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Now in our eleventh calendar year!
PCR #537 (Vol. 11, No. 28). This edition is for the week of July 5--11, 2010.

"Predators"  by Mike Smith
EYEBORGS  by ED Tucker
Way of the Dragon (1972)  by Jason Fetters
Honoring # 39 .... .... Happy 50th! .... Spy Vs Spy .... Movie Notes .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf  by Mike Smith
CF Presents Retrorama

DVD Review:

Released By: Image Entertainment
Release Date: July 6, 2010
Number of Discs: 1
Approximate Running Time: 102 Minutes
Special Features: Trailer, Behind the Scenes Featurettes, Deleted Scenes
Suggested Price: $27.98

The Source:
In the not too distant future, the United States Government has instituted the ODIN (Optical Defense Intelligence Network) project which links all surveillance cameras in the country into a centralized network. Mobile cameras, the titular eyeborgs, are created in various sizes and functionalities to monitor areas a conventional camera could not and even assist the police in “detaining” those suspected of criminal activity. As an increasing number of suspicious deaths and tampered video footage is linked to the eyeborgs, a federal agent and a television news reporter begin to suspect a conspiracy at the highest levels.

The Fanboy Factor:
The phrase “direct to video” has become synonymous with films deemed unacceptable for or unworthy of theatrical release. While the majority of the titles in this category certainly fit this description (and considering the quality of what actually does make it onto theater screens these days that is saying something) there is the occasional exception like Eyeborgs. The strongest factor of this paranoia-fest is its all too believable plot about a security happy government becoming the victim of its own technology. As my wife Cindy said during the mock public service announcement that opens the film and explains the extraordinary measures taken in the name of homeland security, “I thought this was supposed to be a science fiction movie not a documentary”!

With political upheavals in the last decade leading to an emphasis on preventing terrorism and the passing of the Patriot Act, it isn’t much of a stretch to imagine the government employing service drone surveillance cameras if the technology existed. Eyeborgs is set only a short time in the future and looks very much like a slightly bleaker version of the present day. While the police still work hard to keep a lid on crime, even with the help of the supposedly non-lethal machines, a growing network of underground radicals is rapidly becoming suspicious of their true intent. After a few clever setups, a disgruntled agent teams with a newswoman who has lost her cameraman to an eyeborg attack and the musician nephew of the President to uncover what appears to be an assassination attempt. By the final act though they will find things are far more out of control then they ever imagined.

Watch out, the eyeborgs can get almost anywhere!
The acting in Eyeborgs is solid and the lack of big names, with the possible exception of the always enjoyable Danny Trejo in a cameo, just further adds to the realism. The CGI graphics range from impressive to passable but because they are restricted to robots it’s easier to cut the production some slack on the effects budget. The most believable of the creations are the small eyeborgs that look like supped up versions of the security cameras seen everywhere today but can drop from the ceiling and turn nasty in a heartbeat.

Sadly, the enjoyable build up throughout the film ultimately leads to an unsatisfying twist ending that anyone who has seen more than two episodes of The Twilight Zone probably had figured out in the first half hour. It’s not an inappropriate climax by any means but by the time it’s delivered the viewer has been made to anticipate a lot more than it actually delivers. The film fails to adequately explain, let alone wrap up, many of its dangling plot threads which may be an indication that room was intentionally left for a sequel. While the final destination may not be ideal, the ride to get there is still enjoyable.

The Product:
It takes more than a toilet plunger to get rid of these pests!
Like most modern productions, the Eyeborgs DVD looks and sounds great. This occasionally works against the film though when the CGI robots move just a little too smoothly or aren’t quite in synch with their surroundings but this isn’t often enough to be distracting. There are substantial bonus features contained on this DVD including several behind the scenes pieces, deleted scenes, and a trailer that tells you everything you need to know about the film before you watch it.

The Bottom Line:
Eyeborgs is about as fresh and entertaining as a low budget film can get these days and while it may leave the viewer wanting more at the end, it will at least leave him awake! The plot is thought provoking science fiction mixed with enough reality to be unsettling. This DVD does not skimp on production values but the $27.98 price tag may force many potential purchasers to wait for it to turn up on the SyFy Channel.

To comment on this or any other PCR article, please visit The Message Board. "Retrorama" is ©2010 by ED Tucker.   All graphics this page, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.