Tag Archives: Gene Hackman

Enemy of the State (1998) Review

Time: 132 Minutes
Will Smith as Robert Clayton Dean
Gene Hackman as Edward “Brill” Lyle
Jon Voight as NSA Department Head Thomas Brian Reynolds
Regina King as Carla Dean
Loren Dean as NSA Agent Hicks
Jake Busey as Krug
Barry Pepper as NSA Agent David Pratt
Director: Tony Scott

A videotape containing footage of congressman Phil Hammersley’s murder is planted on a lawyer, Robert Dean. Government operatives, who are trying to retrieve the evidence, target him.

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Tony Scott is known for making lots of action thrillers, and Enemy of the State just might be one of his best.

Enemy of the State is consistently entertaining throughout, with an intriguing story. The stakes are relatively realistic, and the tensions is sustained from beginning to end, as there is a constant feeling of threat. That is helped by a fast pace which keeps the plot constantly moving. It almost feels like the paranoia, conspiracy and political thrillers of the 70s, but mixed with a bombastic Jerry Bruckheimer action flick. With it being about government surveillance, the film has actually aged pretty well. It is kind of funny how it reads like a post 9/11 and Patriot Act movie, but it was released back in 1998, so everything involving the NSA and future US government activities in the 2000s were almost predicted. The plot gets ridiculous at points, but it was entertaining enough that I could easily roll with it. In terms of flaws, it is a little long, and the narrative could get needlessly convoluted at times. Also, there’s some unnecessary subplot where Will Smith’s character’s wife believed that he cheated on her, and while it’s a fairly minor issue, it gets resolved so quickly that it felt like its only there to pad out the runtime.

The movie has an impressive cast. Will Smith is really good in the lead role; if I have this correct, this is one of his earliest ‘dramatic’ roles of his. He sells his character’s confusion and desperation from the situation he’s landed in, but also the humour and charisma. Gene Hackman is another big name, only making his first appearance a considerable way into the movie. He is great though, and the movie really picks up when he enters the film. He is perfectly suited as a paranoid ex-NSA operative, and the scenes between him and Smith are particularly great. Jon Voight is also effective as the villain. However, not everyone has good parts. Some notable names have relatively small parts like Tom Sizemore, Phillip Baker Hall, Gabriel Byrne, Regina King and Lisa Bonet have pretty thankless roles. 

You can tell from the opening scene that this is a Tony Scott film, his style is very much on display. There is this frenetic energy throughout, and the fast paced editing really suits this movie. The editing and cinematography help to convey the feeling that everyone’s actions are being viewed. Unsurprisingly, Scott again delivers some exhilarating and entertaining action scenes. The score from Trevor Rabin and Harry Gregson-Williams really fits the movie, especially in the action and chase scenes.

Enemy of the State isn’t without its issues, mostly with some of the writing and characters. However, it’s a solid political and espionage action thriller that was both of its time and ahead of its time. The actors (especially Will Smith and Gene Hackman) are really good, the plot is intriguing and riveting, and Tony Scott’s great direction made it even better. Well worth checking out.


The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) Review


The Royal Tenenbaums

Time: 109 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Adult themes
Danny Glover as Henry Herman
Gene Hackman as Royal Tenenbaum
Anjelica Huston as Etheline Tenenbaum
Bill Murray as Raleigh St. Clair
Gwyneth Paltrow as Margot Tenenbaum
Ben Stiller as Chas Tenenbaum
Luke Wilson as Richie Tenenbaum
Owen Wilson as Eli Cash
Director: Wes Anderson

Three grown prodigies (Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller and Luke Wilson), all with a unique genius of some kind, and their mother (Anjelica Huston) are staying at the family household. Their father, Royal (Gene Hackman) had left them long ago, and comes back to make things right with his family.

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I had heard a little bit about The Royal Tenenbaums, but generally I just knew this as one of Wes Anderson’s movies, and so I knew that I would eventually get around to it. For many, The Royal Tenenbaums is considered one of his best films and having seen it, I would consider that to be the case too. The performances are all fantastic, the direction is outstanding is a joy to watch, and the script and story is really endearing. I really loved watching this movie.


Compared to a lot of Wes Anderson’s other movies at least, it’s more of a drama than a comedy. At its core, The Royal Tenenbaums is a family drama. You get quite engaged with what is going on, so even if you don’t find the movie to be quite funny, there’s something that you’ll be interested in for this movie. I still did find the movie quite entertaining and also funny at times. It also does work very well on an emotional level, in fact there’s an underlying feeling of sadness amongst most of the characters, and touches upon some serious themes and topics at points. There is a great tonal balance throughout, transitioning between comedy and drama with ease and not taking away from the other tone. I have to say, this is one of Anderson’s best scripts, definitely one of his most complete. The movie is paced steadily across its hour and 50 minute runtime, and if you aren’t into the movie and the plot by the first 30 minutes, you might find it a bit of a drag to sit through. But the plot, quirky dialogue and especially the well realised characters all come together to make a film that I was personally invested in from beginning to end.


