It’s a bit shabby and cheap but the message is poignant and makes the movie bearable. The budget is low, which you’ll fathom from the cast, but the ideas steam right from 1970’s paranoid sci fi but sadly those retro stories all seem to be coming true which is what sparked my interest in watching this film again. With proposals of using more drones due to the decrease of police on the streets, reminded me of a short story from Philip K Dick about small “justice” robots that enforced the law, but through their AI the results start to become more deadly as the bots start to rethink what crime is.
Eyeborgs is different, only slightly… this futuristic vision is a world where everyone and everything is being watched isn’t all that new, but the method of using two types of Eyeborgs is slightly different, a tiny variety that look similar to the robotic help feature from Microsoft products in the 90’s and the other is a larger spider like beast. They almost silently scuttle about just watching.. EVERYTHING and in the initial throes of the film we’re warned about this by a paranoid man who is evading the police, eventually the lunatic is caught and while in an interrogation room he warns the authorities “you’re not seeing reality, you’re seeing through their eyes” the warning is dismissed, the man dies while trying to escape the Eyeborgs which seem to have gone rogue and are trying to kill him.
Meanwhile the video surveillance shows something different. Something isn’t adding up and the brilliant officer
Robert J. ‘Gunner’ Reynolds (Paul aka the guy from Highlander series) who pioneered the introduction of the Eyeborgs after the death of his wife and child. Now he feels that they have been infiltrated by a terrorist source and makes the assumption that the president is in danger. Luckily he had already managed to befriend the president’s nephew and a helpful anchor woman (and her trusty cameraman sidekick) who’re also figuring out what’s going on. Reality is being controlled, but the reasons and source are unknown, Robert and his team of informed misfits have to work it out and save America.
There is a high level of cheese here including Danny Trejo as a freedom fighter, but the story is still quite apt, it highlights our deepest fears about modern technology and surveillance. For abut project this big it really would need a bit more oomph, I don’t necessarily mean more CGI but just a bit more attention to the continuity and some creativity, it does hold the attention and luckily isn’t too long. People believing the media has always been a problem, we put a lot of trust into what we see and read from sources we believe, the news wouldn’t lie to us would it? We have to fact check all we can, but the masses often get pulled in, this was highlighted in Die Hard 4.0 (2007) when Bruce Willis is watching a terror attack on tv but can actually see the monument with his own eyes and it’s untouched. Reports are rife about Russians controlling American media sites and convincing people that fires are breaking out etc. So this is a “real” threat, people really can be controlled by the media, as Orson Welles demonstrated.
The acting is a bit shoddy, the action is a bit dull, but it was worth watching through just to grasp an interesting story with a daunting ending. It doesn’t cover any new ground but it does have a slightly different perspective on a war between man and machines.
R – Minority Report (2002), Terminator (1984)
L – A-Z of Surveillance Films.