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  • Why? Well for starters there is the best chase sequence since The French Connection. Then there is Will Smith as an actor - not just a star, though later in the movie he is admittedly overshadowed by veteran Gene Hackman.

    There are two layers to this movie: On the surface is a pacy thriller with edge-of-the-seat chases but underneath lies a telling commentary on government surveillance. It is one of those truth-in-fiction stories which makes its point about government intrusion into privacy dramatically and effectively.

    There are references to the classic, The Conversation: The surveilled couple talking in the park, and the Hackman character's premises are an obvious recreation of his workshop in the earlier movie. If you haven't yet seen The Conversation - see it before you see this one - you will understand the Hackman character a lot better (besides, it is a superb movie in its own right).

    Oh, and Jon Voight is terrific as the bad guy...
  • pswanson0026 January 2006
    I don't know how I missed this in theaters, but I watched it for the first time tonight. I almost gave it a 10, because this is as good as the suspense/action drama gets. Somebody on the DVD special features called it "...a combination of Crimson Tide, The French Connection, and 3 Days of the Condor." From my list of favorites I'd also say it has aspects of Marathon Man, The Fugitive, and The Firm. Will Smith, whose work does not thrill me 100% of the time, is terrific, and Gene Hackman could not have been better. They also receive support from some great character actors, many of them UNCREDITED (a fact which blew me away).

    My enjoyment was enhanced by being familiar with Hackman's The Conversation, in which he plays Harry Caul, one of the world's greatest audio surveillance men. His hideout/office in Enemy is reminiscent of Caul's digs, and the photograph which the bad guys have on file for him is of his character from The Conversation. I sort of wish they'd named the new character Caul, giving long-term continuity to the story.

    I'm running off at the fingers here, so I won't elaborate on the location, direction, etcetera, but will end with SEE THIS FILM!
  • Well, I like this one. I like the cast, the visuals are well done, but what is more important is the plot that I like really much. It's not the most sophisticated plot of all times, but I think it's quite good, and to some degree, realistic. Of course it's not possible to move sattelites that quickly, or zoom in on a videotape that much and still have crystal-clear visual, but quite some technology seen is realistic today, or in the near future. This is an hollywood flick, all right, so they have quite much action and everything looks very easy, steering a sattelite seems to be no harder than playing a video game, what makes it all seem a bit unrealistic/sci-fi-like, but today's technical posibilities are quite large, and continue to grow, so informing oneself about the issue (I mean the real world issue) is not a bad idea.

    To give you some points to think:

    • It's routine for the credid card companies to document every transaction made with the cards, go figure who gets the docs if police is investigating.

    • Every call / fax done is documented for billing, go figure, who...

    • At least for your ISP it's possible to read every unencrypted email you send or receive, go figure ...

    • Today there are MANY cameras in public areas in Great Britain, with numbers still growing.

    • Face recognition software is already being used in combination with some surveillance cameras.

    • Dictation software that can interpret your spoken word and convert it into written text is being sold to you today, maybe some organisations have much better versions at their hands ...

    The list could go on, but what I want to say is that one should think about the posibilities and listen to what the politicians say, and what they want to allow the federal organisations.

    You want to be able to still _enjoy_ the movie in some years time, not thinking of it as being somewhat normal just as everyday life, all right?
  • Enemy of the State (1998)

    Review: This is a different direction for many. Will Smith for one and some noticeable comedic actors are here, but this is no comedy.

    Enemy of the State is quite a movie. What is the main point of this is the plot. It works in many ways. In a situation like this, anyone with connections and power can have access to such technology to track down anyone who knows far too much. It's quite real. Scary in a real sort of way.

    Another truly strong point here is the acting. Will Smith and Gene Hackman deliver excellent performances. Smith showed great emotion and Hackman had conviction. Not just these two were great, we have Jon Voight as well. But what really got me is the acting from other characters as Seth Green, Barry Pepper, Jake Busey, and even Jack Black. These people are great especially Black who is really acting here! Black should have realised that comedy is not his thing if suspense and drama are as he is great here.

