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Eye See You (January 4/02)

Eye See You wasn't supposed to debut on home video. It was a planned theatrical release that was originally due to hit in 1999, but kept getting delayed. It was, however, released overseas under it's original title, D-Tox. Now, after a few years and the name change, Eye See You finally comes to North America. But as it turns out, it really should have stayed unreleased.

Sylvester Stallone stars as Jake Malloy, an FBI agent working the case of a seemingly unstoppable cop killer who's already killed nine times. The pursuit turns personal, though, when the assailant kills someone close to Malloy - a murder that provokes him into becoming a drunk. Months pass, and Malloy's close friend Hendricks (Charles S. Dutton) signs him up for a stint at a new detox center that caters to cops only. It's located deep in the wintry mountains, completely isolated from civilization - so it's not too surprising that the cop killer follows Malloy there, where he starts offing the various patients (and even a few employees).

Eye See You is easily the worst film Stallone has ever made, which is truly surprising given the cast he's surrounded with. Along with Dutton, the movie is peppered with familiar faces like Robert Patrick, Kris Kristofferson, Dina Meyer, Tom Berenger, and even Jeffrey Wright (who looks somewhat ashamed to be in this kind of a film). Still, even with such talent in abundance, the film winds up an overblown mess - due mostly to the ridiculously convoluted and cliched screenplay by Ron L. Brinkerhoff and director Jim Gillespie's over-the-top sense of style.

Let's start with the script. Not only is it a mishmash of virtually every single thriller that's come before it (not to mention a few horror movies), but none of the characters are developed beyond their most superficial attributes. And since the film expects us to spend an hour with these people, that's certainly a very bad thing. Essentially, each one of these characters exists to serve one purpose: To behave suspiciously enough so that Malloy believes that every one of them could be the killer. So we wind up with a group full of stock cliches; there's the tough guy, the scared guy, the crazy guy, etc. And as if that wasn't bad enough, the movie isn't even smart enough to allow these characters to remain true to themselves. Robert Patrick's character is a fierce and unforgiving cop who spends the bulk of the film picking fights with others and generally acting like an all-around jerk. But when his death scene comes, he's reduced to sniveling like a little baby and begging for his life - even though he's within reach of the gun, and could've easily fought with the killer. It's stupid.

The storyline certainly isn't much better, which apes a variety of better movies - from Aliens to The Thing to any movie featuring a lot of characters trapped in a small location with a killer. But that's not even as bad as it gets, since there's an entire subplot featuring Charles S. Dutton trying to get to the detox center (he's figured out that something is very wrong). It's extremely snowy, so his efforts to get out there are proving fruitless until he commandeers a big snowmobile-type vehicle. Sound familiar? That's exactly what Scatman Crothers was going through in The Shining to reach the hotel (at least Eye See You doesn't rip this off completely, and allows him to survive once he gets there). Gillespie's direction doesn't help matters, as he's apparently from the Michael Bay school of moviemaking. Though the material would be far better suited to a restrained approach, Gillespie's determined to turn Eye See You into the latest slick action movie. But by filming everything as though he was making Bad Boys 2, he renders a lot of sequences as either indecipherable or just plain annoying. By the end of the film, watching Eye See You is about as pleasant as a forced root canal.

Eye See You is a mess, plain and simple. Though Stallone is actually pretty decent here, the film just doesn't work on any level. Don't be fooled by the impressive cast list - Eye See You is pure junk.

out of

© David Nusair