Review: “Impostor”

Originally to be one of three short films that composed the abandoned “Alien Love Triangle” project, “Impostor” was redone and reshot to add an extra hour or so of footage – and it shows. Coming off as a mediocre two-part “The Outer Limits” episode just posted up on the big screen, this is the sci-fi genre at its most mediocre.

The talent involved is impressive – Sinise, D’Onofrio, Shalhoub, Stowe and Phifer are all strong actors, Gary Fleder a director who knows how to do pacing and action, and of course a story based on Philip K. Dick. Yet what we have here is more of a futuristic version of “The Fugitive” or considering its budget and script – more reminiscent of the rather ‘eh’ series that was “The Pretender” (though D’Onofrio couldn’t hold a candle to Andrea Parker’s brilliant work).It’s a film filled with padding which in 40 minute format would’ve been a watchable if not remarkable short story – in extended format is frustratingly inane and repetitive. It does have a few standout moments – despite borrowing stock footage from other films (I counted “Gattaca”, Armageddon”, and “Starship Troopers” in the first two minutes), there’s some nice FX in here including a ‘sky shield’ whilst the interesting if not unexpected ending proves visually interesting.

Still despite a decent story the paranoia genre has been done to death before and so much better than this – the pace is grindingly slow, the situations he gets into incredibly formulaic, the sets decent at first but looking increasingly like giant factories and rundown streets in East LA, and despite a totalitarian style environment there’s no satire (ala “Total Recall”) – its all played very much to the bone and very seriously which is a shame as it would’ve added a bright spot to the dismal landscape. I would tag this as similar to (but not as good as) Jet Li’s weakest film to date “The One” – forgettable, cheap looking trash with the odd enjoyable moment but not even worth a video rental.