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Eye See You (D-Tox/Detox)
Back when I was more knowledgeable about such things, I remember hearing the buzz about the Sylvester Stallone thriller Eye See You, then called D-Tox or Detox, that tanked during test screenings, was partially reshot, and then shelved for several years before being dumped into theaters in 2002. The Jim Gillespie-directed film tanked at the box office, recouping just $6 million on a $55-million budget. Based on a novel by Clinton Howard Swindle, who wrote the screenplay, Eye See You concerns an alcoholic FBI agent who travels to a remote rehab facility after a serial killer targets his fiancée. The cast is relatively impressive, and also includes Tom Berenger, Sean Patrick Flanery, Robert Patrick and Kris Kristofferson. The story, however, is not. The same killer appears to target visitors at the rehab, which caters exclusively to law enforcement. Rife with nonsensical editing and bad dialogue but largely free of excitement and suspense, Eye See You should have remained on the shelf.
You know exactly what kind of shitty thriller Eye See You is going to be during the instantly-dated opening credits, which try to mimic a Se7en vibe by cutting in video and pictures of crime scenes as the killer drones on about his manifesto. David Fincher Gillespie is not, and Eye See You never gets off the ground despite a halfway decent premise and seemingly ample opportunity to excite. Stallone is FBI agent Jake Malloy, a former state officer who left for the feds. He pursues a serial killer who targets police officers, but the hunt has been largely fruitless. After Malloy's former partner is murdered, he gets a call from the killer, who tells Malloy that he will next hurt his fiancée, Mary (Dina Meyer), which he does. This sends Malloy into a downward spiral of booze and self-loathing. After Malloy attempts suicide, his friend and fellow agent Chuck Hendricks (Charles S. Sutton) drives him to rural Wyoming to join Dr. John "Doc" Mitchell's (Kristofferson) rehab program, targeted at officers. A colorful crew of guests also attend, including Peter Noah (Patrick), a cruel, trigger-happy ex-SWAT officer; Jaworski (Jeffrey Wright), whose failed suicide attempt has left him scarred; McKenzie (Robert Prosky), a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer who allowed his partner to get killed; and Willie Jones (Courtney B. Vance), a homicide detective. After several guests appear to commit suicide, Malloy realizes he may be the next target of a vengeful killer.
Taking the Malloy character to the brink before sending him to the middle of nowhere to fight his personal demons and a bunch of crazy roommates could have resulted in an interesting film. Can Malloy trust his own instincts and mind, or is his grief playing tricks on him? The answer to that question never matters, as Eye See You consistently fails to be anything other than a sloppy, TV-grade thriller. There is so much wasted potential here, and the film ultimately plays out like a D-grade Ten Little Indians, with the cast simply lining up for the slaughter by the largely-unseen antagonist. Eye See You dropped several years before Stallone revived his career with Rocky Balboa and The Expendables, and I would not call his performance here exceptional.
If Gillespie was trying to allow the least suspense possible, he did a nice job. The editing is awful, rendering most of the kill scenes completely uneventful. People are usually killed off screen or it happens in frame before you have a chance to clam up. The film's title partially comes from the killer's early use of a drill on the eyes of his victims, but that connection is only tangentially used later. "I see you before you see me," the killer taunts. I see little to recommend about this thriller. The 96 minutes feel much longer as the characters plod around the ugly, snowy rehab bunker, and the poor editing and lousy camera placement never allow viewers to get a true sense of scope or direction in the surroundings. Eye See You takes a decent premise and squanders it with a poor screenplay, dull direction, amateurish editing and a lack of suspense.
The film makes its Blu-ray debut via the MVD Marquee Collection. The 2.35:1/1080p/AVC-encoded transfer is obviously culled from an older master, but at least the grain is largely intact. Fine-object detail and texture are decent, as are skin tones and contrast. Much of the film takes place in dimly lit, snowy and grungy environments, and that leads to plenty of black crush, a bit of motion blur and some heavy noise. The film has an overall flat appearance, and the lack of clarity definitely recalls early Blu-ray masters. There is also noticeable dirt and debris throughout, but at least the edge enhancement is kept to a minimum.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is decent if somewhat anemic. There is some moderate environmental ambience, and a couple of the more action-heavy scenes make good use of the surrounds and LFE. Dialogue is clear and without distortion, and the score is layered appropriately. English LPCM 2.0 and French 5.1 Dolby Digital mixes are included, as are English and Spanish subtitles.
PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:
This single-disc release arrives in a standard case that is wrapped in a flat slipcover. Extras include Deleted Scenes (12:36 total/SD); Interviews (18:55 total/SD); a Photo Gallery and a Theatrical Trailer (1:53/SD). The most interesting inclusion is the "Unreleased Director's Cut", titled Detox, in standard definition. That version runs 1:34:41 and offers noticeable differences from the theatrical version. I had a hard time focusing due to the poor SD presentation, but it is a nice inclusion for the curious.
This Sylvester Stallone thriller about a serial killer that targets cops is dead on arrival with its lousy editing, poor direction and weak script. MVD Marquee grants the film its Blu-ray debut and includes the unreleased director's cut in standard definition. Unless you know you're a fan, however, I would Skip It.
William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.