Seeing the final result, one wonders if the effort was worth it. Certainly, Enemy Mine was not the breakthrough science-fiction film that everybody hoped it would be and only did mediocre box-office business. The film is little more than a remake of John Boormans Hell in the Pacific (1968) set in space. Hell in the Pacific had Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune as American and Japanese pilots stranded on an island in the Pacific during World War II. Despite its science-fiction settings, Enemy Mine cannot seem to imagine much beyond being a version of Hell in the Pacific with funny rubber masks. For all the breakaway vision the film promised, it is banally unimaginative as science-fiction. The Drac is presented with the interesting ability to impregnate itself but for all that Wolfgang Petersen and screenwriter Edward Khmara could care about showing its different socio-behavioural background, it had might as well be a Japanese pilot. It seems sad when you buy up a story that won the science-fiction communitys two major award and then throw all the science-fiction out.
Edward Khmara also write the same years fine Mediaeveal romantic fantasy Ladyhawke (1985) but clearly lacks an adept hand at writing science-fiction. Stellar distances are treated as being as close as terrestrial islands. For all that the story creates a great war between mankind and Drac for habitable planets, Fyrine IV never seems any more uninhabitable than some of the more remote stretches of Earth like say Norway or Iceland. What are these two species looking for planets where they are waited on by the natives as well? What is worst about the film are some of its gaping credibility gaps. There is a scene where Dennis Quaid is shot and certified as dead by a research team but then some time later manages to come back to life only moments before being cremated. Then, following his first shave, haircut and clean set of clothes in several years, he still manages to be recognized by the man who shot him. Or the far-fetched ending that has the military suddenly decide to forget their tolerance of the slavers and traditional war with the Dracs and become the equivalent of the Cavalry riding in to save the day.
Wolfgang Petersen never manipulates the film for any drama, save the climax and the embarrassingly mawkish pregnancy scenes. This is primarily because he shoots almost everything in wide-angle, determined not to miss the undeniably impressive sets. Without any closeups in a film, it is virtually impossible to maintain drama seen on the video/tv screen everything seems to be happening at an impossibly murky distance. Dennis Quaid gives another of his wild guy cowboy performances, which only comes out as hammy in the surroundings.
Enemy Mine has never been sequelized or remade. Two interesting variants are the low-budget Enemy Mind (2010) and Hunter Prey (2010), which both borrow the basic idea for the story of two human enemies crashlanded on a planet.
Wolfgang Petersen went on to become a mainstream Hollywood director with the likes of In the Line of Fire (1993), Outbreak (1995), Air Force One (1997), The Perfect Storm (2000), Troy (2004) and Poseidon (2006). Petersen also produced Bicentennial Man (1999) for Chris Columbus.