on May 30, 2004
Director: Tony Scott
Cast: Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Regina King, Loren Dean, Jake Busey, Barry Pepper.
Running Time: 127 minutes.
Rated R for violence and language.
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.
on April 19, 2004
Enemy of the State is a breakneck thriller that genuinely keeps you on the edge of your seat and is a real nail-biter. It is incredibly well-constructed for what it is: slick, well-shot, gloriously pacey and even with a dash of interesting social question in there. Granted, often it is incredibly implausible, and his ability to sit back and be happy at the end despite all the carnage of what has happened, make it a little laughable, but the fact is, thats not the point with this kind of film - the point is it is truly thrilling, stylish and cool. You really get deep into it.
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.
on October 1, 2003
When WILL SMITH in this MOVIE who's confronted witch very much difficults problems of a STATE CONSPIRACY, he become a precedence of the elite which is composed of C.I.A. N.S.A. F.B.I. and many other stranges services illegitimates SPYS WHO ARE OBEYING of the orders of influent strange man who has killed his almost friend, and then, these CONSPIRATORS who are ables to kill anybody throught their road so as to ensure an uncovicing PROGRESS whitch consist to have any authority for transgress yhe all of the private life of any body in the AMERICA OR THE WORLD WITH CONSIDERABLES AVERAGES SUCH WHITCH ARE SATELITTES AND EMITTERS, THEN THE YOUNG MAN (WILL) WHO'S JUST A SPARE FOR GOVERNMENT AND A SIMPLE ADVOCATE WHO BEGAIN STRONG WITH A ITALIAN MAFIOSO Who has difficulty whith THE LAW, and after that when he is deprived of his credit cards and many other things , when he is forced in a jift to take away his alls garments with a curious intelligent old man for him but he is very much contented to know the identity suddenly of an ancient efficient best of the bests SPYS whou's BOUND TO SHATTER HIS CONFIDENTIALITY EVER SINCE LONGTIME (GENE HACKMAN) THEY WILL SURPISE EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD OF THESE STRANGES MEN WITH ABILITY TO ASSASSINATION RHEY FORMS STILL AGAIN BUT FOR THE FIRST TIME TWO IN PICTURES HISTORY AND EVERY INGREDIENTS ARE GOODS IN THIS SPLENDID D.V.D.MOVIE NOT DEAD TIME WITH THESE ALL ACTORS WILL SMITH AND GENE HACKMAN ARE VERY GOODS ACTORS
on June 2, 2003
Enemy of the State has fast pace and great actors (Will Smith, the great Gene Heckman and Lisa Bonnet in a too short appearance). The film also has lots of electronic gimmicks (satellite surveillance is the thing here with lots of satellite visuals and close ups...); there is also some clever action. All in all I have to admit it is quite interesting to watch and you do remain hooked to the screen. However, the plot is corny and banal and I cannot help but wonder - what about some new story line...? How many times can we see a movie that has the following tale: an innocent regular citizen (one who has some unique quality like being a computer genius, especially clever, etc.) gets caught in a corrupt scheme that originates from someplace high in power (be it some high government office, national security forces, etc.). Our innocent hero's life is shattered and he finds himself on the run fighting an unknown enemy equipped with all the modern electronic equipment. Our innocent hero has only himself to count on and sometimes some unexpected help. Step by step he starts to understand what happened and to uncover the big scheme...our hero succeeds after going through an ordeal (miraculously saving his life time and again) and returns to normal life. This is more or less the story line of "Enemy of the state" and can be also attributed to many other movies. "The Pelican Brief", "Bourne Identity", "the Net" "No way out" would be naming just a few.
By scaring you with all the ways the government can monitor the little citizen's behaviour (or supposedly monitor - it is hard to believe they can do all that is portrayed) the movie is also trying to make a statement about privacy. This is spoon fed to your mouth by having the privacy law as one of the political issues of the movie.
on April 23, 2003
The film pulls no punches. This has to be close to the finest film Will Smith has ever made, and it's hard to see why it didn't do a lot better at the box office.
If anything, its even more relevant than the day it was released. None of the technology is fictional, (despite some comments) it's all in deployment right now.
Ironically, since the enactment of the Patriot act in the USA, and the second act more recently, this film has assumed a quite weirdly prophetic status. Many comments recently made about the changing character about America (See Tim Robbins recent address to the National Press club) are very to the point here and can't be ignored. It's so easy to see that people like Jerry Falwell are now coming very close to issuing the kind of frightening rhetoric seen in this film - art has met the horizon of reality all too quickly.
Perhaps though, the film's single most biting comment is on the nature of the lobby system and the problem of the separation of judicial and executive powers in the USA, which if anything is far more malefidious and dangerous than what the film depicts.
