Dir: Gary Fleder
Star: Gary Sinise, Madeleine Stowe, Vincent D'Onofrio, Mekhi Phifer
Cert / Year: 15 - PG13 / 2002
Format: DVD R1

In the future Earth is at war with Alpha Centauri and humanity is forced to live under impenetrable electromagnetic shield domes. Spence Olham is a scientist working on the ultimate weapon that will win the war for the people of Earth. Things are going well with the project and Spence is due to meet the world leader when Major Hathaway turns up and kidnaps Spence. He accuses him of being an alien android bomb set to blow up the leader, and he intends to prove it be ripping open his chest to find the bomb. Faced with this Spence escapes and goes on the run, desperate to prove he is Spence Olham and not an impostor.

Originally this wasn't meant to be a full length feature but the second part of a film of three short stories. However during production the filmmakers realised that there was enough story to warrant a film in its own right, were they right? Actually yes they were.

When considering the themes within the plot it will come as no surprise that it is based upon a Philip K Dick short story (with David Twohy working on the screenplay). The story contains elements of both Blade Runner (Do androids dream of electric sheep) and Total Recall (We can remember it for you wholesale). These include just what makes us human, the flight from authority, and the threat that androids pose to the way in which we view ourselves. Unfortunately these earlier adaptations of his work address these themes in a much better way, but wait that doesn't mean that Impostor is not worth watching. Far from it, as it is highly entertaining in a futuristic version of The Fugitive sort of way. Imagine the chase from Total Recall extended and played seriously and you will know what to expect.

After a ropey start where the film robs footage from Starship Troopers and Deep Impact the special effects prove to be a high point for the film. The dome effects and the building scanner are both excellent, and it is this sort of high tech gadgetry that gives the film its unique edge. From high tech torture implements to the personal tracker implants it may not be unique but it is well realised. Given the background for the film it is a real credit that it looks as good as it does.

Add to this Some creditable direction and fast paced plotting and you have a pretty good film. However all of this would have been undone without strong central performances. Gary Sinise is more than adequate as Spencer Olham, he really captures the confusion he is faced with. Had the budget been bigger you can't help but get the feeling a bigger name would have been chosen. One name I wouldn't have changed though is Vincent D'Onofrio , he gives a truly menacing performance that really evolves during the film. In short he is excellent. At the other end of the scale is Madeleine Stowe who is so uninvolved that she may well have not been in the film. Overall it is a good cast if not the best that money can buy.

Impostor is a very good sci-fi chase film, and whereas the deeper questions raised by the story may not be well addressed the action is unrelenting. Bearing in mind its humble beginnings this proves to be a highly entertaining if not totally original movie. Yes other films have done this type of thing and some better, but this film is never that predictable and proves to be highly entertaining. What's more it packs a nice little shock ending. Overall this is a little known film that is well worth seeking out.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Picture 1.85:1 Anamorphic Good modern picture
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 A 5,1 mix with some nice bass but little use of surround channels
Features Short but interesting featurette.
The original short film version.
Verdict Good picture and sound, but highly limited special features. To see the original short is interesting but more is required.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home