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Enemy of the State (1998)
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Review Date: November 21, 1998
Director: Tony Scott
Writer: David Marconi
Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer
Actors:
Will Smith
Jon Voight
Gene Hackman
Plot:
Lawyer Robert Dean gets caught up in an elaborate chase, after someone drops an extremely important piece of evidence on his person. The NSA (National Security Agency) decides to take matters into their own hands, and destroy Dean's credibility whilst bugging every part of his life. They track him all across town, in an attempt to recapture the proof, while former-NSA employee Brill, helps him along the way.
Critique:
The ultimate chase movie, this film offers us non-stop action, a decent plot with a light touch, good acting, but does seem to run about half an hour too long, and float into some repetitive waters once too often. This movie starts off with a great premise and snowballing build-up, and eventually gears into a kynetic two-hour chase via technologies beyond anyone's imagination. Overall, I did like this movie, but did find myself a little bored about halfway through the chasing, because it all seemed like the same thing after a while. Having said that, the film does offer a decent twist in its ending, and peps up its jargon-filled dialogue with spurts of humour and cameos by James Robards, Tom Sizemore (ballooning as we speak), Gabriel Byrne (who is credited in the opening credits for some reason, but is really in the film for only a few minutes) and the return of ex-Cosby kid Lisa Bonet as the second tomato to Smith's wife in the movie.

On the acting side of things, Jon Voight is convincing as the head of a department that's seriously lobbying to play "big brother" in America's technological future. The rest of the bad guys are your standard fare, with many of them sporting the same spiked, platinum haircuts, so that nobody will detect them as a team (Good move, guys!). Gene Hackman returns as a super-paranoid recluse fresh from the conclusion of his role in 1974's THE CONVERSATION (6/10), in which he started of as a surveillance expert, and eventually disintegrated into a total paranoid fruitcake (Just a cool coincidence? I think not.) He is also quite good in his role, and physically standardized as the "crazy, whacked-up guy" as per his donning of the proverbial black rimmed glasses. Will Smith was actually okay in his part, but seemed to have delivered most of his funniest lines in the film's trailer. And lastly, Jason Lee of MALLRATS (6/10) fame, pulls off another slick performance as the hip, young cat who could swear with the best of them.

Director Scott also returns with many of his trademarks, as his frenetic camera shots, five second edits, and overdone technical mumbojumbo (How many times do we have to see the satellite dish floating out in space, and the overhead camera shots of people being chased...okay, Tony, we get it...they're cool shots, but let's move on already!). He also made sure to have at least one wicked downpour near the film's conclusion, as to solidify its presence in every one of his films. All in all, the film is packed with energy and thrills, delivers many decent performances, an intelligible plot with some obvious holes, but does run on for about half and hour too long, and could get repetitive at some points.
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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