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Overall Rating
4.04

Awesome: 35.94%
Worth A Look45.31%
Average: 10.16%
Pretty Bad: 3.91%
Total Crap: 4.69%

8 reviews, 80 user ratings


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Enemy of the State
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Scott Weinberg

"High-tech, kinetic, hyperactive techno-chase."
4 stars

I distinctly remember being all kinds of confused the first time I sat down to watch Tony Scott's "Enemy of the State." The basic plot -- that a successful lawyer unknowingly receives a secret tape that a rogue NSA agent would kill to acquire -- is not the problem. It's once the thing got down to the meat of the matter, the flick got lost in a miasma of techno-chatter and convoluted plot contrivances.

I'm pleased to note that I enjoyed Enemy of the State considerably more upon second visit ... even if I still get a little lost somewhere between Acts II & III.

As previously mentioned, Will Smith plays a rich D.C. lawyer who finds himself on the receiving end of all sorts of mayhem after an desperate old friend drops a top secret videotape into his shopping bag. Thus begins a high-tech chase that boasts plenty of angry agents, narrow escapes, and satellite coordinates.

Taken as (yet another) piece of action-flick escapism, Enemy of the State works fairly well ... even if the pacing is all out of whack once the plot starts cooking. But there's also a canny sense of intelligence working here, as if director Scott and screenwriter David Marconi were hell-bent on tweaking a few political noses throughout the course of their espionage adventure. Indeed, Enemy of the State pleads its case well; sequences involving global satellite recognizance and voice-recording technologies speak to the dwindling sense of privacy we often feel nowadays. (Unless you're Canadian, of course.)

So we're looking at a fairly standard (albeit exceedingly well-directed) spy-type thriller with a few cool action scenes and a plot just interesting enough to command a few hours of your time. But then there's the cast. It's like movie geek heaven.

Will Smith does a fine job as the beleaguered semi-hero, but Enemy of the State really does belong to its ensemble cast. Say what you will about Jerry Bruckheimer's bombastic confections, but this is a producer who knows a good character actor when he sees one. Littered throughout Enemy of the State, hero, villain, or indifferent, are Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Gabriel Byrne, Stuart Wilson, Barry Pepper, Jake Busey, Scott Caan, Seth Green, Jack Black, Tom Sizemore, Loren Dean, Jason Lee, James LeGros, Bodhi Elfman, Jamie Kennedy, Lillo Brancato, Grant Heslov, Philip Baker Hall, and Jason Robards! Damn! Throw in some great ladies like Regina King and Lisa Bonet ... and that's a wrap party I'd kill to attend.

A chase thriller with half a brain is a rare thing indeed, which might help to explain why Enemy of the State has maintained a solid stable of fans since it debuted in 1998. It's slick, sly, frequently funny, and laden with high-tech mega-gizmos that'll make any red-blooded dude say "cooool." Plus it's got some great action moments, just enough energy to jolt you through the exposition deliveries, and a ridiculously colorful cast to keep your eyeballs busy.

(© Review reprinted from DVDTalk, with permission from the author (me) and the DVDT management. For the full DVD specs on this particular movie, please visit www.DVDTalk.com and get friendly with the search bar.)

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=179&reviewer=128
originally posted: 05/22/06 16:26:30
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User Comments

