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Enemy of the State(1998)
Robert Clayton Dean is a lawyer whose life is turned upside down after a chance meeting with a friend. Robert has just been burdened with a videotape of a congressman's assassination. Hot on the tail of this tape is a ruthless group of National Security Agents commanded by a belligerently ambitious fed named Reynolds. Using surveillance from satellites, bugs and other sophisticated snooping devices, the NSA infiltrates every facet of Dean's existence, tracing each physical and digital footprint he leaves.
For more about Enemy of the State and the Enemy of the State Blu-ray release, see Enemy of the State Blu-ray Review published by Ben Williams on August 16, 2007 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Lisa Bonet, Regina King, Barry Pepper
Director: Tony Scott
» See full cast & crew
Enemy of the State Blu-ray Review
Can a film that has always been a technical disappointment on DVD finally deliver on Blu-ray?
Reviewed by Ben Williams, August 16, 2007
Enemy of the State arrived in theaters in late 1998 to excellent box office numbers and a fair amount of critical praise. As one of the more well crafted techno-thrillers of recent memory, the story focuses on one man's battle with the NSA's (National Security Agency) as he is relentlessly pursued and harassed.
Robert Dean (Will Smith) is a wise cracking attorney with a seemingly perfect life. He is successful, his family adores him and life appears to be as close to idyllic as possible. One unfortunate day, Dean accidentally acquires a digital recording of a NSA official murdering a senator (Jason Robards). Knowing full well that Dean holds evidence against them, the agency ruthlessly executes a smear and harassment campaign. Operative Thomas Reynolds (Jon Voight) will stop at nothing to make sure that the evidence Dean holds gets back into this hands. Dean's life is in danger and only ex-spy "Brill" (Gene Hackman) has the techniques and knowledge to fend off the NSA.
Enemy of the State is incredibly entertaining. We are treated to numerous car chases, bike chases, helicopter chases and just about every other kind of chase you can think of. What makes this film work, however, is the well constructed and thoroughly paranoid plot that accompanies all the action. Director Tony Scott creates a palpable sense of overbearing government corruption and the sense of paranoia that envelopes Robert Dean in the film will definitely make your skin crawl. Will Smith manages to be likable without falling too far into the "Will Smith" character that he normally plays in films like Bad Boys. Here, he is much more grounded in playing an intelligent and resourceful man. The supporting cast is excellent, with Jon Voight putting in an appropriately creepy performance as a man who has way too much power at his disposal. Be sure to look out for an early Jack Black appearance as well.
Enemy of the State Blu-ray, Video Quality
Enemy of the State has seen its fair share of releases on standard definition DVD and none have been particularly impressive. Disney has really risen to the challenge of presenting this film in a way that has never been seen before in the home video realm, as the film looks spectacular on Blu-ray. Colors are appropriately vivid, grain structure has been nicely preserved and black levels are excellent in this transfer. I was very impressed with the amount of fine detail present in Enemy of the State as well. Skin details and textural backgrounds are very clearly defined and are a clear upgrade from the previous DVD versions of the film. The one nitpick I do have with this Blu-ray edition, is in the quality of the master. There are numerous examples of defects present in this transfer including source print scratches and what appeared to be a bad splice in the film. Perhaps this was sourced from an older master that was created when these sorts of details were masked by the lower resolution of DVD. Regardless, it is a distraction for the first 15 or so minutes of the film. Thankfully, the problems seem to clear up from there on out.
Enemy of the State Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Disney, much like Sony, have been big supporters of utilizing uncompressed PCM audio on all of their Blu-ray releases and Enemy of the State features a fine PCM track that is a huge improvement over previous Dolby Digital versions of the film. I was very impressed with the large amount of intense directional sound in this film. There are many scenes where we are treated to visuals of orbiting satellites zooming in on action on the ground. During these sequences, the surround channels light up dramatically with fantastic whooshing sounds that spiral around the room. The film's multiple chase sequences are also terrifically directional with ample surround usage and an abundance of deep bass action. Dialog is always crisp and perfectly intelligible and I never had any trouble understanding any of the characters, even in the most dramatic and noisy scenes. All in all, Enemy of the State in PCM offers a tremendous upgrade over the previous DVD versions of the film and is a very involving surround experience.
Enemy of the State Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Here's what's included:
-"The Making of Enemy of the State"
While I found the making of documentary to be interesting and fairly entertaining, there really isn't much to it other than the standard behind the scenes fluff. Most of the deleted scenes offer little more than fleshed out versions of what is already in the film. It is apparent that these scenes were excised for a reason. A theatrical trailer for the film is also included.
Enemy of the State Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Enemy of the State is a relentlessly entertaining film. It has been a favorite of mine since its release and it is a natural selection for the Blu-ray format. While the video suffers ever so slightly from a few flaws in the source material, it is still an excellent video presentation with all the hallmarks of an excellent transfer. Enemy of the State's PCM audio track is definitely worth the price of admission, as it offers a clear upgrade over any previous release of the film.
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