Instant Queue Diaries- Episode 16: Enemy Mine

Enemy_mineOn the surface, “Enemy Mine” is a cheesy ’80s sci-fi movie, but at its core, it’s a film that is able to completely immerse you in its environment, in spite of the extra cheddar.

While the movie never captured a huge amount of attention, it at least played a role in the careers of many of the people associated with it. Director Wolfgang Peterson learned a lot from making this film and you’ll see in “Enemy Mine” the beginnings of what become his solid storytelling ability that find their way into his later work. Screenplay writer Edward Khmara earned his stripes with other films such as “Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story” and “Ladyhawke,” but some would even argue that “Enemy Mine” is just as well-rounded a work.

As far as flicks from the instant queue go, this is easily up there as one of the coolest, even though it won’t be many peoples first choice for cinema goodness, due to the fact that it kind of flew under the radar when it was first released.

Watching this movie as a kid, usually late at night, I always felt as if I was watching something special. Everything from the environments and the monsters screamed ’50s and ’60s sci-fi. The Velveeta in every line and the over the top music made me laugh, smile and cringe all at the same time. Of course, it was never as cool as “Star Wars,” but there was just something about it that made it immensely appealing to me. The fact that my dad knew how to impersonate the aliens in the film always made it cool for me as well.

Produced in 1985, the film has this rustic appeal that always made me feel like I was watching something about two decades older. Overall, it was and still is a guilty pleasure piece of cinema for me.

Feeling like “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” in space, mixed with a Rent-a-Center version of “Star Wars” at times, “Enemy Mine” is a tale of Willis Davidge and Jeriba ‘Jerry’ Shigan, played by the always solid Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett Jr, two enemy fighter pilots who get stranded on a planet together and must deal with their natural hatred towards one another survive.

The tag line of the film does a pretty solid job of accentuating their relationship as well: “Enemies because they were taught to be. Survivors because they had to be. Brothers because they dared to be.”

This, in essence is what the movie is all about.

Seeing these two creatures eventually strike up a friendship and fight alongside each other is corny, but it’s also heart-warming in a way that only a mid- ’80s sci-fi can be. As a duo, Quaid and Gossett are far from Hamill and Ford, but they’re solid enough to be believable and because of that, the film easily rises above the mediocre.

There are some comedic elements in the movie, but it’s never laugh out loud. Instead, it’s more of a tale of adversity that ends up running the full gamut of emotions. Again, it’s not the best sci-fi flick from the ’80s by a long shot, but it can be enjoyable if you give it a chance.

About Patrick Hickey Jr. 10079 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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