The Secret Enemy (2010)

a.k.a Enemies Among Us (USA)

Eric Roberts and Billy Zane star in Dan Garcia's turgid political "thriller". 4 Digital Media UK R0 DVD.

The Film

Louisiana Governor Chip Majors is tipped for the Vice-Presidential nomination. After announcing a new oil drilling programme, he goes to his hotel room to find that his paid shag is trying to kill him. He kills her but is discovered by two of his security detail, he offers them a large sum in cash to cover-up the murder. It seems that she is not alone however and Majors is the target of an assassination plot...

With writing, directing and producing credits all taken by Dan Garcia it is at least easy to allocate blame for this utter mess of a film. The premise is not bad - a politician who worked in intelligence and upset the wrong people, now the target of assassins, a good theme that offers plenty of possiblities it would seem. Obviously not. Instead of Jack Bauer we get a bunch of tiresome characters who get far too much screentime, from the cops having lengthy discussions about their personal lives, to a long-winded interview piece with the Presidential candidate and a whole load of the Governor's financial backers who take up a colossal amount of the film, for seemingly no other reason than to take a whole load of cheap shots at the Republican party and big business (and audaciously criticising the tax breaks for films in Louisiana that Garcia was using to fund this production and would later be convicted of defrauding of nearly a million dollars).

In fact inbetween all the endless time wasting, it is hard to know if there is any plot at all. Someone is being tortured in Afghanistan for some reason, only to reveal information that we already knew from another character and none of which is communicated to the characters actually involved, thus having no bearing on the storyline. In fact some 90% of the film's running time covers characters and events that really have nothing to do with the plot at all. Even the climactic action scene is a mess with dozens of extra assassins emerging from the woodwork, suddenly now forgoing any subtlety, a lead character is killed off-screen and the sequence ends with a predictably unsatisfying ending. Then for no reason at all, we are then treated to a pointless coda so we can see just how some of the minor support characters got on with their lives.

Unsurprisingly, this mess continues in the director's chair as well. Much of the film is inexplicably hand-held, which just makes it seem cheap and the dull hotel sets look more like locations from a porn film. For some reason Garcia throws in some gratuitous black and white into a couple of scenes, just for fun perhaps? The all important chase finalé that might have added some excitement to the film is over-edited into numbness, making it impossible to tell what is going on and it seems to be rushed through just so we can get back to the boring dialogue.

Veteran television and film actor Eric Roberts is clearly as bored of starring in this film as the audience who are watching it, he gives an inexplicably hammy and over-the-top performance as a police officer (this is seriously the only highlight of the entire production). In contrast Billy Zane returns from working with Garcia on Journey to Promethea (2010) to expressionlessly cameo in a part that seems to serve no purpose at all, aside from allowing the advertising designers to put a Hitman style image of Zane in a suit on the DVD cover. The rest of the cast are either as wooden as the furniture or just trying to hide from the dire script.

A complete and utter time waste - running 75 minutes but feeling like two hours, The Secret Enemy has a kernel of a plot that is shorter than some film's taglines and Dan Garcia inexplicably tries to pad out the remaining 90% of the film with boring and pointless characters having boring and pointless conversations, like a kid trying to reach a word limit on a school essay. Without even the excitement of a good chase and shoot-out climax there is simply no reason to recommend this film to anyone, even veteran bad movie fans will find nothing to enjoy here. An utter waste of time.

In Brief
Anyone famous in it? Eric Roberts - one of the hardest working character actors, with over 100 film appearances in the past 5 years.
Billy Zane - after a few big films in the 90s, he has spent the 2000s firmly in DTV territory.
Directed by anyone interesting? Dan Garcia - an American independent film maker who also directed the poorly reviewed horror films Flesh Wounds (2011) and fantasy tale Journey to Promethea (2010)
Any gore or violence ? A little blood.
Any sex or nudity? None
Who is it for? Not recommendable to anyone, even hardcore bad-movie collectors will find this a dull waste of time.

Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colour.
The digital print receives a fine transfer.
Audio English 2.0 - sounds fine.
Subtitles None.
Extras The disc includes:
  • Theatrical Trailer - far more exciting and better edited that the film itself
Region Region 0 (ALL) - PAL
Other regions? Available in the US on a similar disc. Available on Blu-Ray and 3D Blu-Ray in Germany as Wieder ein Mord im Weißen Haus.
Cuts? Believed to be fully uncut. Print language is English.



All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 3rd November 2014.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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