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Enemy Mine
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Enemy Mine More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Still good, despite it's age...

Author: Rob_Taylor
28 June 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I first saw this movie more years ago than I care (or am able!) to remember. Though not the most action-oriented movie, it stuck in my head then and stayed with me through all the intervening years.

Through the wonders of satellite TV I got a chance to watch this again recently and, with the benefit some thought, have drawn some interesting conclusions about modern film-making compared to "how it was back then".

Firstly, Enemy Mine is a character-driven movie. Even though its tagged as a scifi film, the futuristic setting is used simply as a device to convey the human (and non-human) drama unfolding. In other words, the story could have been set in any genre or era you might care to pick. It wouldn't make a difference. These days, everything seems more oriented around spectacle, rather than substance. Look at similar titles from the Enemy Mine era such as The Thing and you see the same thing. Character development and plot progression. Compare to the movies of today, like Transformers, or Wanted and you'll see a marked lack of development in characters or plot in favour of effects.

Why is this? Well, simply put, these days they have the ability to do things that were either impossible or hideously expensive back then. And, like a child with a new toy, film-makers are having endless fun playing with CGI and will continue to do so until the "newness" wears off. And whilst they continue to play with it, other elements of the movie making process are being neglected in order to placate the "Oooh! Ahh! Pretty!" brigade that values eye-candy over story.

Anyhow, Enemy Mine shows that a good story (unlike effects) can carry a movie despite other deficiencies in the film. In EM, the effects are looking very dated and primitive. The scene where the hero crash-lands on the planet isn't much more evolved from the old Buck Rogers serials, for instance. Yet despite these things, the movie works because of the interplay between the two characters. Nearly an entire movie with only two characters in it, mostly talking. That would be a hard pitch to put to any Hollywood studio today.

So if you haven't seen it, is it any good? That very much depends on what you want out of a film. If you expect the graphical techno-wizardry of Transformers you will be disappointed. If you expect heroes gunning down endless hordes of disposable enemies, you will be disappointed.

On the other hand, if you like a story that is independent of the setting, has some excellent acting, a true feel good factor about it that doesn't depend on the kill-count or effects and a decent amount of human interest, then you might just be in for a treat.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The Odd Couple in space (cringe)

Author: Wuchak from Ohio/PA border
13 March 2014

This 1985 sci-fi film combines the plot of Robinson Crusoe with TV's Odd Couple and the Star Trek episode "Arena"( #19). The story takes place during the late 21st century when there's an interstellar war between humans and Dracs (reptilian humanoids). After a space dogfight, a human (Dennis Quaid) and a Drac (Louis Gossett Jr.) crashland on a barren alien planet. Quaid's intentions are originally hostile toward the reptile man but a friendship slowly develops as they work together to survive.

I read some good reviews about this film, some even giving it a stellar 5-Star rating, so I thought I'd better check it out. Well, I was quite a bit let down. Don't get me wrong, it's an okay sci-fi film and the message is a good one, but it's certainly not a 5-Star classic (or even 4-Star).

What piqued my interest was that it was described as a "character study" more so than a juvenile space dogfight flick. Yeah, there's a little character study but it's nothing deep. You'd do better to watch practically any of the original Star Trek episodes as far as that goes. Take for instance the episode "Arena" (which the movie heavily borrows from) where Capt. Kirk is stuck on a deserted planet with a reptilian alien called a Gorn. Kirk doesn't develop a friendship with the Gorn but he does refuse to kill him at the end, which opens the door for warmer relations down the road. This episode is better than "Enemy Mine" on practically every level with the exception of F/X, which are a bit better in the film, comparable to the F/X in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

The so-called character study in "Enemy Mine" is on the level of TV's Odd Couple, with Quaid in the Oscar role and Gossett in the Felix role. Too cute.

In addition, there are numerous awkward moments in the filmmaking, plus a character dies prematurely (so much for the character study) and then there's a cringe-inducing pregnancy/birth sequence, believe it or not.