    Overall, we get great acting, a fine plot, and fast, character development and fast and intense action as well. Sound like a winner to me. Enemy of the State is fresh and original and clever. One of Smith's finest movies.

    The Last Word: Don't miss. Gripping and Suspenseful.
  • Sucessful lawyer Robert Dean is passed information by an old friend without noticing. Seconds later that friend is killed and Dean is targeted by a group within the Government who wish to cover up a conspiracy involving the murder of a congressman. With the Government's full weight of surveillance equipment brought to bear Dean turns to ex-NSA agent Brill to help protect him, find the information and get it out into the open.

    This is much better than the ususal summer crash, bang, wallop stuff we usually get fed. It's greatly helped by the sense of paranonia that runs through the whole story from the Government's power and corruption at some levels. The film starts well, with 'everyman' Dean being drawn into a game of cat and mouse, framed for a crime he didn't commit and forced to go on the run from Government agents. Will Smith carries the film only so far but it realy gets interesting when Hackman turns up as Brill. He casts light on the ability of the government and is almost able to play them at their own game. Brill makes an appearance when the film starts to become too much of a staight chase movie.

    To me the use of Hackman as Brill is the best bit of casting ever and makes this film stand out as being clever. In the 70's Hackman played a surveillance expert in Copolla's The Conversation. The film ends with Hackman being monitored himself, with him ripping his house apart looking for the bugs. What makes his casting as Brill so good is that Brill is where Hackman's "The Conversation" character would be 20 years on - it feels like it's the same character again. The director also deserves a lot of praise - he manages to keep the pace up throughout the film, whether it be scenes of chasing action or technological pursuit. The script helps as well - the conspiracy and the paranoia is strong throughout.

    Smith is good in the lead, but he isn't quite as good an "everyman" as classic actors as Cary Grant or James Stewart were. Smith also struggles to carry the whole movie and the chases do get a bit samey after a while. Fortunately Hackman is brilliant as Brill, he is a classy actor and brings a lot of weight to the film just as Smith begins to feel the strain. Jon Voight is also good as the villian of the piece. The supporting cast is deep! There were so many famous faces in small roles that I really felt this was an allstar cast, despite the fact that it's a Smith vehicle. Gabriel Byrne makes a fleeting appearance, Ian Hart is there, Jake Busey (son of Gary) shows up, Jason Lee (actor in many Kevin Smith films) witnesses the murder, a gorgeous Lisa Bonet has a small part, James Le Gros, Regina King etc etc. The cast is well packed with famous faces - they don't all get the chance to put on a show but it adds quality at all levels.

    Overall this is a fancy chase movie, but good direction, a strong and deep cast and a fantastic Hackman all make this film much better than it could have been. The last scene of the film is a little too upbeat but other than that it's pretty good stuff.
  • baumer21 April 2007
    Warning: Spoilers
    Conspiracy theorists who enjoy films like JFK and Conspiracy Theory will have a lot to enjoy with Enemy of the State. For a film that came out almost 10 years ago, it seems just slightly ahead its time. I don't remember everything about 1998, but I do know that things like DVD was in it's nascent stages and although the internet has been part of our vernacular for almost 20 years now, the technology prevalent back in 98 as opposed to now is light years apart. And in the post 911 days, having the idea of our privacy abolished is pretty much upon us. Maybe not to the extent perpetuated in this film, but we are pretty much under Big Brother's watchful eye all the time. When you walk into a bank, a restaurant, a convenience store or any public place, you are photographed and recorded and your image can be recalled with a simple enough click of a button. Even today when you call places like phone company's or pizza parlours you hear a recorded message that says this call may be recorded for quality purposes. We are being watched and kept tabs on everywhere we go and in everything we do. In this vein, Enemy of the State is a marvel. It is a film way ahead of it's time. No one could foresee the tragedy of 911, but now that it is part of our history books, films like The Siege and this one are that much more clairvoyant.

