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Review by Andrew Manning (11/98)

Release: 1998, Buena Vista
Starring: Will Smith, Gene Hackman
Director: Tony Scott
Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer
MPAA Rating: [R] language, violence
Genre: Action/Thriller

It's not paranoia if they're really after you...


When shifty dudes plant an Important Secret Item on an innocent, unsuspecting dude (Smith), evil dudes will stop at nothing to hunt him down and get said Item. As a former co-worker was fond of saying: All wackiness ensues!


Enemy of the State is an action film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. That means lots of action, lots of impressive effect shots, and big, big explosions. As in Crimson Tide and The Siege, the best action happens when the two principal characters are yelling at each other.


This movie is saturated with two things I am sick of: conspiracy theories and Will Smith. With movies like Conspiracy Theory, Arlington Road, The Spanish Prisoner, and, of course, The X-Files, there's just too much paranoia and double crossing going on in the celluloid world. It's wearing thin, and Enemy of the State doesn't really present any of it in a new or compelling way. Yeah, yeah, everyone's after him...been there, done that.

Then there's Will Smith. I'm not saying he's a bad actor. In fact, he's proven himself a capable actor in the least likeliest of places: during his stint on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. But since then, his roles in blockbusters like Independence Day and Men in Black have inflated his ego and paycheck, without doing a whole hell of a lot for his talent. Enemy of the State doesn't really buck the trend. While he's not playing the slick, trashing talking cool dude anymore, he hardly landed an original role here. And unfortunately, he isn't captable of carrying a weak movie alone. Let's face it: those blockbusters made him, not vice versa. Points gained for action and suspense, points lost for unoriginal premise and tired cliches.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10 (0=Abysmal, 5=Average, 10=Excellent)

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