Enemy of the State

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 2:07 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Enemy of the State
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Touchstone Pictures
Release Date: 1998
Kiddie Movie: Violence, things blowing up, slinky lingerie – leave them at home.
Date Movie: Sure.
Gratuitous Sex: A couple of scenes.
Gratuitous Violence: Yea, quite a bit, and a dude gets run over by a fire engine.
Action: Car chases, buildings blow up, and spy stuff.
Laughs: Some good one-liners.
Memorable Scene: The Asian lady in the hotel room, and a kick-ass gunfight between the mob and the NSA.
Memorable Quote: Dean throws his watch with a tracking device in it off the roof and the NSA dude says “Either he just committed suicide or has learned to fly.”
Directed By: Tony Scott

“Enemy of the State” is one of those movies that is cool to see as long as you don’t try to make sense out of it all. Enjoy the car chases, enjoy the gunfights, enjoy the technology gadgets, enjoy the ladies in the lingerie store, just don’t try to make sense of the actions of our stars.

The story kind of goes like this: Will Smith plays Robert Clayton Dean, a lawyer who generally deals with the unions and the mob. One day he finds himself in a lingerie store buying some slinky clothing for his wife. Earlier in the day there was a murder, caught on videotape by accident, by a guy that Dean knew from college. Well, the dude is being chased by the NSA folks trying to get the tape, somehow makes it out of his apartment, over the roof, through an alley, and into the same lingerie store. The dude is scared, puts the tape and little TV into one of Dean’s Christmas bag, runs out of the store, and gets run over by a fire engine. So, Dean has this tape that he didn’t know about, but the super-sneaky NSA guys think he knows about it, and proceed to ruin his life.

Now, through a series of strange twists and turns, Dean finds Brill (Gene Hackman), who used to work for the feds, but now is in hiding, but knows how to help Dean. We find that two can play at the surveillance game as Brill and Dean get sneaky with the NSA dudes. Intermingled we have the mob, a loving wife, some kids, and the underlying fear that the government is always spying on us.

I guess the story is a little more complicated than that, but like many action films, sometimes the only important thing about the plot is that it leads to cool gadgets, things blowing up, and some fun characters. “Enemy of the State” ends up having all of these, as long as you forget common sense. Dean does a good job at wondering how his life is getting so screwed up and finally putting together the pieces, Brill is good at the “knowing too much for his own good, suspicious of everyone, but trying to find a way to get back at those who screwed him” guy, and Reynolds (Jon Voight) plays a great, corrupt, sneaky politician type guy.

But, even with that, I still couldn’t get past the lack of common sense and that hurt the film for me. Among the many things that made no sense to me were things like: How the hell couldn’t the NSA guys catch the dude who had the tape in the first place? Why didn’t the NSA dudes just say something to Dean like “We’re from the NSA. Your friend in the lingerie shop stole some top-secret information and we think he may have passed it on to you. We need your help.” Then, when Dean realizes he has the tape, why doesn’t he just head to his local TV station and give it to them?

So, where am I going with this? Well, I’ll give “Enemy of the State” 3 stars out of 5. As an action film it was pretty good, the surveillance stuff was cool, and it had a kick-ass gunfight. But for some of the supposed brightest and sophisticated government and lawyer types, they were sure pretty stupid.

That’s it for this one, I’m The Dude on the Right! L8R!!