    Will Smith plays a Washington attorney whose life is turned inside out when he is given a disc that has a political murder on it. He doesn't know that it does and when an unsanctioned government spook squad comes after him, he is confused and out of his element. Gene Hackman plays Brill, who might as well be an older version of Harry Cauld, his character from Francis Ford Coppola's 1974 film The Conversation. He is a communications expert that has basically gone mercenary and no longer does the dirty work for the CIA and other seedy government factions. Smith needs his help attempting to understand what it all means and how he got entangled in this imbroglio. While Smith is the star of the film, it is clearly Hackman that steals the show with his vernacular and expertise on the subject.

    The film is also blessed with so many bit players that are now either famous or semi famous that it's like watching a Robert Altman film such as The Player. There are that many famous faces in here. Barry Pepper, Jake Busey, Jack Black, Jaime Kennedy, Jason Lee, Gabriele Byrne, Tom Sizemore and Jason Robards all show up in the film in supporting roles. Add to that the incomparable Jon Voight and you have one hell of a cast.

    Enemy of the State moves at a break neck pace. It is directed with a kinetic urgency and Tony Scott shows us why he is one of the best in the business with his style. I can't imagine many haven't seen this, but for those that haven't, it is definitely one of Jerry Bruckheimer's best. And that is saying something.

  • Enemy Of The State is one of the few movies I went out of my way to see in the theater ( I'm a video-rental guy) and it's indeed a grand action-movie. The big surplus is of course the great messages behind the film. It entails a fear that we all have in some degree, the loss of our privacy. Of course all the Hollywood-elements are present: the returning catchphrases and jokes, the over-dramatic scenes, etc. but Scott never goes too far. The pacing is great and the film's over before you know it even though it has a relatively long run-time( for an action-movie) of 120 min. Will Smith is solid but Gene Hackman is the one who steals the show. It's the first movie I saw that starred him (I was only 10 when the movie came out and I've been a big fan ever since.

    Tony Scott's new movie, Deja Vu, really is a lot like EOTS in many ways but I still deem EOTS to be superior. Deja Vu is great of course but I guess I add some sentimental value to EOTS. It's really a must-see for action/thriller fans and I do not say this lightly.

    EOTS fully deserves it's 8
  • Jon Voight, Will Smith, and Gene Hackman are the three stars who make this movie interesting. Voight is a rogue NSA operative and Smith quite accidentally gets on his trail without even realizing it. Hackman provides the key to exposing the crooks and facilitating a reasonable ending. Watching this movie makes you wonder how much of the surveillance depicted can really be done today by our governments. Although the movie has its share of violence, and an ending out of Reservoir Dogs, it also is sprinkled with some good humor. If you like action and espionage, then you'll like this movie. The DVD picture and soundtrack are both excellent. I give the movie overall 8 of 10.
  • The murder of a congressman is caught on tape and Robert Dean (Will Smith) has it. He has to save his family career and life all in 2 hours! Although the plot twists aren't always surprising they are convincing. Gene Hackman plays the role of the paranoid informant wonderfully but Will Smith can't help being funny no matter how hard he tries. Tony Scott shows the action from surveillance camera and telephoto angles giving an edgy feeling throughout the picture. Most of the chases are on foot keeping car chases are kept to a minimum. The chases technically well done but seem to be missing an over the edge quality like most of the movie.The story moves along at a good speed making it a good action movie with a solid plot.
  • I stumbled onto this thriller while channel surfing in an Istanbul hotel room. I missed the first 20 minutes, but it didn't take long to be drawn into the story. In fact, the action is so fast and gripping that I didn't dare get up to take a pee for fear of missing something. Now that's gripping!

    Earlier today I saw a report on cameras no larger than the size of a pill that can make a movie of your digestive tract, from mouth to anus. Now if such miniature devices are already a reality, then some of the tracking technology used in this film must be close to reality - maybe too close for comfort.
  • I enjoyed ENEMY OF THE STATE very very much. I like Will Smith, even though I found WILD WILD WEST very disappointing, and I thought this movie looked great when advertised. I was not disappointed. This is by far better than any of Will Smith's movies so far.

