scenes. The strength of the film is definitely the story. We get a solid movie with a very timely message that asks, “How much of our freedom are we willing to sacrifice in order to feel safe?” But this isn’t some preachy sci-fi flick that’s all talk. There’s a boatload of action here; some of it effective, some of it that misses the mark. But the final battle between the humans and robots is exciting and has you cheering the “good guys” on. The ending is also refreshing: We get a pretty dark and depressing conclusion in which things go from bad to worse for humanity. Good stuff; I recommend this one.
EYEBORGS (2009; released on video July 6, 2010). Directed by Richard Clabaugh. Written by Fran CLabaugh & Richard Clabaugh. Cast: Adrian Paul, Megal Blake, Luke Eberl, Dany Trejo, Tim Bell, James Marshall Case, Dale Girard, Julie Horner, Mark Joy, Huyen Thi.