EYE SEE YOU (DVD) Image

EYE SEE YOU (DVD)

By Admin | February 18, 2003

There are several warning signs suggesting that a production is poised for failure, the casting of Sylvester Stallone being among the most obvious. Other dire indicators might include reworking any part of the finished product, changing the title, pushing back the release date, or staging the premiere overseas before opening domestically. “Eye See You” is remarkable for having provoked each of these reactions–some many times over–and as expected, this troubling gestation led to a problematic delivery.
At times titled “Detox”, “D-Tox”, and even “The Outpost”, filming of this effort wrapped in May of ’99 and then endured countless delays of its opening date before getting forgotten outright by Universal Pictures. (Blockbuster’s subsidiary DEJ picked up the video rights.) It was not until September of 2002 when, rather than being given a wide release, it more accurately was released on its own recognizance in a tiny number of theaters. Based on the per screen average, it looks as if no more than ten people were actually present for any one viewing, leading to a box office total of $40,000. This suggests that it should still qualify as a direct-to-DVD title and makes this a rental release with a budget over $50 million.
There is little doubt that much of this trouble stems from the crew. Director Jim Gillespie worked on the teen sex-leads-to-death opus “I Know What You Did Last Summer”, along with his editor, production designer, and costumer as well. Gillespie and friends couldn’t settle on what type of film to shoot, as he begins with an engaging enough first reel, (inspired by the movie “Seven” rather than plagiarized from). But then he banks a hard left into his more familiar slasher picture with a limp mystery, adding “Alien” atmospherics–and you could be excused for sensing some of John Carpenter’s “The Thing”. Gillespe may have been aiming for cinematic bouillabaisse, but this tasted like left-overs thrown in a Cuisinart set on puree’.
Stallone enters as Jack Malloy, an FBI agent investigating the string of murders on cops by a serial killer. He’s an affable sort, this Malloy, trading barbs with the blue shirts while throwing back boilermakers. He also has a diamond ring that he intends to use to propose to his girlfriend, which, as we all know, means she is doomed.
But first we get to see the method of the killer when he sends a drill bit through the peephole of his next target and then murders the blinded victim, trussing up the cop for his friends to find. At the crime scene, Malloy receives a phone call from the killer while he is knocking on the door of his girlfriend. She receives the DeWalt keratotomy and is lynched in the living room before Jack can save her. The tragedy leads to the downfall of Malloy as he resorts to heavy drinking and worse, smoking cigarettes.
Sly’s basset hound eyes actually lead to the believability, making him appear to be in a legitimate stupor. His partner Charlie (Charles Dutton) soon tires of the melodramatics and shows him a flyer from a rehab clinic, set in the deep woods of Wyoming, that is strictly for addicted cops and run by a former badge. Sly is so impressed about going to Wyoming that he tries to kill himself.
The rehab facility is deep in the woods in the dead of winter, casting everything in a bleak white setting. This monochromatic backdrop is deflating enough, but then we get treated to the monolithic granite structure that houses the treatment center. The interior is a stark grey chasm with all the charm of a condemned underground asylum, and this merry set piece is where the depressed and suicidal are supposed to turn things around. It appears like the kind of place that would have driven Sylvia Plath to run around hanging curtains.
If that is not enough to torment the guests the idea of therapy is to frequently have the addicts sit in a circle so they can scream and berate each other. Comically we get presented one member from each law enforcement faction: the beat cop, a SWAT team member, a sheriff, Sly as the token Fed, and even an English bobby and a Canadian Mounty. The only ones lacking are a meter maid and Sting.
It is not long before one of the residents is found garroted in his room. Everyone agrees this was a suicide despite the fact that his noose was knotted around the elbow pipe of his sink and he choked to death stretched out on the floor. It takes a few more victims to get the gang to come around to the belief that they are being picked off, and this is where Gillespie reverts to his old method of staging a stalking picture, complete with a blizzard that cuts off communications. When he needs more bodies, he sends them out for firewood that is a five-block trek away from the fireplace. For reasons only he understood, there is also frequent cutting to a subplot of Charlie trying to go ice fishing.
If you are still watching by this stage, you are given permission to remove the DVD and use it as a coaster. This is due to what happens when Malloy snaps into action and he pulls the first few casualties out of the meat locker to look for answers. He comes up empty at first, but then he gets a series of flashbacks of the killer’s preference for drill bits in the face, so he decides to peek under the decedent’s eyelids. It is left to you to decide which is more obtuse—Malloy checking there for a clue, or the killer actually leaving something there for Malloy to find. Either scenario releases you from further obligations with this movie.
I was initially going to give “Eye See You” only ½ star, but there turned out to be a good aspect to this DVD. With a diameter just over 4.5 inches it turns out that the disc has a surface area that is certainly large enough to accommodate most beer mugs and coffee cups. Enjoy.

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