But, sufficient to say, all this is nothing compared with Hackmans gem of a performance of terse and cranky sainthood. He excels at the hero - putting everything into his character. This only gives the film more authenticity and a really hard edge.
I just can't fault this movie. The ending is so good, it's impossible really, but there can be no end of sofas being thumped way out there in suburbia and enthusiastic whoops. There's no doubt this film absolutely deserves such.
on March 9, 2003
if you are a fan of the movie 'the conversation' then you will love this for novelty value if nothing else. i havent seen much with will smith and i was worried this was going to be somekind of men in black thing. it is in fact, very serious though. good acting all around, the list of actors is ridicolous: will smith, gene hackman, john voight, seth green, jack black, jamie kennedy, lisa bonet, scott caan, jason robards, jason lee, theres more. i recoginzed 2 guys from the sopranos (dont know their names), one of which was also in goodfellas. the story is full of action. its certainly silly at times, the technology used in this wire-tapping drama is just ridicolous but its a lot of fun.
gene hackman im convinced now is the best actor of all time. the conversation is my favorite movie ever and one which i believe is also highly underrated. the conversation revolved around gene hackmans character who is a professional (also legal and legit) wire tapper. he plays the same role in this movie, and there are other conversation parallels: at one point a file photo of hackmans character is shown, and immediately i recognized it as a photo from the conversation. he works in a similar area: an unerground/basement, caged in fortress/shop. if anything this character is harry caul(hackman in the conversation) times 10: he is even more paranoid as shown during smiths first exchange with him, he works through about 10 other people and 10 levels, never getting his hands dirty. but will smith gets into such a bunch of trouble that you start to wonder how can possibly bail him out....hackman of course. its also interesting how hackman isnt even introduced until almost half way thru the movie. then only for a few minutes; he disappears again. then he finally returns to really kick... i think vin diesel is cool, i love fast and the furious and XXX and to me gene hackman is just as much of an untouchable badass, just in a much different (and probably less hip) way.
tony scott directed this, he is an excellent director known for great films like true romance. funny, there is a similar situation with a similar outcome (shoot out where everyone dies except the main character, will smith in this case) in this movie.
if you love the conversation as i do, you wish there was more to see. this is as close as your going to get and its quite impressive. a huge cast of stars, great acting, and fun script and exciting, visual directing. near perfect.
on March 6, 2003
If you look at all of Jerry Bruckheimer's movies, you will see that he makes some of the best. Con Air, Crimson Tide, Beverly Hills Cop, The Rock, Black Hawk Down, and some others. His movie Enemy Of The State is another example why he is one of the best producers around.
Enemy Of The State revolves around a CIA head of Security (Jon Voight) wanting the Congressman Phil Hammersly to pass a law for a new type of security system giving the power to use satallites to keep video tabs of the enitre city, therefore, lower the crime rate. But when the Congressman does not go along with it, he is killed.
But what the agents don't know is that there was a hidden camera that records exotic animals, and it was pointed accross the lake where the murder was taken place. Deon Zavits (Jason Lee) recovers the tape to find that he owns the murder of the Congressman. He is then chased by the CIA agents to get the tape back. In The process, he drops the tape into the bag of lawyer Robert Dean (Will Smith). Deon is then killed and Robert is now the main target of the CIA. The problem is, he dosn't know he has the tape.
Now he is running for his life, not knowing why, until he meets up with an ex-CIA operative, Brill (Gene Hackman), who knows the exact reason he is being hunted down. From there, Brill helps Robert in the chase and becomes invloved himself. Now they are both running for their lives, and trying to notify the authorities of the tape, before time runs out.
I won't tell you what happens during the coarse of the movie, but I can tell you that the entire movie is awesome. Very suspensful and full of action. Will Smith gives one of his best and most dramatic perfromances ever. Gene Hackman is just naturally great. They make the perfect team in Enemy Of The State.
"Enemy Of The State" runs for about 2 hours and 10 minutes. It is rated R for strong language, strong violence, and some brief sexual content.
on November 19, 2002
"Enemy Of The State", is a good piece of entertainment from a duo of filmmakers that have brought many such pieces to the screen. Having said that, if we had 1% of the gee-whiz gadgets that this film had, and they worked with 1% of the efficiency that the film portrays, Osama Bin Laden would have been apprehended before midnight on September 11th. The balance of Al Qaeda would have been rounded up within a day or two. Orwell's vision in, "1984", is tame when compared to the absolute instantaneous control this film portrays the US Government as having over any citizen they pick.
