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Overall Rating

Awesome: 1.96%
Worth A Look: 9.8%
Average: 25.49%
Pretty Bad: 21.57%
Total Crap41.18%

4 reviews, 27 user ratings

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by EricDSnider

"Impostor: A piece of dirt trying to pass itself off as a movie."
2 stars

A title card at the beginning of "Impostor" tells us that it's based on a story by "legendary futurist" Philip K. Dick, and that he wrote it in 1953. This is supposed to impress us, I think, because we're supposed to marvel at how chillingly accurate his vision was, way back in the '50s. And it's true: At that time, stupid science-fiction movies were in their infancy. How could he have known we'd have perfected the art by the year 2002???????

"Impostor" can't fairly be called a bad movie, because it hardly even tries to be a good one. Why bother giving a student an F when he sleeps through class anyway? Give him a D, and let him pass. He's not hurting anything.

It is The Future in this movie, specifically 2079. Life pretty much sucks, what with the planet Centauri being at war against us 24/7, and with the shield over Earth that keeps out the Centauris as well as most of the sunlight. People do all that futurey stuff like say "TV on" to turn the TV on, and ride in cars that fly rather than drive, and float in the air when they have sex (I'm guessing on that one, but it seems right).

Anyway, Spencer John Olham (Gary Sinise) is a brilliant scientist who becomes mistaken for a Centauri humanoid. Seems those smart aliens have figured out a way to create robot duplicates of people that are just like people, with emotions, blood, organs and everything. Virtually impossible to tell them from the real thing, until they get close to the target they've been programmed to destroy and then blow up, which I guess clues everyone in.

So some government guys, led by the dogged Hathaway (Vincent D'Onofrio), think Spencer is one of these humanoids, and of course part of being a humanoid is you don't remember being one, so hell, maybe he is one. He doesn't think so, though, and he's determined to prove it via some weird medical test that he and the movie choose not to explain to us, the viewers. But to do THAT, he has to get to the hospital, where his wife (Madeleine Stowe) works, and for THAT, he enlists the help of an underground freedom fighter (or something) named Cale (Mekhi Phifer).

So it's basically "The Fugitive," with a guy who swears he's innocent running from the feds while trying to gather evidence of his innocence. Except that Gary Sinise, who is normally a good actor, is no Harrison Ford in this movie, and Vincent D'Onofrio, who I can take or leave, is no Tommy Lee Jones in any scenario I can think of.

And Gary Fleder is no whoever-directed-"The Fugitive"; he's who directed "Don't Say a Word" and "Kiss the Girls" -- two reasonably good thrillers, for what they are, and each far better than the self-serious absurdity that is "Impostor." For here Fleder was faced with an unenviable task: Create a feature-length movie out of a story that would work better as a half-hour "Twilight Zone" episode, where silly last-minute twists amuse, rather than annoy, like this one does. (Indeed, "Impostor" was originally meant as one-third of a movie, along with a couple other Philip K. Dick stories.)

By the time the predictable twists present themselves, you'll be hard pressed to find anyone watching who still cares. Or anyone still watching, for that matter.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 01/09/02 09:59:06
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User Comments

8/31/17 danR OK SF, nothing special, middle drags a bit, but good time-waster. 4 stars
6/21/04 Steve Newman This really is awful and lazy 1 stars
3/27/04 Eschenennock Manville Gary Sinise carries an otherwise overblown mess 4 stars
6/21/03 Jim Subtext on what it means to be human is drowned in a sea of ineptitude 2 stars
6/15/03 Jack Sommersby Slightly better than its rep. Entertaining, even though it lags in places. 3 stars
5/15/03 George Jung The worst kind of know, that sticky, can't wipe it off your ass shit. Oh well. 1 stars
4/10/03 Jack Bourbon This movie would've been great, had it been released in the year 1655, when it was made. 1 stars
1/28/03 Dani O. Blargh. Guh! Meh... 1 stars
10/09/02 spyguy2 It entertained me a hell of a lot more than Minority Report. I've seen worse. 3 stars
9/24/02 bullit17 What a waste of talents like Sinise and D'Onofrio 2 stars
8/30/02 JesseL This movie was SO bad it sucked its own ass! 1 stars
8/20/02 Billy Pimple I walked out two days after the end. I luv Kirk Douglas! 5 stars
2/20/02 Eschenennock Manville Gary Sinise carries an otherwise overblown mess 4 stars
2/15/02 Roy Smith If this movie had "by the Coen brothers" you all would love it. 3 stars
2/08/02 malcolm pretty slow mostly, nice ending though 3 stars
2/07/02 Vickie Have seen much worse. 3 stars
1/21/02 King Krack It fucking sucked, except for the very end. Fuck off Sinise 1 stars
1/12/02 Ed Miles Walked out after 10 minutes into the show 1 stars
1/11/02 Andrew Carden Totally Confusing, and Very Disappointing From Such A Praised Actor. 1 stars
1/10/02 Joe Bayes Kinda fun...but then again, I kinda like vintage SF 4 stars
1/09/02 Satanami69 ft, I farted right on her head. That was the highlight of this movie. 2 stars
1/09/02 Satanami69 This fat woman in front of me had to lean all the way back during the whole movie. As I le 2 stars
1/09/02 Dimes Obviously no one here ever read a P. K Dick novel or story. Very true to his style. 4 stars
1/08/02 Nyartholep What's the problem? don't expect too much, you'll have gun. 3 stars
1/07/02 Mr Math Sinise used to stand for quality... not any more. 2 stars
1/06/02 ^ZuLu^ Oh come on! Voice-operated-machines already existed in Blade Runner (Philip K. Dick!!!)! 3 stars
1/05/02 Banky Edwards .....barf...... 1 stars
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  04-Jan-2002 (PG-13)



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