Eagle Eye is little more than a paranoia thriller about the dangers of the interconnected and/or surveillance society that we have seen in others films like The Conversation (1974), The Net (1995), Enemy of the State (1998), Live Free or Die Hard/Die Hard 4.0 (2007) and Untraceable (2008). Although, if anything, Eagle Eye reads like an updated and more serious version of The Presidents Analyst (1967), or perhaps even more so the forgotten 80s thriller Access Code (1984) and WarGames: The Dead Code (2008), which came out a few months earlier. Most of these failed to conduct their theme with any great effect and even less in the way of technical credibility needless to say, Eagle Eye fails to improve any. (Like Live Free or Die Hard, Eagle Eye counts as science-fiction if for dint of no other reason that it features fantasy versions of contemporary technology. It at least also features a 2009 future setting date and a malevolent A.I.).
Unfortunately, the only thing that propels Eagle Eye as a thriller is not its theme which is handled in the most banal ways but a series of moderately spectacular but mindless action sequences every few minutes numerous mass destruction vehicle chases, shootouts, fights etc. The film holds a big mid-story twist science-fiction revelation that everything is being manipulated to a far-fetched purpose by an evil A.I. Again there is nothing here that is any different from the various evil A.I.s who think they know better than humanity that we have seen in the likes of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Colossus: The Forbin Project (1968), Demon Seed (1977) etc. There is also a number of credibility issues you keep asking like how a computer with no external digits could get all the weaponry into Shia LaBeoufs apartment, let alone unnoticed, or how a machine that is supposed to think in a logical line could create such a convoluted plan that is dependent on so many random elements working in its favour.
In the end, all that we have is a film that has been put together to appeal to modern fears about surveillance and data mining and the misuses this can be put to. There is certainly much to say about these issues but Eagle Eye conducts it in a way that never goes beyond the surface flash and glitter of thriller mechanics. There is no attempt to make any argument for or against the necessity of such surveillance, or discuss whether private companies or governments should have the right to do so. Indeed, it is impossible throughout to tell whether the films position is for or against such data collation. In the end, Eagle Eye reaches a standard soft libertarian point-of-view sometimes the steps we put in place to protect liberty become a threat to liberty itself, although beyond this vague declaration fails to offer any practical suggestions as to how to remedy the situation.
Shia LaBeouf, who has been much touted as a rising young star in the past year, certainly shows he has the charisma and ability to hold the show together. Most of the other characters in the film are little more than cogs in the machine. Michelle Monaghan does little opposite Shia LaBeouf. The supporting cast is filled out with a number of decent performers, although it is only Billy Bob Thornton who holds the show up with a flinty charm and ease. Both Rosario Dawson and Michael Chiklis who have been fine elsewhere are given little to do.