Action, Science Fiction

The Impostor (2001)

0 Comments 22 July 2012

Studio: Echo Bridge Entertainment/Miramax

Theatrical Release: January 4, 2002

Blu Ray Release: July 17, 2012

Director: Gary Fleder


Review by James Klein

Based on the short story by legendary science fiction writer Philip K. Dick (Blade Runner, Total Recall) comes this little seen sci-fi/action film that when released originally in theaters, was thrown out during the dreaded post holiday season. That is the time where studios have no faith in the films they are going to release or know that the films they have are just not strong enough to stand up to the big summer or holiday films. Such a shame that The Impostor was rarely seen as it is a very entertaining and fun movie to watch.

Gary Sinise stars as Spencer Olham, a brilliant scientist working for the government who has designed a space probe that could bring the end to a long battle with an evil alien race called The Centurians. To stop from being invaded, the last remaining survivors of Earth now live in a dome where the aliens missiles cannot penetrate. Thus, the aliens have sent out clones with bombs built into their heart to go off at various points. Their main target is the Chancellor (a brief appearance by Lindsey Crouse) whose protection is that of Hathaway, (Vincent D’Onofrio) a strong and determined government agent assigned to track down these clones. When he gets word that Spencer Olham is dead and the person who is Spencer Olham is really a clone, Hathaway captures Olham and while under interrogation, escapes. The rest of the film plays much like Total Recall as we are unsure if Spencer Olham is or is not a clone, and is on the run from everyone. Even Olham’s beautiful wife (Madeleine Stowe) doesn’t know if she can believe or trust him.

While the story is basic and not the most original idea in the world (seems like a lot of these kind of movies borrow heavily from The Fugitive), The Impostor is fun to watch. The movie is very fast-paced and filled with numerous action scenes that are staged well when director Gary Felder keeps the camera still. There are too many shaky camera shots and canted angles that got on my nerves at times that I wished would just stop. It didn’t ruin the film for me but it did prove to be distracting. Sinise and D’Onofrio are always good and both men give it their all in this otherwise silly action film. Lesser talent could have dragged this movie down and thankfully this strong cast helps elevate the movie.

What’s interesting about The Impostor was that it was originally a short film with the same cast and crew. The idea was to make an anthology sci-fi movie but as they showed dailies to the studio, Miramax thought that The Impostor was better than what they expected so why not expand it into a feature length film. What I don’t get is that the film then sat on the shelf for awhile and re-edited from R to PG-13 and dumped in early January where this 40 million dollar film barely grossed 6 million. Why? The Impostor isn’t perfect but it is still a decent film and one that I would recommend to people.

The blu ray bpresented by Echo Bridge looks and sound great and this time, not only do they keep the original aspect ratio of 1:85 but have added some special features to the disc. Aside from a small featurette on the making of the film, the original short film has been added. The short is interesting to watch as much of the action scenes are now gone and what we have is the beginning and the ending of the film. It’s rather strange and feels like an episode of The Outer Limits or Twilight Zone. My only complaint is that some older DVD releases of The Impostor contained the original R rated version. Here, only the theatrical PG-13 cut has been given the blu ray treatment.

While not perfect, The Impostor has been unfairly forgotten for the last 11 years now and it’s nice to see this movie get its due, especially on blu ray.

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