Director: Gary Fleder
In the future (2079), a reputable scientist (Sinise) is accused of being an alien “replicant” spy and is subsequently hunted down by the military. Is he or isn’t he an impostor? Looks like Gary Sinise without a shirt to me…
This is another one of those sci-fi flicks that’s been sitting on the shelves for quite some time (the initial release date was August 11, 2000). It’s based on a Phillip K. Dick story (what isn’t these days?) and you will feel echoes of other Dick tales like “Total Recall” and “Blade Runner” emanate from it.
The movie starts off with a bang, setting up its premise with flair. Fleder goes "all out" in the style department, establishing the world of the film and its love element with mucho panache. I was ready for a good ol' time at the movies. Unfortunately, the film’s set-up eventually serves us a huge plot hole that I personally had trouble getting over for the whole duration of this baby: “If you’re going to accuse a man of being a replicant, how about doing some freaking tests on the dude to provide concrete proof before ripping his damn heart out?” What kind of organization goes on a hunch? There’s a man’s life at stake here! Talk about lazy screenwriting.
Once the story is set in motion, it basically becomes a very standard chase flick. Think “The Fugitive” but without the tension or the spark. Nothing really exciting happens. It takes more than a couple of fight sequences with bums in a tunnel or military officers that can’t shoot for me to pop a woody. Add to that, a tedious relationship between Cale (Phifer) and Spencer (Sinise), a mostly absent Madeleine Stowe (should’ve capitalized more on her relationship with Sinise) and a couple of dumb choices (if I would be Public Enemy #1, I wouldn’t walk around in the night-time with a hood and sunglasses) and you get a mid-section that seems more in tune with an average TV episode of “Outer Limits”, than the big screen.
But I still kind of enjoyed the flick because I loved the subject matter and generally enjoy sci-fi (I even liked "Judge Dredd"…go figure). I also dug the sporadic gnarly effects, the constant question as to Sinise’s TRUE identity, the occasional kool shootouts, the flamboyant directing, the solid CGI (although I’m starting to get jaded) and the tense knockout ending that kicked me in the privates. I came out of the theatre a tad entertained but overall, "Impostor" just never lived up to its promise. Where’s the script doctor when you need him? Clone this!
Not much sauce here. We get a ripped heart, after the fact slit throats, an icky operation sequence and a few squib shots, nothing to wet your shorts over.
I’m a fan of Gary Sinise (Spencer) and he holds his own here. Too bad the script can’t keep up with him. Vincent D’Onofrio (Hathaway) lets his funny walk and his goatee do most of the acting. Cash that check, buddy! Madeleine Stowe (Maya) is hardly in the film and does what she does best: cry. Mekhi Phifer (Cale) comes through; too bad I didn’t give a rat’s ass about his character. Tony Shalhoub (Nelson) shows up for the first 10 minutes of the film. He’s ayight.
T & A
It’s ladies night tonight and it's all about Sinise shirtless. He even briefly shows his ass in a shower scene early on. Where’s my token Stowe breast shot? Damnit!
Fleder goes bonkers during the first 20 minutes. I’m talking slow motion galore, filters up the wazoo and slick lighting. I’m a sucker for that. He kind of loses his edge during the middle section and totally fails to generate any tension. He does get his style back and slaps in some much needed suspense for the finale though. Uneven.
An average score that never really stands out.
This is a rental at best. If the film would’ve sustained the style of the opening and the tension of the conclusion for the whole duration, maybe it could’ve been a keeper. But as a whole, it ain't all that. You’ll forget it 10 seconds after leaving the theatre. Damn, I already forgot it! What am I blabbing about again? You do the math and figure out if it’s worth 12 bucks out of your wallet.
The film was initially a 30-minute short to be part of "The Light Years Trilogy". Miramax was so impressed with the short film that they decided to have additional footage shot so that it could be put out as a full feature film. Should’ve kept it as a short.