    Robert Clayton Dean (Will Smith) seems to have an average American life. He has a pretty wife and a fine young son, as well as his own house and a successful job as a lawyer. But when he accidentally finds himself with evidence of politician Thomas Brian Reynolds (Jon Voight) killing somebody, his entire life is in jeopardy. His job destroyed, his reputation tarnished and his life in danger by Renolds and a gang of military soldiers and hackers, he turns to a friend, Rachel Banks (Lisa Bonet). She leads him to Brill, (Gene Hackman) a paranoid informant who is also on the run from the government, to help him.

    The acting in this movie is great. Will Smith is at his absolute best in this movie, but the spotlight does probably belong to Gene Hackman for his part as Brill. Seth Green also does a great job as what started as a cameo and became a vital part of the movie. Jon Voight is superb as the evil politician, Lisa Bonet does well as Smith's ex-girlfriend, and Regina King does a fair job as Smith's wife. All of the characters are cool and interesting, especially those of Smith, Hackman, Voight and Green.

    The action is this movie is terrific. There are some very entertaining chases, both car and foot, as well as gunfights and explosions. The ending is also pretty cool. The realism is a little far fetched, (especially when Will Smith goes into a lingerie shop and there are tons of good looking girls modeling it all over the store) but it is believable enough for the viewer to have fun.

    I really enjoyed this movie and will buy it first chance I get. Go out and rent it and enjoy, you'll probably feel the same way.
  • This was an excellent, well thought out, intelligent, masterpiece of a thriller! It's the best film I've seen since "Fugitive-The Movie" It is well done in so many ways that I don't know where to begin, so I'll just mention the high points that come to mind immediately. First of all, Will Smith, Gene Hackman, and Jon Voight are so well cast in their characters that it is scary.

    Jon Voight is so good in his character as the sophisticated, cold hearted, fiendishly clever villain that it seems the part was made for him and only him. What a bad guy! You had to hate him (like Ernest Borgnine as the mean stockade Sergeant in "From Here to Eternity"). His character was so cold, calculating, and uncaring about humans, other than himself, that it was a pleasure to watch and try to understand his take on the events that took place,and how he justified his views.

    Gene Hackman, as Brill, was such an integral part of this fast moving, thought provoking film, that without him as the perfectly cast ex-CIA Agent, the story would not have worked (and with him, it worked so very well). Hackman was a pleasure to watch, and his character was so fascinating and he played him so well that Smith, at times, just shook his head when I doubt that it was in the script.

    Will Smith's character needed him so desperately, that it would have taken three or more very good actors to fill in all the missing pieces that "Brill" did alone and was such an interesting character to watch every second that he was on the screen. The whole privacy issue part of the plot was dealt with so well that one had to give it serious thought after the film – the pace of the action didn't allow for (discussion type) deep thought during the film. As the plot unfolded, "Brill" explained to us (the viewers) much of what was going on through his conversations with and schooling of Smith's character. A technique that I enjoy, because we learned as he learned - as much as they wanted us to know at any given point in time in the story.

    Smith's character was beautifully cast in the typical "Alfred Hitchcock" formula of placing a somewhat ordinary person in an extraordinary situation, and then, we watch to see how he uses his wits to cope, while we subconsciously place ourselves in his situation and think at each step, what we -ourselves- would do in such a scenario. Beautiful.
  • An successful attorney from Washington D.C. by the name Robert Dean Clayton (Will Smith). Which Robert without his knowledge is given a video by his college friend (Jason Lee). Which his friend is trying to hide from mysterious strangers, who been after him until he dies unexpectedly by a fire truck. In that video has a murder of an top political elderly man (An uncredited:Jason Robards Jr.) and the man, who responsible for the murder is a corrupted national security agency man (Jon Voight). Now Dean's normal life is been after by a lethal team of skilled NSA surveillance team. They are ruthless and they will do everything to complete their mission until a mystery man (Two Time Oscar-Winner:Gene Hackman) helps Dean to be away from NSA and destroy, whoever they are responsible for destroying his life.

