In this latest Jerry Bruckheimer/Touchstone Pictures offering, Hollywood again repeats itself, but in a kickbutt fashion. "Enemy of the State," like any other Jerry Bruckheimer popcorn film, highly entertains. This one even more so because it capitalizes on the recent rise of paranoia as seen on television's "The X-Files," silver screen's "Conspiracy Theory" (note the plot similarities), "The Net," and "Most Wanted" (starring, coincidentally, Jon Voight as the baddie). I loved Gene Hackman as the gruff, seasoned expert Brill (see Sean Connery in "The Rock") and Will Smith as the reluctant hero Robert Dean (erm, see Nicholas Cage in "The Rock"). The characters come to life in emotionally-powered scenes like Smith's confrontation with Hackman in the elevator, Smith's fight with Regina King (the wifey). While the transition of Brill from antagonistic and unsympathetic to reluctantly friendly paralleled Connery's character a bit too much for my liking, I ended up rooting for the old man anyways. The only character I didn't like was Rachel Banks, partly because of the way the actress played her. She seemed too artificial, too forced. Jon Voight was convincing, way too convincing as the villain. I think he should quit playing these power-hungry high government officials for a while.
Plotwise, the movie was actually okay. The action was intense, not too many plotholes, except having to listen to those two annoying tech geeks spew off information we already have in a, well, nerdy manner. For example, "changing the configuration of Dean's packages" means "a bulge appeared in Dean's packages." That seemed dumb, but I assume the extra dialogue was inserted to give the movie an extra anxiety-factor. Like many others I found the ending was the biggest copout, but gee I shouldn't be surprised given the shootout at the end of "The Rock." Scott Rosenberg strikes again. Despite losing points for lack of originality and "borrowing" scenes, the tailor-made blockbuster "Enemy of the State" will definitely satisfy your weekend craving for fast-paced action. This is what Bruckheimer does best, ain't it?
"Why are they putting things in my shoe?!"
Rating: B- (First viewing, 11/20/98)
* I'm amused how all the high-tech centers in movies look the same. For example, the NSA headquarters here looks a lot like Tommy Lee Jones's office in "Volcano" and the MIB headquarters in "Men In Black."
* EE fans: didn't the cat and Brill remind you of the cat and Snow?