Impostor isn’t a terrible film, at least not as bad as some have made it out to be, but it does come across amateurish in its style (Fleder seems to love using angles), but the acting isn’t too bad and the production design and, given the budget, visual effects is OK. This isn’t the kind of film that will challenge your brain and compared with other Philip K. Dick adaptations, it’s a mid level release.
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Drama
Echo Bridge | PG13 – 95 min. – $14.99 | July 17, 2012
Directed by: Gary Fleder
Writer(s): Philip K. Dick (short story); Scott Rosenberg (adaptation), Caroline Case and Ehren Kruger and David Twohy (screenplay)
Cast: Gary Sinise, Madeline Stowe, Vincent D’Onofrio, Tony Shalhoub, Mekhi Phifer
Theatrical Release Date: January 4, 2002
Features: Featurette, Short Film
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (DTS-HD MA 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Disc Size: 22.9 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 2.75/5
Plot Synopsis: At a time when the Earth has been at war with an alien force for over a decade, the latest work of government scientist Spencer Olham (GARY SINISE) promises to save the planet. But suddenly, Olham himself is accused of being an alien spy and is thrown headlong into a disorienting nightmare as a fugitive from the law. With the help of an underground refugee (MEKHI PHIFER) with the promise of valuable medication, he must make it into the city and prove that he is not a spy all the while alluding the tenacious Hathaway (VINCENT D’ONOFRIO).
Quick Hit Review: I should first note that this Blu-ray is only of the PG-13 rated, 95-minute cut and not the R-rated 102-minute director’s cut. Having not seen that cut I can only comment on this version and being what it is, a low-rent sci-fi flick, it’s not awful but nothing about it distinguishes it from others in the genre.
This is yet another feature film adapted from a short story by sci-fi genius writer Philip K. Dick and comparatively speaking, it’s in the midrange of his adaptations with Blade Runner, Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly and maybe The Adjustment Bureau being in the top tier, Screamers and Total Recall in the middle and Paycheck and Next at the bottom. Where does Impostor fit in? I’d say in the middle as it’s aptly made with some decent visual effects, given the budget at least, and some good performances all around.
The cast includes Gary Sinise in the main role and although I’ve never considered him to be leading man material – always seems to do better in a supporting role like in Forrest Gump or Ransom – he’s suitable in the role, albeit someone like a Russell Crowe or Edward Norton might’ve been a better fit (and since it was shot in 2000-01, those two were certainly attainable). The others like Madeline Stowe and Mekhi Phifer is OK for their thankless parts while Vince D’Onofrio is apposite in the antagonist slot even when the character isn’t very well written and is pretty one-dimensional.
Directed by Gary Fleder, who previously has helmed numerous high-profile projects like Don’t Say a Word and Kiss the Girls, does fine with the material handed to him (from writers David Twohy and Ehren Kruger), there’s nothing remarkable about his direction or even the future-scape created by the visual effects team and production designer; it’s fairly generic.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.25/5
The only features included, both of which were ported over from the DVD, is an Original Short Film (37:41; SD) which is just a shorter version of the movie and includes some footage not in the final film (at least I think so); apparently the idea was, this was to be one part of a three part trilogy. According to IMDb, the other two, which eventually became feature-length films, were Mimic and Alien Love Triangle.
Also included is a standard Behind the Scenes Featurette (11:53; SD).
VIDEO – 3.75/5
Miramax, through Echo Bridge Home Entertainment, brings Impostor onto Blu-ray with a nice 1080p transfer, although I can’t say it’s anything overly impressive. The picture itself seems clean with no noticeable amount of dust or scratch marks, the black levels seem to be even and the artifacting is kept at a minimum. That said, it’s still not finely detailed compared with other releases from that time (2001/2002) and the picture can come across a tad soft in places. Even so, it’s a decent transfer but don’t expect to be blown away.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
Similarly, the 5.1 DTS-HD MA track gets the job done, efficiently and effectively but again, it’s nothing to write home about. The majority of the film is dialogue driven with some action sequences thrown in for good measure, and in those instances, it’s nice and clear. When we do get into the action, the lossless track does pick up some providing depth and a little rumble especially at the end.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
Overall, Impostor isn’t a terrible film, at least not as bad as some have made it out to be, but it does come across amateurish in its style (Fleder seems to love using angles), but the acting isn’t too bad and the production design and, given the budget, visual effects is OK. This isn’t the kind of film that will challenge your brain and compared with other Philip K. Dick adaptations, it’s a midlevel release. The Blu-ray offers up adequate video and audio transfers but the features do fall short. Given this only has a $14.99 SRP, you should be able to nab this for $5 at some point, which then would be worth it.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.