    Directed by Tony Scott (Beverly Hills Cop 2, The Hunger, True Romance) made an extremely entertaining thriller with plenty of action and humour. This was one of the biggest hits of 1998. It was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (Beverly Hills Cop, Con Air, The Rock). This has an good cast, includes:Lisa Bonet, Regina King, Stuart Wilson, Jack Black. Loren Dean, Barry Pepper, Jamie Kennedy, Jake Busey, Scott Cann, James LeGros and Gabriel Byrne.

    The original cut on the DVD has an sharp non-anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1) transfer and an strong-Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. This enjoyable film is extremely entertaining and never slows down. Hackman's mysterious character is loosely based on a film by Oscar-Winner:Francis Ford Coppola movie titled "The Conversation". Which some critics and fans of Coppola's picture will call this an uncredited sequel. Seth Green, Philip Baker Hall and Tim Sizemore appears uncredited. Panavision. (****/*****).
  • I really loved this one.

    It was masterly directed and choreographed. Will Smith shows he has become a great action actor.

    Even If you don't like action movies, you will like this one. 2 hours of great thrill.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In 1998, I was only about seven years old and therefore I couldn't see it in the theaters because of the rating, but my guess is, the entire world got a wake-up call to the horrifying truth about their government. And the thing is, everything that happened in "Enemy of the State" is very, very possible of happening. But that's just me thinking, 'cause it was over 11 years ago and and I couldn't remember if I tried. Did this movie do the same thing to the government as "Jaws" did to the beaches? Perhaps.

    The movie is about a highly accomplished lawyer named Robert Clayton Dean played by Will Smith in the performance of his career and makes an extremely believable character and expresses his emotions of anger and paranoia just perfectly. Dean accidentally gets a videotape of a covered-up political murder and in most of the movie, he doesn't realize it. But he's aware that the people (NSA agents) chasing him are watching him for sinister purposes. Robert Dean is also one of the smartest characters in the history of films, as he is able to outsmart a corrupt agency who have practically everything on him, such as satellites, tracers and cameras.

    Gene Hackman also stands out as the gruff, foul-mouthed former conspirer and government agent named Brill, who has had experience in surveillance technology and assists Dean in getting away from these dirty agents. However, Hackman doesn't show up until after the first hour, but that demonstrates his character who has spent most of his life hiding and it shows the secretiveness of Brill. Although the role is somewhat smaller, Hackman makes the best of it.

    And as for the NSA agents played by Jon Voight, Barry Pepper, Seth Green and Jack Black.....all of these guys are DIRTY, and I mean that in the truest meaning possible. These guys are ruining an innocent man's life, screwing up his credit cards, and even wrecking his marriage just so they can get away with what they did. Believe me, you are gonna find yourself HATING these guys, and I mean it. And as movie villains're supposed to hate them, sometimes in other movies, you might be amused or not feel anything at all, but "Enemy of the State" does what it's supposed to do. Also, they're very realistic 'cause they aren't stupid and they know what they're doing with all the technology they have.

    Most of the film's thrills comes from the suspense rather than the action, as much of Tony Scott's films are like. The chase scenes such as the beginning when the NSA guys are going after Zavitz and when they're chasing Dean in the hotel and on the streets are terrificly shot and edited. Also, later on the action comes in after Dean and Brill run from the agents is also a highlight, and it's pretty hilarious after Dean asks Brill why he blew up the building and he reacts by saying "Because you made a phone call!" which demonstrates how careful he is. And of course the ending stand-ff between the agents and the Italian mob is absolutely bad@$$ in the true sense of the word.

    I absolutely love "Enemy of the State" and support its position as one of the best thrillers of all time, because its very smart and doesn't treat the audience like they're a bunch of idiots. Buy it, rent it or borrow it from a friend, and watch the movie that happens to be the smartest thriller ever made....
  • Warning: Spoilers
    If this film doesn't provoke you into thinking about "big brother" nothing will... Gripping, fast paced, realistic (especially in the world we know today), superb acting.... This film is all about being under government surveillance and it's too relevant to ignore. Will Smith and Gene Hackman are the stars, but the supporting cast list is top notch- Gabriel Byrne, Ian Hart, Barry Pepper, Jake Busey, Jack Black, Jaime Kennedy, Jason Lee, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore and Jason Robards. Who's watching you???? If you can watch a film of this nature, in this day and age, and not ask yourself that question, then you are one of the most unique individuals to walk our earth. Conspiracy theorists, this is a must see for you.
  • Wow! Talk about a "thrill ride". I Highly recommend this movie- it has to be one of the most underrated movies on IMDB and was way ahead of its time. If you saw this in 1998 or 1999, you probably weren't as familiar with the technology and issues at hand, but if you watch it again, you will be able to keep up with the exposition and what it all means. Watch it again is all I can say.

