Enemy of the State

Enemy of the State ★★★★½

=Countdown to Suicide Squad: Day 5=

Picture this. You're an Average Joe with a pretty respectable and well-paid job, you have a loving family. Pretty identifiable, right? Now, there you are one day, doing some Christmas shopping, minding your own business and then, completely out of the blue and for reasons that are a complete mystery to you, the whole world is out to get you and you eventually realize that you're a wanted fugitive because some guy that you used to know back in school slipped some incriminating evidence into your shopping bag without you noticing. And not just any incriminating evidence - incriminating evidence against some asshole from the NSA who is doing everything in his power to get a bill that violates everyone's privacy passed. If that scenario has got you scared shitless, you know how Will Smith feels in this movie.

With certain recent events that have made the global political atmosphere even more tense than before, this film has become more relevant than ever as it acts as a great commentary on a very controversial issue that's sadly becoming a reality. And that is the government abusing its power to spy on people by monitoring their mobile devices and completely violating their privacy and human rights to allegedly keep the world safe from terrorist threats. Is this what this world is coming to? Ordinary people who are just trying to get by in their lives being spied on and treated as potential threats to national and global security and having their privacy violated because of government paranoia? And just how deep does this paranoia, compounded by political corruption, run? These are all issues that this film tackles.

I didn't realize until now what a huge loss to filmmaking the passing of Tony Scott was. I mean, he was a great action director and all, but who would've expected the same guy who gave us the admittedly awesome but undeniably cheesy Top Gun to give us such a gripping and entertaining thriller that can also make you think? This guy sure knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat and keep your heart pounding, while also knowing just when to pause so the audience can catch their breath and at the same time having his actors deliver powerhouse performances. While his style has been criticized in the past for being too frantic, it fits in perfectly here.

The cast Scott assembled for this movie is fantastic and every actor fits their character perfectly. Will Smith, fresh off of his incredible winning streak of Bad Boys (which is our next stop in the Countdown), Independence Day and Men in Black, delivers yet another great performance here. While his character, Robert Dean, a high-powered attorney, is flawed, he's still a very likable and relatable guy - you root for him all the way through, you want him to get out okay and you sympathize with him for finding himself in a situation I don't think anyone wants to find themselves in. Thankfully, help comes to him in the form of Lex Luthor, er, I mean, Edward Lyle, played by the always great Gene Hackman. His character has a long history with the NSA, meaning he possesses the necessary know-how to stay ahead of them and help Smith survive, but he also has a secret regarding a woman named Rachel (Lisa Bonet) that Smith also has a history with. Hackman is one of the greatest actors of all time and it's awesome watching Smith hold his own against the seasoned veteran. Jon Voight's Thomas Reynolds you just love to hate - he's so good at playing a corrupt asshole; you can't help twiddling your fingers and checking your watch to see when that jerkoff is finally gonna get what's coming to him. And the supporting cast, man - you've got a who's who of beloved character actors that you've seen in at least one movie - Barry Pepper, Jack Black, Seth Green, Jake Busey, Tom Sizemore, Jason Lee (seriously, how did he go from this, The Incredibles and half of Kevin Smith's filmography to Alvin and the Goddamn Shitmunks?!), Gabriel Byrne, Stuart Wilson, even Jamie Kennedy was well-cast here.

Being that this is a Tony Scott film, the action scenes of course are frantic, heart-pounding, white-knuckle stuff and the cinematography by Dan Mindel reflects that. This guy went on to shoot Mission Impossible 3, J.J. Abrams' Star Trek movies, John Carter, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The music by Trevor Rabin and Harry Gregson-Williams is great too. And last but not least, we have Jerry Bruckheimer as the producer. This movie is yet another in a long list of successful collaborations between him and Scott, along with Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop II, Crimson Tide (which I really should get around to watching) and others. This guy once ruled the world, as he not only produced the majority of the biggest action movies in the 80s and 90s, but also Pirates of the Caribbean and the National Treasure films. I think it's about time he went back to doing films like this, especially after some of his recent flops (looking at you, Lone Ranger); it would be a good return to form for him.

What are you still doing here reading this review? Go watch the movie now! Suicide Squad is drawing near, and besides, who in their right mind wouldn't want to see a movie with Deadshot and Lex Luthor in it?

See you guys next time.

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