Enemy of the State
**.4 GM
Starring: Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Jason Robards, Jason Lee, Jamie Kennedy, Seth Green, Jack Black, Lisa Bonet, Gabriel Byrne


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As a fan of Bruckheimer productions in general as a guilty pleasure, I was only slightly disappointed that this film didn't have nearly the staggering amount of 'look how cool the star is' swoop shots as evident in "Con Air" and "Bad Boys," or even quite the amount of one-liners that one would expect. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the film does seem to have somewhat of a brain to it.

The Fresh Prince (Will Smith) plays a labor lawyer going up against a slimeball mob guy (Tom Sizemore) that winds up being caught up in the aftermath of the NSA's secret murder of a prominent Congressman (Jason Robards) when he is unwittingly passed a tape of the murder by an old college friend (Jason Lee) that subsequently gets turned into paste by a fire engine. This leads him into a bunch of harrowing situations that involve eluding the NSA man (Jon Voight) trying to preserve the cover-up, losing his job, getting smeared in the press, losing his family and having to work with an eccentric ex-NSA guy (Gene Hackman) in order to turn things around.

First off, you have to enjoy a film where three of the technical geeks under Voight are the smart-ass virgin from "Scream," Scott Evil from "Austin Powers" and the lead singer of Tenacious D. As a matter of fact, most everyone is enjoyable in this film - including Lisa Bonet as an ex-flame, Gabriel Byrne's completely pointless cameo bit and a couple of cool kids. I am concerned, however, with the omnipresence of Jon Voight as the uberbadguy in every movie since Mission: Impossible. He's all right, but criminy, his presence in a film now automatically pins him as the guy to hate. That's not a good thing.

Anyway, the film itself is basically a study in paranoia, as constant litanies about bugging, monitoring through technology and detailing how exactly the NSA has access to everything from spy equipment to satellites to track schmucks as insignificant as the goober studying duck migration. It's a fun movie - any movie with Will Smith is going to have a certain amount of fun - and it's actually more intelligent than you might think. Everything involved is pretty much believable and nothing is really centered on how cool they can make an explosion look. It's cliched in some spots, but it does take care to avoid other overused action film events, and it overall makes for an interesting story.

The film generally plays as a litany against the slow disintegration of the basic rights to privacy and, at times, it works and is spooky enough to get attention, but everything ends a tad too cleanly to lend the proper punctuation to the message. The ending IS a lot of fun, though, so I can forgive it for not staying as true to its sermon as it could have.

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