Enemy Mine Review
Whilst it is never dull it does push the limits
Zammis get four five?
A cocksure fighter pilot while out on a mission takes one risk too many in a space battle that sees his co-pilot fatally injured, and in seeking revenge chases down the enemy only to crash land on a near in-hospitable planet. Still seeing red the pilot, Davidge, seeks out the downed enemy, an alien race called the Dracs, with the intent to kill him. After the plan goes awry and he is captured, things start to look bad, but the timely interruption of a meteor shower sees the two desperate souls join forces with the express intention of survival. Over the coming months, the human and the drac communicate by learning their counterpart’s dialect, but more than that they bond in terms of respect and religion. When Jeriba (or Jerry) becomes pregnant (not a matter of choice for this alien race) and dies during birth, Davidge is left to care for the child and school him. When the reluctant parent has his surrogate child kidnapped, a vengeful Davidge stops at nothing to find him, save him and return him to his own planet, just as he swore he would.
So... It’s a buddy movie, set in space. And whilst the simple concept is easy to grasp and relate to, it has also been seen many times before, even in 1985 when the picture was released. The production of the film has a fraught history, but (eventual) director Wolfgang Petersen started from scratch, redesigned everything and brought in a film that is strong on drama, decent in effects and heavy in allegory, but suffers from a rather slow pace and a screenplay that is pretty ordinary. Whilst the ambition is laudable, the execution passible, the acting excellent and the drama palpable there is an overall feeling of ‘meh’, which for a sci-fi extravaganza being used as a set up for a whole new franchise was the final nail in its coffin. Whist you can point fingers at the troubled production and studio interference with the ‘mine’; at its core the film suffers from trying far too hard to be more than it actually is; and whilst it is never dull it does push the limits, getting far to bogged down in melodrama at the expense of interest. You could argue that is the point, a throwback to a simpler time, and time has healed a lot of its initial wounds, but in the end Enemy Mine offers a lot, but delivers too little.
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