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Siskel: 'Enemy' Has A Point

Enemy of the State, the new movie starring Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, and Will Smith, gets a mixed review from CBS This Morning Contributor Gene Siskel.

Siskel says the film aspires to be about the issue of personal privacy, but it's so hyperactive and noisy that there were moments when he wanted to tranquilize the actors.

"But what the film did accomplish," says Siskel, "is to throw in my face such an array of spying mechanisms that I no longer felt secure. And so, in some backdoor fashion, I ended up caring about the issue that fuels the story."

Will Smith (Touchstone Pictures)
In Enemy of the State, Washington labor lawyer Will Smith unknowingly becomes entangled in a lethal congressional power struggle over legislation that would allow the government to monitor the conversations and movements of all citizens.

Powerful forces hidden within a government agency will stop at nothing, including murder, to get a bill passed that would give them all that power. Smith's character is in danger because the agency believes he has evidence of its foul play.

Jon Voight plays a National Security Agency (NSA) administrator who has the most to lose in this high-stakes game.

Gene Hackman (Touchstone Pictures)
To defeat Voight and clear himself of a frame-up, Smith enlists the help of a former NSA agent, played by Gene Hackman, who takes no political position on the legislation, or on much else, for that matter.

Siskel says that Enemy of the State has a complex story. But this movie isn't about its story. It's about showing us high-tech, eavesdropping toys in a barrage of furious, ear-splitting, eye-popping action scenes.

Enemy of the State has enough action for two movies, observes Siskel, but he doesn't like the title because it doesn't reflect the personal privacy issues that pervade the film.

His tongue-in-cheek suggestions for a more commercial title:

  • I Know What You Did Last Summer And Every Waking Minute Since Then
  • Wiretapboy

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