Reviewed by: Dave Rettig
A chance meeting, a mysterious death, and a missing video are the beginning of the end of Robert Dean’s perfect life. A labor lawyer with a major law firm, Dean’s professional reputation is destroyed, his name maligned, his family life shattered in one fell swoop. The enemy is everywhere. Every detail of his life is under scrutiny. Everyone to whom Dean turns has become his enemy. Robert Dean has become an “Enemy of the State.” “It’s not paranoia if they’re really after you.”
Will Smith and Gene Hackman make an exceptionally strong acting duo. Hackman’s experience perfectly complements Smith’s energy and is suggestive of Smith and Jones in “Men In Black.” The general story is reminiscent of “Chain Reaction,” “Sneakers”, “Project X”, “Conspiracy Theory”, “Mission Impossible” or any of the dozens of films about a lone wolf against some government organization. Although there were not a lot of surprises (I cannot imagine anyone not knowing where the tape was hidden), “Enemy of the State” does a fair job of creating anticipation and balances enough action to movie the story along at a quick pace.
“Enemy of the State” is rated R for profanity and violence. The profanity is intense, and the violence is extreme, with an ending scene looking like something out of a Quentin Tarantino film. Also be warned: there are a number of scenes involving scantily dressed women. There are quite a few sexual references, which (as always) were unnecessary and inappropriate for young audiences.
Aside from the previously mentioned moral depravity, I was impressed with the idea of the sheer amount of violence, hatred, and sin filling this world. God needs no network of satellites to see all this. I wonder when again the Lord will see “…how great man’s wickedness on the Earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the Earth, and his heart was filled with pain.” (Gen 6:5-6). Let us pray we no longer grieve our God and pray that He disciplines us out of love (Rev 3:19) and not in His wrath (Ps 6:1, 38:1).
“Enemy of the State”, although a high quality film, has too much violence, language, and sexuality to give a positive rating. If you want to see one man against the powers of this world, see the “Jesus” film.