A good story needs good actors and this film has at least a trio of fine performers. Will Smith is a man whose career is still just in the early stages of what should prove to be decades of success, and he already has one Oscar Nomination to his credit, Jon Voight already has an Oscar on his shelf, and one of my favorite actors without condition, Gene Hackman, adds yet another great performance to his resume of films.
There are real government agencies portrayed in the film, but they are portrayed in a science fiction like manner. No film crew is going to get inside of The NSA, and no amount of name dropping of publicly known satellite names, like "Keyhole", make this film's portrayal of data gathering any more believable. The NSA wishes they could do what this film gives them credit for. However if you really want to know what they can and cannot do, there are many very good books that share the little information that is in the public domain. Much of it is dated, but like the first Stealth F117-A fighter, when we (the public) were finally shown the plane, it was already an antique, an incredible and still very useful aircraft, but one that had been around for many, many years, and was already several generations old.
Watch this film for the pace and entertainment of a great chase from beginning to end. Just do not take the technology too seriously, and don't allow it to raise any level of paranoia you may have. One fact about The NSA that has been documented is that they can review less than half of what they collect. This is not due to their competence level, rather the shear volume their systems flag for review.
on August 14, 2002
I'll be brief. Enemy of the State is a good action flick with a lousy transfer to DVD. If you have a standard television stop reading this review now: you won't notice what I'm talking about. If you are running a 16:9 TV then read on.
Like many before, this supposedly "wide screen" version is nothing of the sort. The DVD is encoded in a standard 4:3 image, with black bars matting the top and bottom. In other words, this is a non-anamorphic transfer. What that means is that the image you are seeing is lower resolution than a standard NTSC TV signal because of the fewer vertical lines present. On a 16:9 TV the image looks "squished" shorter and "stretched" longer. Most 16:9 TV's have a mode that can re-stretch the image to achieve the proper aspect ratio. The problem there is now the horizontal lines are clearly visible throughout the film.
I wish studios would stop the absurd practice of releasing "matted" widescreen transfers, and only call a DVD "Widescreen" if the transfer is anamorphic. But as long as they're doing it, hopefully enough people will protest to get the studio's attention.
on July 31, 2002
Robert Clayton Dean is a D.C. lawyer who's about to get some kind of twisted Christmas present from an old friend of college: a tape, which reveals a political assassination. Dean doesn't know he has it, but the people ivolved in the murder do know. And they are prepared for anything in order to get back that type, even if that means destroying Dean's life. But Dean isn't willing to let that happen, even if he doesn't know why they want to destroy them.
What we got here is an intelligent film directed by Tony Scott and for my taste, the best of his career. But that's just my opinion. I was a little skeptical at first, because I didn't think Will Smith could deliver a dramatic performance, but he surprised me, and I am sure I wasn't the only one. Of course, Gene Hackman, Jason Lee, Jon Voight, Barry Pepper, Jack Black, Seth Green, Jamie Kennedy, Scott Caan, Tom Sizemore and Gabriel Byrne have their good things, too. It's an awesome cast in my opinion and they all do their job better than one would expect. I can only complaint about the little screen time Gabriel Byrne has, but it's really ok. And Tom Sizemore, wow, he's great in this one as an italian mobster and who, in my opinion, has the greatest line in the film.
Note that I only give this film 4 stars, but that's because of the DVD edition. It is so lame when it could have been so great. The film gets 5 stars, not the DVD.
Maybe the technology shown in the movie is a little overwhelming and for those who are not into the state of the art electronic devices, this film may seem too far-fetched. The music is superb and the main theme is really a beautiful music piece that really grabs the essence of this movie, which is, in my opinion, the end of privacy. How your actions, even in the privacy of your bedroom, your computer, phone calls, e-mail... everything, can be tapped just to ensure national security. Of course, it's a step beyond, but definately, very plausible.
What's more important to you? Privacy or safety? And if it is indeed safety, how do we know that the people monitoring us aren't using that power for selfish purposes, like depicted in this film. Are we willing to give up our privacy just to feel safe? And how safe would you feel knowing that someone is watching you or listening to everyword that comes out of your mouth? "Only privacy that's left is inside your head and maybe that's enough" one of the characters says. And after September 11, after many of us lost that sense of security, I am quite sure that this would be an interesting debate. To paraphrase another of the characters, "when buildings start blowing up, people priorities tend to change". He's got a point there. But who's there to tell which person is trustworthy enough for me to trust him my privacy, my life?
As Larry King says in the last line of the film: "how do we draw the line between protection of National Security, obviously the government's need to obtain intelligence data, and the protection of civil liberties, particularly the sanctity of my home? You've got no right to come into my home".