Enemy of the State (1998)

reviewed by
Arnold Kim

Title: Enemy of the State 
Review by Arnold Kim 

It seems privacy can often be at a premium these days. a person's credit and their purchasing history can be found on the computer. Bugs and cameras have been shrunk down to the microscopic level. The private life of the president is now a national issue. "Enemy of the State", directed by Tony Scott, takes advantage of this paranoia, and runs with it.

Will Smith, in what is his first true starring role, plays the role of Robert Dean, a young Washingto DC lawyer who is slipped a videotape of the assasination of congressman, and other government members implicated in the video attempt to track him down and capture him. All this is done via the technology of a national security agency.

Thsi film successfully preys on the idea that someone, somewhere, is watching our every move. It could be from some hidden camera in the wall, or a bug planted in the heels of our shoes. No matter where you run, we'll always know where you are. The predator knows exactly where the prey is going to move, and this sort of suspense done at a breakneck speed creates some fairly pulse-pounding moments. It's an elaborate chase, and you feel ike you're just as much the victim.

"Enemy" features probably as quality a cast as an action film can get. Will Smith is fine as Dean, occasionally showing some of the comic wit he has, as well as pulling off the innocent everyman role effectively. Gene Hackman plays the former security agent who helps Dean out in his flee from his hunters. He's not the cookie cutter expert-who-bails-out-the-hero type character seen in films- he is portrayed with the appropriate conviction. Also commendable is Jon Voigt as the politician implicated in the video, as cold as a member of Congress can get.

The only major problem I found with the film is that it does tend to drag on a bit later on and found myself getting a bit bored at about the last half hour or so. Some of the time perhaps could have been better spent rejuvenating the plot a little. An extra plot twist couldn't have hurt the film, since it for the most part runs in one direction the whole way.

For the most part, however, the film is exciting and breathless, and much of the chase was suspense at 100 mph, and that overcomes the occasionally lagging plot. Solid performances, an intruiging and relatively original idea, and execution of that idea at high speeds make for a quality action film that can even make you think once in a while about being watched. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a solid 7.

Lets hope this review isn't secretly monitored...

Arnold Kim

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