Enemy Of The State

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Details At A Glance

Category Action Thriller Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1998 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 126:46 minutes Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (70:38)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 2,4 Director Tony Scott

Warner Home Video
Starring Will Smith
Gene Hackman
Jon Voight
Regina King
Loren Dean
Jake Busey
Barry Pepper
Gabriel Byrne
Case Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music Trevor Rabin
Harry Gregson-Williams

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement Yes

Plot Synopsis

    America is a paranoid society. Conspiracy theories abound. They value their personal liberties. They value their privacy. They also value their right to blow someone's head off with an automatic machine gun, but let's not talk about that right now.

    Robert Clayton Dean (Will Smith) is a successful lawyer in Baltimore. He is having some difficulty with a mobster who makes some very potent threats towards him. Concurrent with this, a senator is murdered - we know it's murder, but everyone else thinks it was a heart attack. Everyone else, that is, but the researcher who was making a nature video of the murder location at the time the murder was committed. Pretty soon, the researcher is dead, and the tape is in the possession of Robert Dean, unbeknownst to him.

    The murderers think Robert has something, and they set about destroying his life - planting bugs, freezing his bank accounts, that sort of thing. They want the tape back, and they think he knows about it. The hapless Robert thinks it is a smear campaign orchestrated by the mob.

    Paranoia and technology is stretched right to breaking point by this film. In my opinion, it sometimes even just crosses the fine line between suspension of disbelief and blatant Hollywood-isms, but it manages to pull itself back from the brink of becoming farcical a number of times.

    Overall, I found it to be a tightly paced, rapid-fire entertaining thriller which I quite enjoyed, even though some of the scenes bordered on the ridiculous.

Transfer Quality


    This transfer is diappointing. I was expecting a superlative transfer, but this could only be described as a good transfer at best.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer was extremely sharp and extremely clear throughout. However, there was a harshness about the transfer which was quite hard on the eyes. Shadow detail was generally very good, and there was no low level noise.

    The colours were clear and well rendered, and there were no issues with this aspect of the transfer.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of a number of scenes with far too much aliasing for my liking. Cars, in particular, exhibited this artefact markedly, as did a number of scenes in which fine detail shimmered distractingly during camera pans. Film artefacts were rare.

    The subtitles listed on the packaging are incorrect. The disc actually contains the following subtitles; English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Dutch, and English for the Hearing Impaired.


    There is only a single audio track on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 5.1. The packaging claims that there are also French, Czechoslovakian and Hungarian soundtracks on this disc. They are not present.

    Dialogue was always clear and easy to understand.

    There were no audio sync problems with this disc.

    The musical score was by Trevor Rabin and Harry Gregson-Williams and was very reminiscent of the score from Armageddon. It suited the movie without being particularly remarkable in any way.

    The surround channels were aggressively used during the action sequences, placing you nicely into the scenes. Music also made its way into the rear, as did the occasional ambient effect. The overall effect was of a nicely enveloping soundtrack.

    The .1 channel was used aggressively to support the action sequences and to support the music. It was nicely integrated into the overall mix.


    There are no extras on this disc. The Amaray case has a small sheet which lists chapter stops, but this is it.

What's Missing / What's Extra

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;


    The main menu is plain and functional. It is 16x9 enhanced.


    I enjoyed Enemy Of The State, even though some of it stretched credibility to the limit and beyond.

    The video quality is good, but could have been better.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Extras nil

© Michael Demtschyna
3rd August 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer