REVIEW: 'Eye See You' Is Sylvester Stallone's 'Se7en' In A Parallel Dimension Somewhere
Directed by: Jim Gillespie (I Know What You Did Last Summer)
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Charles S. Dutton (Alien 3), Kris Kristofferson (Blade), Robert Patrick (Terminator 2), Tom Berenger (Major League), Stephen Lang (Almost Cable), Robert Prosky (Ms. Doubtfire), Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale)
Synopsis: An FBI agent (Stallone) is the target of a crazed serial killer determined to make his life a living hell by killing those around him, even following him to a remote lock down detox facility in the middle of a snowstorm.
Somewhere in the middle of Stallone's career post his unstoppable early run yet before The Expendables and "old man" Rocky or Rambo sequels (Not a knock, I love these films) lies 2002's Eye See You.
I've never seen it until now, hence me reviewing a movie that came out eighteen years ago that never even released theatrically in North America. Though, it's always caught my eye (no pun intended) since I saw it on video rental shelves back in the golden days of videos, rentals and shelves. Shhh....I know shelves still exist. Just go with it. Quiet now.
I wonder to myself what is so bad about this film that Universal literally buried it and disowned it? As did Ron Howard who came on set to help out at one point but isn't credited in any capacity. He was supposed to direct the film initially but chose Jim Carrey's The Grinch That Stole Christmas instead in a sharp left turn of supreme weirdness. The idea of the movie fascinating and my love for Stallone intact I was fully prepared to be one of the movies few champions when the viewing was completed.
Stallone in a gritty, Se7en style cop thriller? What's not to love? A lot, unfortunately. But we'll get to that later.
The opening really had me sold. Late 90's serial killer grunge all the way. It's almost as if that blond headed, ghost face looking nut cake from Kevin Costner's The Bodyguard made the credits himself using the same magazine letters he used to address Whitney Houston. Complete with a vocal track of the killer just saying weird, heady Kevin Spacey shit (only not nearly as profound). Actually, do you mind if I just share with you the opening transcript (from IMDB.com) so you can really get the gist of what's going on here? Here goes:
911 operator: 911, what is your emergency?
disguised voice: I'm tired of the way things are, as opposed to the way they should be.
911 operator: Is this an emergency? Where are you located?
disguised voice: That really doesn't matter, so hear me out.
911 operator: Can we have your name please?
disguised voice: Of course, "Common Denominator", your man in the street. Now don't ask a another question or I will be obliged to do bad. Doing bad, you would have to assume responsibility. No interruptions. That's natural selection. Born to win, born to lose, born to die, three situations that make up everything in the world. No interference, but interference happens. People need to fear the important task I enjoy doing. I don't believe people are not good by nature, not at all. So if you remove the rule of authority, even the police, then you'll see life as God intended it to be. A world of pandemonium and quotients. Without rules, the weak and diseased would be gone, streets red with blood, the way nature intended it to be. There will be another body found. Thank you for your time.
This over eager attempt at edgy dialogue that makes no sense is the perfect euphemism for the entire film.
Eye See You (or D-Tox, the original title) looks, smells and acts like a really fun, gritty, serial killer drama but is almost instead a parody of it. Like one of those "I made my computer watch Insomnia five thousand times and write a movie script. Here's what happened" tweets.
The film goes from dressing like Se7en to considering a Mel Gibson style revenge thriller plot to a deep look at alcoholism and self destruction, then lands somewhere between a James Patterson novel and John Carpenter's The Thing. Sounds great but here's the problem.....
It's Se7en without the angst, the main character doesn't actually seem to want revenge that badly, the depression/alcoholism subplot never goes beneath the surface and there are absolutely no aliens or even cool practical effects scenes. Just a bunch of moments where people stand around in puffy jackets and accuse eachother of being a killer.
Then there's that all star cast that really confuses the living shit out of me. They all walk around like someone else is wearing their bodies. This great cast of actors that just seem.....off. Like in that movie The Faculty (also starring Robert Patrick). Everyone seems so dead inside; Save for the aforementioned Robert Patrick. Who, by the way was introduced as a bodybuilding freak of nature. Which, makes zero sense because he's a slim guy by nature and the bodybuilding aspect didn't add anything to his character. You could tell he did the work and put on weight for the film (which makes you feel bad for him because no-one saw it at the time) but why would you not instead just take out the couple of lines of dialogue about him being a physical freak of nature instead?
There's a ton of strange, off putting choices like that in this film that really make you wonder.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for empty, fun, B-movies. Especially in action flicks. All I ask for is entertainment and Eye See You uses its all star cast and enough serial killer slasher moments to barely and I mean barely eek out that requirement. Oh, what could have been, though!
Stallone was cast in a role that would be a dream to see him in. A grizzled, broken, alcoholic detective type versus a demented murderer. His got the range to crush something like that.
I only wish this ideal was given the directorial talent it deserved. The thought of a David Fincher (Se7en) in control of one of my favorite all time actors in such a Max Payne (the game storyline, not the movie) style production makes me do that thing Leonardo Dicaprio does with his fist in that Wolf of Wall Street GIF when Margot Robbie keeps spreading her legs sans underwear.
5.5/10 - You can stream Eye See You now, free on IMDB TV. Thanks for reading! Please sign up for the newsletter below for more random ass movie reviews in your inbox.