What in the world is this movie? If a viewer is like me, then they have never heard of Eye See You, or D-Tox, or The Outpost, or whatever title producers attached to this redheaded stepchild of a movie. From 2002, but filmed in 1999, Eye See You was a film beset by reshoots and plagued by unhappy men in suits, resulting in a film that trickled out into the public without fanfare or wide release.
Directed by Jim Gillespie, in his follow-up to I Know What You Did Last Summer, Eye See You follows Sylvester Stallone as FBI Special Agent Jake Malloy. Malloy has a bear of a case on his hands. Someone has been killing cops. Nine in the last six months, according to one of the minor characters in the flick. Malloy is frustrated at the lack of progress in the case, but at least he’s got a beautiful soon-to-be fiancé (Dina Meyer) waiting at home…until the unknown killer decides to make things personal.
After his fiancé is murdered, and audiences are given a first act resolution to what appeared to be the entire plot, Malloy crawls into a liquor bottle. His colleague and friend from the Bureau, Special Agent Chuck Hendricks (Charles S. Dutton), wants to help, eventually convincing Malloy to enter a new rehab center that caters to law enforcement officers who are showing suicidal tendencies.
The rehab center is set up in an old military bunker in middle of nowhere Wyoming. It’s also the dead of winter, with a blizzard on the way, making the location more kin to something one would see in a horror or sci-fi flick rather than a thriller. But, this flick is a bit of a jumbled mess, so I wouldn’t have been shocked if the second act opened on the moon.
By this point, after Malloy is settled into the rehab center and we meet the rest of the players, there is no indication of where the plot is going. The film set itself up as a gritty crime story — a search for a maniacal killer who is holding an entire police force hostage. But the first act pivot left me clueless as to what would happen next. That’s a decent feat for a Hollywood flick, and might be one of the reasons the suits were never happy with this film, the general idea being that audiences like suspense, but not the truly unknown.
The rehab center is being run by a former cop who found a new life as a psychiatrist after retirement — Dr. John Mitchell (Kris Kristofferson). There’s not much staff on hand, as the center just opened, but there is a physician, Jenny Munroe (Polly Walker). There are also some caretakers, two of whom are played by Tom Berenger and Stephen Lang. The patients are a motley crew that would be at home in any number of b-horror flicks. There’s a tough guy, Noah (Robert Patrick); an unhinged guy, Jaworski (Jeffrey Wright); an old guy, McKenzie (Robert Prosky); and an English guy, Slater (Christopher Fulford). There are more, but they either fade into the background or are early fodder.
All the patients in the rehab center are cops with big time problems, so it doesn’t help when they begin killing themselves. Or are they? Something is happening at the rehab center, and it falls to Malloy to find out just what it is.
By this point there is no longer any mystery for those viewers who have seen more than a few dozen movies in their lives, but at least the flick makes an effort. Eye See You just can’t overcome its production problems. During the first act, the film is one of any number of anonymous children of the film Seven. After that, it doesn’t know what it wants to be. This film is what happens as the result of endless meddling in the creative process by people who don’t have creativity. Maybe Jim Gillespie’s original vision was unacceptable. It’s impossible to know. I doubt that this film would have been anything special had Gillespie and company been left to their own devices, but it is clear that the film that does exist, and which I spent 96 minutes watching, stinks. Alien: Resurrection is a better film than Eye See You.