They try to beef-up the sci-fi at the end but it fails to create much suspense. The story simply isn't very captivating.

BOTTOM LINE: This is an okay mid-80s sci-fi flick, nothing more. It's too derivative, too light, too awkward, too saccharine and not very compelling. The message of the film is good but that itself can't turn something mediocre into something good or great.

Most fans of this film are likely people who originally saw it as kids and now view it with nostalgia-tinged glasses.

GRADE: C- or D+

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A Forgotten Gem

Author: romac-2 from United Kingdom
21 April 2012

I have to say, this is one of my all time fave movies, but I really don't know why! I just love it. It has everything.

It has spawned so many copies which haven't worked in quite the same way. You know, enemies become buddies - let's work together blah blah. Cheesy garbage - but this movie just works. Quaid has never been one of my favourite actors, but he's very good in this. And Lou Gosset is just great.

I don't know what to say really. This is just one of those films that works when it really shouldn't. Maybe it's the genius of Wolfgang Petersen? All I know is I love it, and in 2012, my grandson adores it and hassles me to put it on the DVD player every time he's round. That could be the best tribute to a very underrated film.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Castaways in Space

Author: Coventry from the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls
10 January 2010

"Enemy Mine" is a childhood favorite of mine and I try to regularly watch it again because it's one of the films that sparked my interest in Sci-Fi, horror and cult cinema. Of course, back when I was a kid the allegory on friendship and interstellar discrimination was completely lost on me and I simply stared at the screen because Louis Gossett Jr.'s make up looked so incredibly damn cool and because this was the film that featured the awesomely cool monster which emerged its eerie tentacle from the soil and dragged the victims underneath. I swear that monster deserves its very own horror spin-off and should be as popular as "Tremors". Nearly twenty years further on and through the eyes of an adult viewer, I'm somewhat reluctant to admit that these exact same elements are still the main trumps of "Enemy Mine". The typical "buddy" aspect of the screenplay is rather cheesy and mundane, and in practically every scene it is the bleak and depressing planet scenery that steals the show. During one of the many ongoing battles between humans and the Dracs, with the purpose of colonizing the galaxy, human fighter pilot Davigde and Drac warrior Jeriba crash-land their spaceships on the abandoned and uninhabitable planet Fyrine IV. The planet regularly suffers from meteor storms and homes some incredibly vicious monsters, so the competitive and patriotic men realize they need to put their differences aside and rely on each other for survival. The ordeal becomes even more significant when Davidge learns a thing or two about the Drac's method of reproduction and when they run into sleazy human mine explorers. The acting performances of both Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett Jr. are stupendous, but the situations and dialogs are too grotesque in order to evoke any real sentiments of compassion, sadness or sympathy. It may sound shallow, but the highlights of the film are undoubtedly the action sequences. Thank God the adrenalin-rushing finale, with B-movie regular Brion James as the sleazy Drac-hater Stubbs. "Enemy Mine" was the first US film of Wolfgang Petersen, whose "Never Ending Story" was another childhood favorite of mine. After this he only did mainstream productions.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Great idea, interesting story, somewhat lame execution.

Author: Ralph Barhydt from San Francisco
2 February 2002

This movie had a great story line and could have been fantastic. Dennis Quaid is almost an actor, Lou Gossett Jr. is. Gossett was mostly convincing and Quaid was sometimes convincing. Both the setup and the denouement were quite weak, but the in between and the real development worked. Like most science fiction stuff, this is really a morality play and the message was pretty good. I wish the ending had been better done. The guy from Blade Runner is always a great bad guy, but he was not used to best advantage. I wish someone would remake this movie, someone like Ridley Scott, and turn it into the strong drama that it could be.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Neat movie

Author: kball from the midwest
30 August 2000

When my husband picked this movie off the shelf at the rental place I have to say that I was very skeptical. His taste for cheesy movies is one that we don't share, however watch it I did and I am so glad. The plot was excellent and the acting was ok, the sets were the only element that bothered me significantly. They looked like unconvincing replicas of Star Wars settings. Oh well. I would recommend this movie to just about anyone, it is an enjoyable way to spend an evening

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Clumsy and outdated

Author: Zettelhead from Germany
25 June 2015

This movie was made in 1985 by a once great director but it looks like made in 1965 by some cretinous dilettante.

