by Collin Souter
If this movie were a cereal, it would be Boo-Berry. “Impostor” has so much of the color blue, and not the pensively beautiful Juliette Binoche variety either. It’s just blue for blue’s sake. Now, I like blue. I mean, I LIKE blue. Hey, I’ll just say it…I LOVE BLUE! But, man, does it have to be THAT blue? Couldn’t you tone down the blue-ness on your blue machine so’s I don’t out-blue my blue-tna. Seriously, it looks as though they shot the entire movie in the discotheque from “Vanilla Sky.” (Hey, wait a minute…sky…blue…wow, that’s weird…) Perhaps if you bring red sunglasses, the movie will be in 3-D.But I doubt it would help the quality. As I always say to those who rent “Pearl Harbor” on DVD because it looks and sounds better than VHS, “YOU CAN’T POLLISH A TURD!” “Impostor” is this season’s sci-fi turd, this season’s “Supernova.” It starts off with a caption basically saying, “Phillip K. Dick wrote this in the 50’s. You can blame him. We didn’t do it. It’s not out fault…The year is 2079,” which basically means “All characters from here on in will be dressed in shiny gray suits, Kirk style!”
It also means, as Gary Sinise narrates, that the Centaurions from the planet Alpha Something-Rather have invaded earth and destroyed a bunch of stuff. With the use of footage from “Starship Troopers” and John Boorman’s “Hope and Glory,” “Impostor” tells us about the devastating effect the invasion had on our entire planet. Why waste money on new footage when you can borrow someone else’s, eh? (And why they didn’t show footage from “Battlefield Earth” to further make its point, I’ll never know.)
Now, the earth’s cities reside under domes not unlike Jim Carrey’s habitat in “The Truman Show.” Gary Sinise plays Spence Olham, a guy who enjoys listening to John Lee Hooker while showering. Madeline Stowe plays his wife, a woman who enjoys listening to Sinise sing John Lee Hooker while showering. They have a nice house with all the latest gadgets left over from the “Total Recall” set. (See, ‘cause, like, in the future, all you gotta do is say “TV” and the TV goes on. Cool!)
Anyway, Sinise goes to work one day and suddenly finds himself harassed by Ben Affleck. “You told me ‘Reindeer Games’ would be a hit, you son of a bitch,” Ben screams. “Now, I’m gonna take it out on your stupid Mice-and-Men ass!!!” No, I’m sorry, that wasn’t Ben Affleck. Just my imagination. It’s actually Vincent D’Onofrio doing his best Ben Affleck imitation and, I gotta say, it’s pretty damn good. He plays D.H. Hathaway, an alien infiltrator who hunts down Spence and accuses him of being a secret Centaurion with a bomb for a heart sent to earth to destroy more stuff while masquerading as a decent law-abiding citizen with a microchip thingee lodged in him to give him false human memories. Spence, of course, has no idea what he means by this.
Just before the guards strap Spence onto a bed to remove his heart, via a Black-and-Decker Stainless Steel Heart-Removing Power Drill (2079 Model, of course), Spence stabs a bunch of them with some needles and punches his way out of the room. Needless to say, everyone starts shooting at him, but because everything else happens to be blue, Spence blends in perfectly with the scenery. Or, it may be that, as usual, the bad guys have their guns set on “Shoot Metal” instead of “Shoot Human.” You’d think these idiots, after all these years of stupid fugitive sci-fi movies, would learn!
Anyway, the movie goes from “Fugitive” to “Fled” in a matter of minutes when Spence hooks up with Cale (Mekhi Phifer), another guy who likes to run around and smuggle things. The two disguise themselves as they walk around town trying to avoid Hathaway and his band of merry men. During this part, Sinise dons an outfit that resembles the Uni-Bomber (or U2’s Bono, PopMart era). At one point, these two MoFos visit Elizabeth Pena, who should really take a job as an accountant, since she looks tremendously bored with being an actress. And who can blame her?
Later on, Spence and Cale part ways, but I can’t remember the reasons. (My mind drifted. I was probably busy thinking about “Disorderlies.” I don’t know why. It’s just been something I’ve been thinking about lately.) So, now the movie goes back to “Fugitive,” and we have to suffer through one of those twist-after-twist endings that, supposedly, we should not have seen coming.
I just have one question: WHAT THE HELL IS EVERYBODY DOING IN THIS!?! Gary Sinise, come on, man. What, Mr. Steppenwolf, still upset that the movie wasn’t called “Being Gary Sinise?” Get over it! Stop playing these Reindeer Games on Mars and, please, start doing quality work again. We miss you, buddy. Come on back to us. Likewise, Madeline Stowe has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do here that could even come close to being worthy of her talents. Furthermore, I prefer Vincent D’Onofrio as a down home drunken alien in long-johns to him being a cop trying to bust people who might be aliens. And did I forget to mention Tony Shalhoub shows up in this as Spence’s best friend? Yeah, and he dies.
Now, I have one last complaint, and this has very little to do with the movie, but I thought about it during most of the movie’s 1 hour and 35 minute running time. The prestigious Kristin O’Connor of FOX-TV (City unknown) has a quote in the ad describing “Impostor” as being “A movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat!” I don’t know about you, but I have had it with this quote being thrown around so loosely. First of all, I slouched through most of it.
Second of all, I don’t know if you’ve ever measured a seat, but I decided to investigate the legitimacy of this quote with my measuring tape that I happened to have with me. A theater seat measures about 16” x 16,” roughly, give or take an inch. Now, in order for me to be on the edge of it (throughout any movie), the size of the seat would have to be reduced dramatically to about 7” x 16.” On the other hand, in order to be on the edge of my seat without changing the size of said seat, my butt would have to be, roughly mind you, about 23 inches long and 16 inches wide. Now, I’ve never seen Kristen O’Connor’s butt. Maybe I just described it perfectly and she says this about every movie. I don’t know. The point is this movie stinks, whether sitting or standing.I suggest staying at home, eating a big box of Boo-Berry and staring at your tongue in the mirror for an hour. Then, move your head side to side really fast, like the swish-pans that director Gary Fleder enjoys using ad nauseam, and say over and over, “I am innocent…I don’t know what’s real…I am innocent…” Sure, people will look at you funny, but at least you’ll save yourself a few bucks and you won’t be punching yourself in the heart for 95 minutes trying to see if Renee Shapiro’s quote “A pure adrenaline rush” has any validity. P.S. It doesn’t.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5689&reviewer=233
originally posted: 01/05/02 15:23:16