    It will entertain you with its 90 minutes of literal nonstop action and excitement, but it is also more relevant today than ever before, revealing morally how technology can be abused by governments to spy on people through all of technology and how such intrusion has evolved over the last fifty years- "Who is going to watch over those watching over others? And who's going to watch over those watching over those watching over others?"

    However, this film also just entertains as a simple thriller, with nonstop action, suspense, and extremely fast pacing. It has a stellar cast. You'll even catch an unknown-at-the-time Jack Black and even Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad) in key smaller roles. Will Smith, Jon Voight, and Gene Hackman lead an all-star cast, and even Gabrielle Byrne makes an appearance in a memorable limited role, as does Tom Sizemore.

    But it is Hackman who shines the most as a retired NSA agent who has been living off of the radar with a secret identity for the last couple of decades. Spying is heavy business, and he has decided it's best for him to no longer exist based on his previous experience in the Iran war and knowing too much. This is one of his best performances and that is saying a lot. He probably could have been nominated for an Oscar, but the Tony Scott action-type movie here probably wouldn't appeal much to voters.

    Smith also gives one of his more memorable performances as a man set up and on the run from the government after he happens to accidentally gain possession of something of importance.

    This is a true edge-of-your-seat thriller from practically the very start to the very finish and probably one of the most underrated movies on this site scoring only at 7.2, which is probably just due to when it came out in 1998, long before so many people relied on IMDB for voting and rating movies, and also before average viewers could fully understand and interpret the material- ahead of its time.

    The only major flaw it had is at the very ending climax, which devolved into a little bit of a far-fetched, cliched action scene that requires major suspension of belief, unlike the two hours preceding it, which comes across very realistic and believable. Compared to everything else, it almost feels like it doesn't fit the film, but it does work for a simple minded action climax that is entertaining and some people would find awesome.

    Highly recommended.

  • maap122725 February 2018
    I am unabashedly a Will Smith fan (After all, he is my Philly homeboy). This movie is one of his best, and if you don't believe Big Brother is watching your every move, then you have your head in the sand. Great commentary on government surveillance and its intrusion into our personal privacy.
  • This grabs you by the throat, with an iron grip!! A private citizen (Smith) an attorney no less, is under suspicion, by a govt. department that doesn't have a customer service number for the public. Not in the yellow pages anyway. When a Congressman Hammersly, (Robards) discovers that this bill, the Privacy Act, would actually kill a couple large companies in his district and also end up exploiting, (his suspicions tell him)many Americans needlessly. He is asked by an official from the Government Dept. with no customer service dept. (Voight) to vote 'Their' way instead of what Hammersly wants. The good Congressman tells him basically to go to Hell. Shortly after that disagreement, the Congressman has a severe heart attack....and dies. A good man gone, the story just begins.

    Mean while enter Smith, who happens to get caught in the middle and is inside an investigation of a Mob-'heavy'. Look out this spells trouble! Coinsidentally the FBI just happens to be investigating this Mobster heavy (Tom Sizemore)while Smith is delivering a video to him to let him know that he is going to have to testify in court, that he is being indicted! This does not sit well with this over-bloated megalomaniac. So the mobster, threatens Smith. On and on this goes and gets more interesting. Will Smith does fantastic work in this out of control thrill-rider. Enter Gene Hackman, a retired, former 'spook' for the agency, who worked in Iran before the 'fall' of that country. Hackman is a 'dramedy' delivering player, who without his help, making 'Brill' the character he portrays, this would not be the film it ended up as. The rest of the cast plays out convincing roles as well, this was a wonder-working story. Not all movies are equal, and this is one that shines. Even with years passing it, this feature spreads out it's events actions, reactions, problems and solutions masterfully. Our director Ridley Scott is a 'marvel' set up and execute mind. He takes and makes the interesting, even more so, by the way he lays it out. The story takes on a pace that moves fast and kind of makes your heart go to your throat, inasmuch as feeling as though you are trying to escape the long, reaching arm of a very secret agency, who's job, is watching everything possible out there.

