Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4
Paranoia reigns supreme in IMPOSTOR, a sci-fi film based on a Philip K. Dick
short story. The movie, by director Gary Fleder (DON'T SAY A WORD), has had
a half dozen releases scheduled and then pulled over the past couple of
years. Recut from its original R-rating, the PG-13 movie finally released
is a long chase picture set in a BLADE RUNNER world in the year 2079. The
movie was planned to be just one chapter in a three chapter movie. Stuffed
with more filling than a Christmas turkey in order to make it stand alone,
the movie lumbers along when it should be sprinting.
The story concerns a scientist named Spencer John Olham (Gary Sinise) who
has invented a bomb that might prove to be the definitive weapon in the
interminable war against the aliens, but, like J. Robert Oppenheimer before
him, Olham begins to have doubts about the ethical use of his own creation.
Hathaway (Vincent D'Onofrio), a leader of Earth's security forces, has no
such doubts, telling Olham, "This weapon is a godsend. It will ensure the
preservation of our race and our faith." This is one of the few thoughts
expressed in the film, which most of the time doesn't have a lot on its
mind, save running, hiding and shooting.
Actually, Olham may or may not be Olham. Hathaway believes that he is
merely a robot clone with a U-bomb planted in his heart as part of a plot to
kill the Chancellor (Lindsay Crouse). Olham tries his best to reassure his
wife (Madeleine Stowe) and everyone else that he is still Olham. The plot
has a heavily drugged Olham trying to get to the hospital to obtain the one
and only test that will prove his identity, while Hathaway and his soldiers
try to hunt him down and kill him.
The movie, which telegraphs that some big ending twist must be coming,
doesn't disappoint when the surprise finally occurs. The movie isn't bad,
but it isn't particularly good either. In the end, our sympathies lie less
with Olham than with the studio. They tried recutting the picture, but it
didn't help. Mediocre movies like the IMPOSTOR are too good to go
direct-to-video but aren't quite good enough to be released to theaters.
What's a studio to do?
IMPOSTOR runs 1:36. It is rated PG-13 for "intense sci-fi violence, some
sensuality and language" and would be acceptable for kids around 11 and up.
My son Jeffrey, age 12, gave it ***. He liked the plot, the special
effects, Sinise's acting, and, most of all, the ending twist.
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes