Directed by Richard Clabaugh who co-wrote the film with Fran Clanaugh, Eyeborgs is part Robocop and part Starship Troopers with hefty doses or Orwellian dystopia thrown in to keep things interesting. When the picture begins, a public service announcement lets us in on the 'facts' regarding the U.S. governments new Freedom Of Observation Act, a bill which gives the government the legal right to watch over the people of American all day, every day, using high tech surveillance robots - the titular Eyeborgs. Think of this as the seeds sewn by the Patriot Act taken to an extreme and you're on the right track. At any rate, the government has got all sorts of different Eyeborgs for different occasions. There are large ones in place to take care of things on a physical level and smaller stealth models in place to sneak around undetected
Things start to get interesting when a cop named R.J. "Gunner" Reynolds (Adrian Paul) and a foxy TV news reporter named Barbara Hawkins (Megan Blake) start to wonder if maybe some of the recordings that the Eyeborgs have captured have been faked in order to further the government's own agenda. While they start trying to put together the pieces of that puzzle, a rock and roller named Jarrett Hewes (Luke Eberl), who just so happens to be the President's nephew, is preparing to play a benefit for his uncle when an assassination attempt is made. Jarrett makes it out alive, and of course, terrorists are fingered as the culprits responsible but Gunner is onto something by this point and starts to wonder if maybe this doesn't have something to do with the government itself. Unfortunately for Gunner and Barbara, any time they get on a hot streak, one of those pesky Eyeborgs will arrive to keep them from getting too close by any means necessary.
Filled with some none-so-subtle jabs at the Bush Administration's 'War On Terror' tactics, Eyeborgs is fairly political in its take on a possible future but not at the cost of entertainment value. Those convinced that The Patriot Act is a good idea may not necessarily appreciate the film's take on things but it does make some interesting points about recent political events in our real world, particularly in how the president in this film parallels some of the controversies that surrounded the presidencies of not only George W. Bush but also his father. Barbed pokes towards the Gulf War, oil consumption and an election won under less than wholesome circumstances leave no doubt as to the Clabaugh's political leanings. That said, this is a science fiction movie first and foremost and while plenty of good science fiction takes its inspiration from the world around it and the time in which it was created, Eyeborgs thankfully puts action and entertainment at the front.
The Eyeborgs themselves, all of which are rendered in CGI of varying degrees of quality, were obviously inspired by other science fiction movies and it doesn't take an expert to notice that there's a resemblance not only to the robots from Minority Report but also to good old ED-209 from Robocop. The designs aren't always the most original looking and wear their influences on their sleeves, but that problem pushed to the side generally the film works fairly well. The pacing is good, with a few exceptions being a handful of scenes bogged down by some unnecessarily bland dialogue, and there's enough action and violence in the picture to make for a few decent scenes of surprisingly effective tension.
Paul and Blake make for likeable enough leads with Eberl delivering an appropriately hammy supporting turn that somehow manages to suit the content really well. Look for Danny Trejo in a cameo role. The cast fit the film well and do fine with the material they're given. Ultimately, in between the political meanderings and jabs at mass media outlets (well deserved, most of them are), is a good ninety minute killer robot movie. Even if it's smarter than most, it's still just that - a killer robot movie - and there's something to be said for that. it delivers pretty much exactly what you'd want out of a film of its type and even maybe just a bit more.
Eyeborgs looks decent enough in this 2.35.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Colors are well produced and look fairly natural, as do skin tones. Black levels are a bit murky here and there but there aren't any problems with print damage or heavy mpeg compression. Some aliasing and line shimmering is noticeable in spots, but it's occasional rather than constant. Detail is about average for a lower budgeted B-movie, as is texture. The image isn't mind blowing in its clarity or anything, but it certainly looks fine.
The English language Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound track is fairly active. Optional subtitles are provided in English and Spanish. There are a couple of spots where the sound effects are a bit loud in the mix but otherwise the movie sounds pretty good here. Dialogue is easy to follow and understand and there aren't any problems with any audible hiss or distortion to note.
The only extra of much worth on this release is a behind the scenes featurette that clocks in at roughly a half an hour in length. There's some decent on set footage here as well as some clips from the cast and crew that shed some light on different aspects of the production, but at times it is a little on the self promotional side. Regardless, if you enjoyed the feature you'll want to take the time to check this featurette out. Aside from that, look for a couple of inconsequential deleted scenes, a trailer for the feature (and it's a fairly amusing one at that), menus and chapter stops.
Eveborgs is one of those low budget pictures that makes the most out of what money it did have to work with by utilizing some decent effects to compliment a tight and frequently clever script and some memorable action set pieces. A B-movie it may be, but it's a fun and often times quite exciting one. If it won't win any Oscars at least it'll entertain you for ninety minutes and might even make you think once or twice. Image's DVD looks and sounds decent enough and contains just enough supplemental material to make this release worth recommending to fans of sci-fi and low budget action, or a solid rental for the masses.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.