3/30/10 PAUL SHORTT FAST-PACED, ENJOYABLE HI-TECH THRILLER WITH A CHARISMATIC STAR PERFORMANCE 3 stars
12/29/08 amy terrific film, very important, and edge of your seat exciting 5 stars
12/19/07 Pamela White Will makes an unlikely twin, but good action 4 stars
1/05/07 Watch This Movie! Still a great thriller even (nay, especially) 10 yrs l8r. Smith's best movie overall 5 stars
6/08/06 Carolyn Rathburn wonderful suspence and action, loved it 5 stars
5/25/06 saw Yes, opening the eyes of the common folk to what the goverment is up to. 5 stars
2/07/06 Anthony Great one Smith 4 stars
9/06/05 Michael Wow! ... Fast ... Good ... No Escape 5 stars
8/13/05 ES Can anyone say 'completely unbelievable'= bad movie 2 stars
6/13/05 Agent Sands A classic already. Everyone's seen it. Good bit performances by future stars. 4 stars
2/18/05 tatum Exciting, but it is just a movie! 4 stars
10/09/04 John even Gene Hackman can't save this terrible script 2 stars
8/07/04 ALDO Non stop action flick ...with a really intelligent Ending... 5 stars
7/17/04 Boris Smith Superb action-thriller! 5 stars
5/06/04 J.Peckerfoot yawn 3 stars
4/15/04 R.W. Welch Just passable thriller than even Hackman can't quite salvage. 3 stars
12/09/03 Samuel I think these things actually go on ; ( SPOOKIE!!!! 5 stars
9/28/03 Alice It has to be said, Will never does movies that really suck. 4 stars
3/16/03 123 This movie is fricking cool and I love the final showdown 5 stars
3/04/03 Jack Sommersby Hi-tech gadgets don't substitute for astute writing. Phony and asinine from the get-go. 1 stars
10/27/02 MarktheShark6 It's almost scary to think how true this movie may be, but it's great (go Jason Lee!) 5 stars
10/03/02 Shmeh Mintenhausen yeah 3 stars
2/27/02 Shrike Will Smith actually in a good movie??? 4 stars
2/20/02 Xaver This was in serious need of real editing. Way too long and just not worth it. 2 stars
10/29/01 Gary Predictable, hokey & unoriginaland with a lazy performance from a typecast Smith. 1 stars
10/09/01 jawsboy damm good action and performances. Not oscar worthy, but it's the better work of tony scott 4 stars
9/11/01 J This is quite possibly the best thing for anybody involved in this film. 5 stars
9/05/01 Butterbean Just a standard man-on-the-run movie. 3 stars
8/29/01 Gary Very entertaining first half, but it nosedives, becoming predictable & losing all intrigue. 2 stars
8/08/01 Mr. Hat THIS IS ONE OF THE GREATEST ACTION MOVIES EVER. 5 stars
7/08/01 Gracy Lionheart The movie is cool the first time one watches it, but it fades fast. 3 stars
6/09/01 Turtle I rented this for free.... But I would've paid the $3.45. It's that great. 4 stars
5/31/01 Mason Billotte I think Will is awesome, he is a really good actor and he just made an awesome movie! 5 stars
5/08/01 Monday Morning Bitchin' blend of action, suspense and a great, multi-dimensional story. 5 stars
11/29/00 Cristopher Revilla great action-suspense movie, its worth the rent 5 stars
10/29/00 Mitja Podgajski good actors, good production, and good story! 4 stars
8/10/00 Terrie Smith Pretty good; lots of action and Gene Hackman's appearance is a bonus. 4 stars
6/23/00 Elvisfan Don't think about it afterward and you might not mind it so much 3 stars
5/12/00 Steve Layne Exciting, but it losing steam toward the end. 4 stars
3/25/00 Richard Wright A too-complex thriller, but at least Smith proves to me he has a larger acting range. 3 stars
10/20/99 Lame-Oh At least Will did better in this movie than ID4, WWW and MIB 4 stars
8/24/99 Obi Wan Not a bad flick...open my eyes...kinda makes me wonder now. . . 4 stars
7/24/99 Hagbard Celine Sucks beyond all belief. Will Smith should be shot. 1 stars
7/04/99 J-Dogg For entertainment purposes only!! This is pure Hollywood fluff, but it kept me watching. 3 stars
6/28/99 Ricardo Gripping! 5 stars
6/25/99 David Keech Plot is either truly preposterous, or truly scary . Either way, EOTS is rollicking fun. 4 stars
6/22/99 Arkansas Jon An entertaining little flick, albeit too much like The Fugitive and Conspiracy Theory 4 stars
6/15/99 Dylan Sorry but theres no way that i can get with the hype surrounding this formulaic tripe. 1 stars
6/03/99 bridgette rather enthralling 4 stars
5/23/99 Ah Dooey Not too bad, not too bad. Absolute badass. 5 stars
3/02/99 Oscar Some of the equipments don't exist at the present. 4 stars
2/25/99 little jerry Scott use to be one of the worst directors.After Crimson Tide & now this ,I'm impressed. 4 stars
2/22/99 Jeff HOUN Very entertaining and action packed, good plot 5 stars
1/31/99 Kyp Cool flick, nice build up of tension :) 5 stars
1/12/99 harrison fair at best 3 stars
12/29/98 tr big disappointment from a group of great actors. 2 stars
12/21/98 MR HOLLYWOOD!! The best directing ive seen in a LONG time,a great flick with the most silliest ending! 4 stars
12/20/98 kozmic A busy flick,splashs of laughs,keeps you watching.Will is getting closer to real drama. 4 stars
12/16/98 A non-techno-thriller-type My internal decimal meter exploded and my eyes were buggin' out from frame changes. 3 stars
12/13/98 Carl A great paranoia flick that makes you go "Hmmmm..." Killer movie! 4 stars
12/07/98 Shadow Raider Hackman's the man! Will Smith strikes again! Outstanding! 5 stars
12/06/98 Mr Showbiz Wannabe paranoid conspiracy thriller, just another hackneyed, high-concept action thriller. 3 stars
12/05/98 tj a bit too busy...but still the best out there except for AmHistX 4 stars
12/05/98 Jason Stein Score another for Bruckheimer, IT KICKED ASS 5 stars
12/02/98 Tough Crowd Fuck a Duck this movie is damn good 5 stars
12/02/98 Brysa yo! this flicks the bomb! 5 stars
12/01/98 Jumbles More intriguing than the "feature length chase scene" you might expect. 4 stars
12/01/98 Bluntman The most suprising rollercoaster ride of the year. A blast! 4 stars
12/01/98 Daddy Rich Smith and Hackman are great. Very suspenseful; you never know what is going to happen next 5 stars
12/01/98 {{{OZ}}} Bruckheimer surprises. Smith can't pull off "subtle", but a great cast makes up for it. 5 stars
11/28/98 ShadowStar© Hackman strikes again! 3 stars
11/27/98 16 in. of swingin' meat and a bucket of balls A Bruckheimer Production with a great ensemble cast. A must see! 5 stars
11/26/98 Gamma Outstanding! Ending was flat, but rest was awesome. Go see it now. 5 stars
11/25/98 betty humpter When is the homage to Will Smith and his enormous ego going to end ? Just say no to the ego 1 stars
11/24/98 PhatCat Yes. I knew it all along. Someone is sending a message. 5 stars
11/23/98 Christ Monkey Glad to see a big-budget Smith flick worth seeing. 4 stars
11/22/98 Johny Entertaining thriller with a nicely toned down Smith. Ending is understandably lackluster. 4 stars
11/22/98 Cage Another impressive piece of work by Bruckheimer. VERY COOL !! 4 stars
11/18/98 Leticia Romero Too cool! 4 stars
10/19/98 Aint-It-Cool A massive disappointment from a man who is an idol of mine - Bruckheimer. 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  20-Nov-1998 (R)
  DVD: 16-May-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  07-Jan-1999 (M)


Directed by
  Tony Scott

Written by
  David Marconi
  Aaron Sorkin

Cast
  Will Smith
  Gene Hackman
  Jake Busey
  Gabriel Byrne
  Jon Voight
  Jason Lee



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