Everything just feels badly made up and carried out. The set-design is awful, the sfx are poor, the script is clumsy, implausible and offers no believable development of characters, and the musical score is probably one of the worst ever made!

The only thing that is amazing is the acting of L. Gossett Jr. which even works through the massive latex mask.

The rest is just... oh, forget about it. It is just unbelievable that those who made it did not die of embarrassment, like I would do.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Still a all time favorite

Author: jdmeetze from United States
29 February 2008

It says a lot about a film if you can watch it for the 40th plus time in over 20 years and it makes you feel just as good as it did the first time.

I woke up in the middle of the night and could not sleep. Turned on the TV to watch a while till I got sleepy again and lo and behold this movie was just starting. I enjoyed every minute of it without taking a break. It has always been one of my fav's. From beginning to end the characters weave the plot into a wonderful storyline which happens without billion dollar budgets, special effects or catchy phrases. It is very enjoyable and will never get old to me. As far as I am concerned the movie framework is considered the "Perfect Storm" of movies.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Science Fiction metaphor of tolerance

Author: rcharding from Virginia
12 March 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I first read Barry Longyear's riveting short story for a high school English class (I had a very progressive teacher). The original story had a blob-like creature versus a human with a force field between them. The movie version is more free form. Quaid is gung-ho, racist military pilot who engages a Drac (Lou Gossett), humankind's mortal enemy, in a dogfight. They both crash land on an isolated planet. At first, trying to kill each other, they learn to cooperate to survive and even respect each other. Gossett's performance as the alien is convincing, making his reptilian features ever more obvious through his snake-like speech.

Like all great science fiction, this story is not really about space but an extended metaphor for current human problems, in this case, racism.

The DVD faithfully reproduces the film as I remember it on cable in the mid-1980s.

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

I wanted to turn it off

Author: tsheridan94 from United States
4 February 2010

One day recently, Enemy Mine was showing on a local movie station. I hadn't heard of it before, but Dennis Quaid was in it, so I turned it on. After watching about fifteen minutes, I wanted to turn this movie off. I thought it was incredibly stupid, if not the worst movie ever made. Just another 1980s cheesy science fiction movie. I wanted to turn it off, but I couldn't bring myself to touch the button on the remote. I told myself I'd wait for a commercial, knowing full well this was a commercial free airing.

This pattern continued for another fifteen minutes, until I was forced to admit I was actually enjoying myself. This story, so simplistic in nature, was very captivating. The aliens while obviously just men in costume and make-up, as well as flat out annoying with that weird voice thing they did which sounded like a cross between someone laughing and choking, still were likable. And Dennis Quaid is Dennis Quaid. I have come to the conclusion that he is good in basically every role, and great in almost none, excepting maybe Vantage Point.

The story itself is formulaic, providing only a few minor plot twists. It is generally relatively predictable, although this is not to the point where it detracts from the film. This is in essence, a science fictional version of the story that has been around since the first movies were made. Stripped off plot details, this is the movie about an unlikely friendship.

So, while this is not the movie that will change your life, it is a fun film to wind to at the end of a day. It also doesn't require a lot of attention. This is a simple story. It is not from the vein of sci-fi that utilizes major plot twists and odd occurrences. This is not a thinking movie. Nor is it a popcorn film that just tries to dazzle you with special effects. Even for the time, these effects were by no means spectacular.

I still recommend Enemy Mine. This is one of the few times were I am able to gladly say that my initial opinions were wrong. And I'm glad I didn't hit that channel button on the remote, or I would have missed out on an enjoyable two hours.

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