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Enemy of the State

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Enemy of the State

Starring: Will Smith, Gene Hackman
Director: Tony Scott
Rated: R
RunTime: 128 Minutes
Release Date: January 1998
Genres: Action, Suspense

Review by David Wilcock
2 stars out of 4

Will Smith stars in this amiable action movie directed by Top Guns Tony Scott. Smith is Robert Clayton Dean, who manages to get possession of a tape showing the murder of a congressman. The murderer (Jon Voight) wants this tape back, and Will's life is put on the line as he tries to work out why the hell everyone is trying to kill him. Helping him is 'Brill' an ex-agent played by Gene Hackman.

Enemy of the State provides enough thrills to keep the popcorn punters happy, although it might disappoint all the members of the audience who prefer to have their stories with a little bit more meat. While the direction is certainly flash, and the chases good fun, some the plot twists are silly, and the technology used seems a little to advanced for it's own good (even entering Blade Runner territory.) Still, director Tony Scott keeps the thrills coming, and the film is directed and paced like some hyper music video (much like Top Gun) Will Smith is more than adept at playing the action hero, delivering his lines with a cocky ease. Hackman does a great character role, even if it does amount to shouting a lot. Jon Voight is a suitably cool bad guy, and Lisa Bonet is fine as Smiths wife.

The story, by David Marconi, is a little predictable, but it's a good premise to hang a action movie on. It might take a lot of liberties from The Conversation, including one scene which is a big homage, but this doesn't really attract any of the excitement away from the film. It certainly won't win any awards for originality, though. While no smart statements are delivered, the script is certainly above average in action movie terms.

While Enemy of the State is, for the most part, good, it sadly suffers from being 30 minutes too long. The film looks like it's going to end on a perfect conclusion, but then it just keeps on going. This movie could easily have been wrapped up much quicker, but it's a bit too involved in it's own story, and it soon has to wrap up a lot of lose ends, which is a shame. Still, the pumping music, fast cuts and fun acting detract slightly from this.

In the end, Enemy of the State is a 'higher class' of action movie, and while it could have been shorter, it's an entertaining and sometimes clever look at the world of espionage, and is worth a look.

Copyright 1998 David Wilcock

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