    Hackman, Smith Byrne, Bonet and Voight are well a 'sturdy' force playing out there respective characters, putting it together in this 'mix' and blending a winning thrill-chase of an enthralling story!

    I recommend this work of dramatic excitement highly. Again and again. It makes you think twice...and then some. BLEND THIS!!(*****)
  • Enemy Of The State is a nice action flick. But the special formula, used by Tony Scott, to make us like the movie, doesn't include great action, or great storyline. It has style, that includes an interesting general idea of the movie and great camera angles. The general idea, the movie was based on, is that you can be spotted anywhere in the open by the satellite, and be followed by it. The camera angles, and images that take us to the satellite and back add a lot to the intensity, which is already high. The movie is fast paced and never boring.

    The plot is very simple. Murder, involving high rank officials, is taped. The tape falls to the hands of our main hero, Robert Clayton Dean (Will Smith). Those involved will do anything to get rid of the evidence, and the chase begins. The plot turns to be superficial once Edward Lyle ( Gene Hackman ) gets into the picture and the ending is even less convincing then that. But the intensity of the movie, being always on the run, the cast and the style clearly compensate for the lack of plot originality.

    Good refreshing movie, that stands itself out from other action flicks with general storyline, by being stylish and having an innovative idea.
  • jldmp129 July 2006
    Bruckheimer is guilty of fronting some of the most stupid movies in existence -- one look at his resume confirms that. Tony Scott is just as guilty (as director) of churning out tripe. They've conspired before, so why would we expect anything worthwhile as a result? We've seen it all before; this is basically "Inner Space" plus the intrigues and strained marriage subplot from "The Firm". Lots of long panning shots...dark, underdeveloped and jerky, as is most of Scott's work.

    The problem here is not the moronic plot, or that it's about evil government; in fact, it tries hard to present the facade of being politically neutral. The problem is, the whole thing is laid out for dummies, with absolutely no ambiguity about who's good, who's bad, or what arc each character will follow within the story. In short, who cares? How are we entertained at all by this?

    Ah, there's the rub. The supposed entertainment value comes from the illumination of the star power, and hence it's built from the actors up. Everything is designed to play to each celebrity's strength: Smith as a lawyer (so that we perceive him here as royalty), in order to meet Hollywood's affirmative action quotas in casting, yet he's tough and jive when necessary, so as to pass authenticity muster with the audience.

    Hackman is the real reason this exists though; huge chunks of "The Conversation" were ripped off in order to make this (with none of the storytelling brains), so that he can give us more of his glum authoritarianism. Whole sections of this obviously try to see and hear the narrative in the same manner as Coppola, but Scott doesn't have a clue.

    Most insulting, though, is how the ethnicities are stereotyped. The Chinese couple is depicted as befuddled. The 'Italian-American' depictions involve men slathered with hair grease, leather blazers, wife beater shirts, lots of guns, boiling pasta, and exploding jars of sauce. Sizemore, as the Boss, is flanked by a fat, dutiful wife and fat, cheeky kids.

    In order for us to accept Regina King as the wife, she has to be Hollywood's conception of a 'strong black woman' (whatever that is), propped up by her status as an 'ACLU lawyer', yet she is hysterical, jive and sexually compliant -- they couldn't find a dumber actress if they tried.

    Is this any match for "No Way Out/The Big Clock"? Comparing leading black men in film, is Smith any match for Denzel Washington, who's done smart things like "Fallen", or for Larry Fishburne, who can support things on the order of magnitude of the entire "Matrix" series by himself?