There’s a massive talented ensemble cast involved in this film, and everyone is great here. If there’s a standout among them it is Gene Hackman in the lead role as Royal Tenenbaum, he’s fantastic and I think this is one of his best performances, if not his best performance. The rest of the cast are great too, including Danny Glover, Anjelica Huston, Bill Murray, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson and Owen Wilson, all of them performing their memorable characters very well, and having excellent on screen chemistry with each another (Paltrow and Luke Wilson particularly shine in this movie).


Wes Anderson directs this so well, with his distinct style. Anderson’s attention to detail is really enthralling to watch and aesthetically pleasing, from set decoration to costume to shot composition and the colour pallet. There are some great visual gags that you can easily miss if you look away for like a second. I liked how the movie was structured in a storybook way, in fact it is divided into chapters, and it really gave it a different feeling. The soundtrack work well and is utilised perfectly, as expected from Wes Anderson at this point.


I thoroughly loved The Royal Tenenbaums, even more than I was expecting going on. The all star cast were all great and played their memorable characters greatly, it was directed wonderfully, and it is written excellently, with an entertaining and emotionally engaging story. I think that this is going to revisit this movie quite a lot, and I see it becoming potentially one of my favourite movies. Definitely watch it if you haven’t already.

Superman 4: The Quest For Peace (1987) Review


Superman 4

Time: 93 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1]
Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent/Superman
Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, Voice of Nuclear Man
Jackie Cooper as Perry White
Margot Kidder as Lois Lane
Marc McClure as Jimmy Olsen
Jon Cryer as Lenny Luthor
Sam Wanamaker as David Warfield
Mark Pillow as Nuclear Man
Mariel Hemingway as Lacy Warfield
Director: Sidney J. Furie

Superman (Christopher Reeve) does a lot in his newest adventure. Arch villain Lex Luther (Gene Hackman), determined to make the world safe for nuclear arms merchants creates a new being to challenge the Man of Steel: the radiation-charged Nuclear Man.

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Superman 3 was a bad movie but I didn’t expect how bad its sequel would be. Almost everything in Superman 4 is a complete fail, the acting, the special effects, the ‘story’, with the exception of Christopher Reeve. Being the Batman and Robin of Superman, Superman 4 is so far the worst Superhero movie I’ve seen.


The biggest plotline is following the whole nuclear weapons issue between America and Russia and Superman’s crusade to get rid of the weapons. The story isn’t interesting at all and doesn’t really progress much. All that’s worth pointing out is the colossal amount of confusing ideas and missteps that happen. What’s puzzling is that Superman is getting rid of everyone’s nuclear weapons and everyone is just perfectly willing to give them up, even Russia. There are many questionable things, like Nuclear Man getting power from the sun but yet there are many moments where he still works even when he’s not in direct sunlight. There’s a scene when Nuclear Man shoots and attacks civilians, instead of actually stopping him, Superman just tells him to stop. During a ‘fight’ with Superman, Nuclear Man turns into a kamikaze missile and flies into a mountain to erupt a volcano. Superman then uses a bit of the mountain to cork the erupting volcano. Close to the end Superman actually pushes the moon to block the sun and there’s a scene when a human is able to survive in space.


The one thing that’s good in all the Superman movies is Christopher Reeve. He has always been the Superman we know and enjoy and even when stupid things happen, he plays it as straight faced as he can. The same can’t really be said about the rest of the cast. Nuclear Man is such a weak villain, with no consistencies in his motivations. At one point he goes to kill Superman but then goes to kill others while Superman is in pursuit. He also during the fight throws the statue of liberty at the city, not even at Superman. He also at some point suddenly takes an interest in Lacy even though he has never met her. Gene Hackman is still sort of good as Lex Luther, even if his plans are strange to say the least. There’s also an unconvincing connection between Lacy and Clark, and it doesn’t help matters that Christopher Reeve and Mariel Hemingway don’t have any chemistry.


The most standout thing about this movie is the horrible effects. The shot of Superman flying towards the camera is reused over and over again. There is also a shot of Lois falling and Superman catching her and has quite possibly the worst blue screen ever. The scenes of Superman and Nuclear Man flying are absolutely terrible and are the worst effects I’ve ever seen. The fight scenes are also very bad, particularly with Superman and Nuclear Man. A lot of the time it just looks like they are catfighting and other times they are knocking each other such a distance away.


Superman 4 is by far the worst Superman movies and one of the worst superhero movies ever made. Even with its 1:30 runtime, it is a drag and it’s a wonder that it actually exists. I’m always puzzled by people who say that Man of Steel is the worst Superman movie ever made, clearly they haven’t seen Superman 4.