August 99: Enemy of the State

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by Sékou
Written by: David Marconi Will Smith
Directoed by: Tony Scott
Studio: Scott Free Productions, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Touchstone Pictures
Cast: Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Regina King, Jon Voight, Lisa Bonét

"Big Willie Style, Indeed"

Will Smith is more a force of nature than a person, muscling his way though music, then TV, and finally he is staking his claim on the silver screen. It's quite a claim he's staked as well. Two of his first major movies, Independence Day and Men In Black, were among the biggest films of all time. But let's be honest-- those films would have been huge no matter who they cast in the lead role. Enemy of the State was different story all together. Here was Will's chance to prove he was up to the task of carrying a movie solo. There were no viscous aliens intent on the destruction of life as we know it to help him out this time. This time Will was on his own. So, how'd he do? Not bad, not bad at all.


Will Smith Running In Enemy of the State Will plays an influential lawyer who gets caught on the wrong side of Uncle Sam when the government becomes convinced he has something they want. Well, not all of the government, just this one particularly nasty, very influential guy who desperately needs to get his mitts on a computer disk that has inadvertently fallen into Will's possession. Problem is, Will doesn't even know he has the thing. Will Smith and Gene Hackman

Convinced that he's lying and determined to torture the truth out of him, the head bad guy (Jon Voight) dispatches his minions to turn Will's elysian life upside down. Copious amounts of destruction and mayhem ensue as Will runs for his life and eventually teams up with Gene Hackman to thwart the bad guys and reclaim his suburban, law-abiding life.

Lisa Bonet and Will Smith


Will does great with the action stuff, but he's hard to buy as a suave, high-powered attorney. Instead of simply accepting him in his role, I occasionally found myself thinking, "oh, there's Will Smith pretending to be a lawyer." He didn't quite convince me. Lisa Bonét fared better as the ex-girlfriend with serious government connections. But the props on this one really go to Regina King for her tortured Regina King performance as a wife whose life is crumbling around her, and Gene Hackman as a paranoid recluse who is as cantankerous as he is helpful.

Providing amusement along the way are a wickedly gleeful new brand of cyber-criminal computer hackers determined to worm their way through Will's upturned life.


Will Smith

Though it's a far cry from the kind of dramatic flair he showed in Six Degrees of Separation, Enemy of the State is a fairly interesting romp for Will. The real trick of the film, however, is scaring you silly by showing you just how far the government could get into your nooks and crannies if it had a mind to do so. Terrifying stuff. You'd best believe I'll be paying my taxes in full every year. Uncle Sam is the wrong mutha to mess wit'.


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