    Nope... all in all, it's the usual collection of deeply insulting, intellectually vacant, preachy, pandering nonsense, that owes its existence purely to the theft of ideas from better predecessors.
  • Robman900030 November 1998
    The entire movie seems completely ridiculous. Although the idea that people can be tracked by satellites is generally correct, there are so many other things that are impossible. For example, a 360 degree image of something can't be taken from a regular 2D security camera. Also, during the action sequences, the camera seemed too close, which made the scenes more confusing than enjoyable. All this leads up to a very unconvincing and unbelievable ending.
  • really good companion piece to 'X-files' and 'The Conversation', in fact Gene Hackman plays a semi-sequel of parts to his part in that. Hackman is one of the Immortals, bringing class and charisma to anything he does. Smith is a good every-man, some of his line-readings seemed forced, but overall I am happy with his job here. The plot reminded me strongly of 'Sneakers', save for the fact that the 'Sneakers' were the baddies this time out. I enjoy the Bruckheimer touch and hope that they continue their fine work in their next film, a Pearl Harbor knock-off.

    the Gazzo-2 rating? *** outta ****, suspenseful, semi-plausible, you can't go wrong with Jon Voight and Gabriel Byrne(in a cameo, mind...) in a film together with Gene and Busey's kid....
  • s@tori7 August 1999
    Enemy of the State is a most annoying film. Even with an intensely unoriginal story, it could have been quite good. Unfortunately, by deciding to treat the audience as if its members were stupid, the film falls on its face. It is, literally, incredible.

    Will Smith can act very well, as seen in Six Degrees of Separation. Unfortunately he mailed in this performance. Weak direction seems to have left everyone incapable of deciding what Smith's character should be: the smart, wise-cracking lawyer or the action hero? In North By Northwest Cary Grant never appears to have the full measure of the situation into which he has been thrust, rendering the film and his portrayal believable. In Enemy of the State, Will Smith seems to go from intelligent but confused dupe out of his depth to omniscient and omnipotent hero for no apparent reason. How?

    Gene Hackman is, as always, eminently watchable and believable. Unfortunately, he has done this film before, played most of the characters better, and he must have known this cheap imitation of "The Conversation" wasn't even in the same league as the original. Two other great actors, Jon Voigt and Jason Robards, are wasted in this film. Robards' cameo at the beginning shows the impact a great screen actor can have in the smallest of roles. His proves in many ways more intriguing than any other character, and he's dead after the first five minutes!

    The silliest thing about the film is the technology represented: satellites taking real-time, moving images of *infinite* resolution through clouds visible from the ground; call tracing which takes place in barely a minute, with 'kewl graphix'; ability to rotate a three dimensional image taken by a single *fixed* camera. Further offending the viewer are blatant and incessant product placements and excessively relaxed techno-geeks who are so stereotyped it's disgusting...not to mention the various ethno-stereotypes in the film, which annoyed me though I am proudly non-PC. Ugh.

    This film is so ridiculous as to be an unintentional comedy. Hollywood wonders why Americans are perceived as buffoons they are not, and why some fellow countrymen seem to be convinced of endless government conspiracy?! More a Hollywood conspiracy to create audience stupidity.
  • tedg2 July 2000
    Okay, another ordinary guy thrust into extraordinary circumstances and being pursued by overwhelming force: template number 1 in the poor writer's cheat book. This go around, we have dire warnings about and examples of NSA invasions of privacy.

    Even if it had a resonating story, this movie is dead. When will they learn not to cast poor actors (Smith, Bonet) near good ones (Voight, Hackman). It just reminds us. Smith never convinces.

    Worse, the reason this was made was to leverage paranoia about a very real agency, who does do profligate, but passive monitoring. The message would have real impact if they hadn't larded it up with so many technical fantasies. Also, if the mission had been carried out with some official blessing, instead of by a minor internal thug.

    The truth IS scarey, as is the threat they are countering. A real film could be made of this, something meaningful, but no one would watch. I wonder whether we really are a stupid people or that we would rather be frightened by clearly fake threats.
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