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
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