Teaming up once again with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Top Gun director Tony Scott demonstrates his glossy style with clever cinematography and breakneck pacing. Will Smith proves that there's more to his success than a brash sense of humor, giving a versatile performance that plausibly illustrates a man cracking under the strain of paranoid turmoil. Hackman steals the show by essentially reprising his role from The Conversation--just imagine his memorable character Harry Caul some 20 years later. Most of all, the film's depiction of high-tech surveillance is highly convincing and dramatically compelling, making this a cautionary tale with more substance than you'd normally expect from a Scott-Bruckheimer action extravaganza. --Jeremy Storey
Another producer Jerry Bruckheimer/director Tony Scott thrill ride without substance, this time pitting family man lawyer Robert Clayton Dean (played by Will Smith in a ho-hum performance) against a technologically-driven government. Not knowing that the trivial meeting with an old friend would cause him so much trouble, Dean gets sucked into a conspiracy case involving a rogue National Security Agent (Jon Voight) who killed a United States congressman because he accidentally received a video tape with footage of the murder. With incredible surveillance techniques and technology, Voight is able to track all of the lawyer's moves and keep tabs on him.
Our hero's life is turned upside down until he meets up with a stealthy former NSA active named Brill (played very well by Gene Hackman). With the assistance of Brill, Dean attacks the government head on and must learn the truth in order to save his life. Director Tony Scott brilliantly uses the camera to portray his views, jolting the characters through a series of incredible chase scenes, rip-roaring explosions, and intense firearm combat, but ultimately "Enemy of the State" focuses solely on the unbridled advances in special effects abilities that it keeps the audience from understanding the story and getting involved with the characters. Smith is only adequate in his first major "dramatic" role, while Hackman and Voight pick up some of the slack in their devilishly effective parts. A must-see if you are into big explosions and dynamite cinematography, but one to leave on the shelf if over-acting and a mediocre script are an annoyance.
Will Smith is startlingly good in his best performance since Six Degrees Of Seperation - if only he would turn in these great performances in credible, interesting films more often, and is well supported by a strong cast that includes Gene Hackman, Jamie Kennedy and Jack Black amongst others. This comes highly reccomended for an evening's entertainment and is truly exhilirating and packed with plot and intrigue that puts most regurgitated, lame excuses for a storyline to shame. Great stuff.