http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=179&reviewer=1

Enemy of the State

Reviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 11/25/98 22:28:11

"It stars Will Smith and Lisa Bonet.. and it's freaking GREAT!"
5 stars (Awesome)

I can't believe I'm doing this. Call me a snob, call me snooty, even snotty, but this is an action movie produced by Bruckheimer and starring Will Smith and... well... I fucking loved it. My world is crashing down around me, but this film was a great step up for it's genre.

By genre I mean the "Bruckheimer grabs five megastars and a formula and crashes cars and shoots people and we all go yay America" genre. And generally such creatures will inspire my undying wrath an buckets of tepid verbal poopy for all those involved.

But this movie I did not hate. Why? Well, it's actually not a bad story. It's actually done really well and not too dumbed down. In fact, you might even say it's not dumbed down at all.

And the cast isn't awful and cheesey. In fact, the cast in this film is damn good. It's an ensemble performance and contains a host of decent up'n'comers. This is like what Saving Private Ryan would have looked like if Bruckheimer had produced it.

Check it out. Besides Big Willie Smith, there's Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Barry Pepper, Jason Lee, Gabriel Byrne, Seth Green, Jamie Kennedy, Jake Busey, Bodhi Pine Elfman - all actors that would lure me into forking out seven bucks by themselves, let alone as an ensemble cast.

Add to that the comeback role of Lisa Bonet (no, really, she doesn't stink) and the return to prominence of Regina King (Cuba Gooding's wife in Jerry Maguire) and you really do have a great start to things.

All that would be more than enough to impress, but it seems like Bruckheimer and his pet director Tony Scott have gone to great lengths to make this non-formula, suspenseful, action packed and more to the point... BELIEVABLE!

Okay, there's always going to be a certain amount of suspension of disbelief required in an action film, especially a Will Smith effort, but here it's negligible.

The humor isn't forced, the story isn't pushed too far into stupid, the score isn't in your face and Mr Smith finally plays a character that doesn't exude cool.

Perhaps that's my only criticism of this piece. Smith doesn't seem able to really pull off the "straight guy" like he'd like to. He needs to be cool. He seems uncomfortable here.

Other than that, Enemy Of The State is a great movie. It's not going to win any Academy Awards, nor Pulitzer Prizes, but if you can't find yourself perched on the edge of your seat as Jason Lee is being chased like a rabbit across rooftops by a band of meany feds, well you just ain't trying.

If you stayed away from this film thinking it was another Mercury Rising or The Jackal, rethink things. Enemy Of The State is the first action film I've seen since Lethal Weapon 2 that didn't require a healthy dose of penicillin to get through.

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