Impostor (2001)

Rating: D+

Dir: Gary Fleder
Star: Gary Sinise, Vincent D’Onofrio, Madeline Stowe, Mekhi Phifer

In the future, Earth is under siege by the Centaurians, our next-door neighbours from space. Just our luck to live beside intergalactic yobboes. Our top scientist, Spencer Olham (Sinise) finds himself accused of being not himself – indeed, of actually being a robotic bomb on an assassination mission – and must go on the run, while trying to clear his name. If this sounds like one of Philip K. Dick’s paranoid fantasies, that’ll be because it is, though with the usual Hollywood tidying-up, and stretching too, because the original was only a short story.

D’Onofrio impresses as the security chief sent to find Olham before he goes off, with a fittingly relentless attitude, but Sinise is colourless, without sufficient personality to become the hero he needs to be. The audience is never sure whether he actually is a bomb, though neither is enough attention paid to this possibility. Instead, we get a lot of running around and shouting, plus some almost-interesting mentions of the underclass, which gets barely adequate protection from the attackers, and less than that in the way of medical care.

Although money was obviously spent on this impressive looking dystopia, all too soon we’re back to the running and shouting. You know there are only two possible endings – he is a bomb, or he isn’t – though must confess, we didn’t quite nail precisely how it was going to end until just before we got there. Until then, the time passes in an undemanding, but barely interesting, way.