Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
Starring: Gary Sinise, Madeleine Stowe, Vincent D'Onofrio, Mekhi Phifer, Tony Shalhoub | Directed by: Gary Fleder | Produced by: Gary Sinise, Amber Steven, Daniel Lupi, Gary Fleder, Marty Katz | Written by: Mark Protosevich, Scott Rosenberg, David Twohy, Ehren Kruger | Distributor: Dimension Films
“Impostor” is a bland Sci Fi film based on a short story by Philip K. Dick. The story was originally contained in a three-chapter anthology called “Alien Love Triangle”. Philip, who wrote this story in 1953, has been referred to by some Science Fiction enthusiasts as a “futurist.” I am not sure that I would put his writings in that classification. They seem to be more of a fantasy look at the dilemmas that faced individuals during the Cold War. He doesn’t seem to write about the future at all (with as often as he gives his impressions about the present). But Philip does examine some of those complex questions like “how can you tell who the real enemy really is?”
Our story begins with Spencer Otham (Gary Sinise) as a government scientist in the mid-21st century working on a weapon of mass destruction. The government hopes to use the weapon against the aliens from Alpha Centari. His own father died while fighting this common enemy of Earth.
Early on in the film, Spencer is informed that the real Otham is dead and that he is merely an alien substitute. Hathaway (Vincent D'Onofrio) begins the process of trying to convince him and expose the fact that his mission was to assassinate Earth’s leader. Spencer objects and quicker than you can say “Fugitive” he escapes. He first tries to contact his wife, Maya (Madeline Stowe), who is a physician. She has the necessary medical records to help clear this whole misunderstanding up.
Most of this film is very dark. I personally don’t mind that for part of the film, but to make the majority of a movie in poor lighting is, in my opinion, not very interesting. I know that Phillip K. Dick has been the inspiration behind other popular Sci-Fi flics like “Blade Runner” and “Total Recall”, but I found this one rather stale. Instead of trying to explore the themes of paranoia or technology run-a-muk, we have a very cold, distant, and unengaging presentation. This film was originally rated R and went through the appeal process. There is some strong language (including one use of the f-word) and several religious exclamations. Producer and Director Gary Fieder also included quite a bit of violence. Most of the suspense in the film was spoiled by obvious predictability. It seemed more like a Christmas disappointment like “didn’t I get this gift last year.” The film does have some sex, but it is veiled and between a married couple.
My recommendation is to just skip this one. You will save a few bucks and the same disappointment as I had. It is not as bad as “Battlefield Earth”, but it is surely a close second.