Enemy of the State (1998) - Special Edition

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Thriller
Buena Vista Home Video || Unrat - 140 minutes - $19.99 || May 16th, 2006
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2006-05-20


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Tony Scott
Writer(s): David Marconi (written by)
Cast: Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Barry Pepper, Jon Voight, Regina King, Ian Hart, Lisa Bonet, Jake Busey, Scott Caan, Jamie Kennedy, Jason Lee, Gabriel Byrne, Jack Black, Seth Green, Philip Baker Hall, Jason Robards, Tom Sizemore


Theatrical Release Date: November 20th, 1998


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • The Making of Enemy of the State
  • All Access: "The Showdown"
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
  • Subtitles: English

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Plot Outline: Robert Dayton Dean (Smith) is a successful Washington, D.C., attorney who -- without his knowledge -- is given a video that ties a top official of the National Security Agency (played by Jon Voight) to a political murder! A lethal team of skilled NSA operatives wages a relentless, ultra-high-tech campaign to discredit Dean and retrieve the incriminating evidence!

Enemy of the State holds a special honor in my book. Not only is it a top notch conspiratorial-thriller, but it's one that has held up very well over the 8 years since its release in 1998. The issues at hand certainly apply today as they did back then, though I believe the film gives too much credit to a government than can barely keep anything secret or do much right even if they did. In any case, this film was ahead of its time and certainly is eerie to watch now, more so than the last time around a few years ago.

However, on another level, I'm always amazed to see the kind of cast amassed for this Jerry Bruckheimer thriller. Besides stars Will Smith, Gene Hackman and Jon Voight, we also get some decent and young talent including: Barry Pepper (Black Hawk Down), Regina King, Lisa Bonet ("The Cosby Show"), Jake Busey (Identity), Scott Caan (Ocean's Eleven), Jamie Kennedy, Jason Lee (Mallrats, "My Name is Earl"), Gabriel Byrne (The Usual Suspects), Jack Black (The School of Rock, Nacho Libre), Seth Green (Without a Paddle, "Robot Chicken"), Philip Baker Hall, Jason Robards and Tom Sizemore (Heat). Each player only has a bit part really, although Sizemore has a bigger and more important part, so it's fun to see all these recognizable actors in minor parts before some hit it big.

Beyond the controversial and casting side of things, the film itself has all the elements of a good movie. It's fun, entertaining, and suspenseful, features some great performances, and can be watched more than once for equal amount of enjoyment each time.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

The original release had a couple of featurettes and a trailer. Those are not carried over (you're not missing anything) and replaced with some lackluster items. I don't understand why they didn't contribute more to the disc such as a commentary with Tony Scott, the countless supporting cast members or just a short introduction on Scott's thoughts on the film today.

Another minor complaint: The original release had 29 chapter stops, where this one only has 10... Makes it a little difficult finding a particular scene.

The Making of Enemy of the State - A 30-minute featurette made back in 1998/99 features the primary cast and crew (on set) discussing the film and elements of their characters. While watching, I couldn't tell if there was anything new, but it seems to be archive stuff, unfortunately.

All Access: "The Showdown" - This 15-minute feature takes us behind-the-scenes as they set up the big "Showdown" toward the end between the mob (Sizemore), the NSA (Voight) and Dean (Smith). There's no voice over setting up what's going on, but we do get to see the actors at work as they try to time the bullet hits right and where to fall and when.

Deleted Scenes - The two scenes were more extended or alternate than actually deleted. One of them has Scott Caan, during the break-in/trashing of Dean's place, getting bit by the dog, but with an alternate angle than what made into the movie. I didn't expect much as I presume they added back in everything they wanted to anyways.

There's also the trusty-ole theatrical trailer.

EXTENDED/NEW SCENES:
As you already know, this is an "extended" cut with about 7-minutes extra footage. I couldn't pick out every one of them, but the one's I did notice are:

0:44:35 - Bugging of Dean's office to get his computer password. Scene features Jack Black, Scott Caan and Jamie Kennedy.

0:52:00 - Dean checks into a cheap motel (after his credit cards are no good at the fancy one) and on TV is the Congressman talking about the security bill.

1:20:15 - Jack Black finds the nanny attractive and wonders about her hairy legs.

1:28:45 - Jack Black makes another comment about the nanny.

1:30:54 - Extended scene as Jack Black gives a smart remark.

1:46:16 - Scene between Dean (Smith) and Brill (Hackman) on their way to the surveillance supply store. Brill asks for a cookie, Dean gives him an option of an apple or pretzel. Brill asks about Dean's kids and tries to figure out his level of expertise on locking into cell phones and such.

1:49:08 - Dean inquires about Brill's past and how he got into the spy business. Brill gives a back-story that his father believed his business partner was stealing from him, so Brill (at the age of 12) tapped the phone to prove it.

1:49:40 - Inter-cut with the old version, is an extended sexy sequence (not a real sex scene, but a tad more graphic than before.

1:50:20 - After that, there's some more talk between Dean and Brill about how Smith's concerns about being watched like the congressman was. Technically a part of the inter-cut stuff, but it was fully distinct enough to include.

1:51:40 - After the maid lets Brill in, there's an extended part where Hackman checks out places to hide the bug. He ultimately puts in a new phone handle (much like what they did to Dean early in the movie. Sequence lasts a little over a minute.

1:53:32 - Very short extended scene after Black informs Voight about the bug. Voight drops an F-bomb. Lasts maybe 3-4 seconds.

2:10:18 - Toward the very end, Dean asks if the Feds (who are now in the NSA's van) if they saw where Brill went. Runs about 30 seconds.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Picture: Enemy of the State is presented in widescreen, 2.35:1 aspect ratio, just like last time around. I decided to dig out my old copy and do a comparison and, as you can see above, there is a difference (at least in those caps). The old one (1999) is little more contrasted than the new transfer, which is softer.

Around the two-hour mark, I did notice a layer change and there seemed to be some dust here and there, but outside of that, the video looks damn good.

Sound: Standard Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that conveys the spy music and action sequences very well with dialogue coming through the center channel primarily.



.::OVERALL::.

Though this isn't exactly the best double-dip I've seen since the features aren't that great, I still think it's a good upgrade since the picture quality is better and the extra footage adds a little dimension to Smith and Hackman's characters. Since the retail on this disc is $19.99, you'll certainly find it for a decent price soon, so you won't pay too much.