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Movie Review: ENEMY OF THE STATE (1998) Starring Will Smith

Monday, 24 October 2011

Ok it was released in 1998, I know that.  You know me by now though if I watch it I will review it.  Movie reviews are something that may have to take a little back burner at the minute, there are so many new and returning TV shows (Dexter, The Walking Dead, Homeland and Person of  Interest) to review right now that I don’t have time for movie’s, and like I always say I do have a real job!  The one which pays my bills and blogging from there isn’t an option anymore.  Maybe I will stop watching the X Factor and start watching a movie on Saturday night’s, lets see.

Starring: Will Smith, Gene Hackman, John Voight, Regina King and Lisa Bonet

The Plot

Smith plays Robert Clayton Dean, a mild mannered attorney and family man in Washington D.C.  Dean is working on a big case looking to bring down local kingpin Pintero.  In the mean time a politician named Thomas Reynolds (Voight) is trying to negotiate a deal with Councilman Philip Hammersley (Jason Robards), unwilling to do the deal Hammersley is murdered and dumped into the back of a vehicle, one problem though!  The murder was caught on video tape by a local bird watcher who is quickly getting chased by NSA agents, he slips the tape into the pocket of the unsuspecting Dean and before long Dean's life starts to fall to pieces.

The Verdict

As far as action thrillers go this is right up there with the best of them all, nothing like a good government conspiracy thriller which delivers in story, action and acting.  I have seen this movie a bunch of times now, this is the first time I have seen it in HD and the first time I have seen the extended version.   Can I tell you about the extra 8 minutes or so?  Not really it’s that long since I saw it first time round that I really didn’t remember too much about it.

Will Smith is exceptional as you would expect and for me this is the type of movie I like to see him in, don’t get me wrong I love his comedy movies but fast paced action like this and Bad Boys really is what Smith does best, none of it takes away from his ability as an actor.  Add into the mix John Voight as a corrupt leader of the NSA and Gene Hackman a former NSA operative who is as paranoid (with good reason) as they come then everything else just falls into place.

You can even go deeper into the extensive cast of this movie crediting the actors, Jake Busey, Barry Pepper and Jack Black who all deliver powerful performances as members of the NSA tracking and surveying team watching Smith, who not only delivers on action but also on emotion with his family and Hackman as he life is falling apart at the seams.  A quick side note Smith's wife Carla Dean (Regina King) also played his fiancé in Independence Day. (Useless trivia, I know)

The story itself is alarmingly realistic to true life and does actually make you believe that the government have technology capable of this kind of surveillance, this was 1998 remember we are in 2011 now, technology has moved on even further since then.  You do have to concede that some of it was a little far fetched especially in relation to the satellites they have which bring you perfect ground coverage even when the sky is full of clouds but everything else is believable.

All in all this is a brilliant thriller with an excellent story line “you can run, but you can’t hide” attitude which really does open up some questions on just who is watching you or listening in to telephone conversations that happen.  It’s fast paced, classy and like I mentioned realistic, the acting is great and this is an un-missable thriller especially if you are a fan of Will Smith (who’s not?) or Gene Hackman.
Would I watch it again?
Without doubt, if there is nothing like this with a fresh storyline then Enemy of the State would be my choice, if you like a good conspiracy with plenty of action, you enjoyed Shooter with Mark Wahlberg this you will definitely enjoy this movie.
Rating: MMMM
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