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Imposter (2000) star

Reviewed 2002-08-02
: There are plenty of examples of B-movies filmed with an A-movie budget and cast. In the Mouth of Madness (1995) and Event Horizon (1997) Second Look Reviewcome to mind. (Interesting: both films starred one of my favorite actors, Sam Neill. I suppose this proves that even the best have to work.) Imposter is another in a long, tedious line. It isn't that the actors don't work hard. Co-producer Gary Sinise as the weapons scientist, Spence Olham, who is accused of being a bomb-laden alien in disguise, is earnest and believable. Vincent D'Onofrio (the "bug" in Men in Black, 1999), as the security chief, Major Hathaway, is big and bold and scary -- could Olham be falsely accused?

On the other hand, Tony Shaloub (another veteran of the first MIB, as Nelson Gittes, gets wasted so early on that he seems to be wasted talent; likewise Madeline Stowe, as Olham's physician-wife, Maya, is onscreen so little, and so inconsequential to the plot, that those two roles could have been combined. And then there's that plot: Alpha Centaurean monsters are attacking earth; Olham builds a bomb to eliminate them; the monsters are infiltrating by taking human form; Hathaway suspects Olham is one of the infiltrators and gives chase. The whole movie is one long chase -- with some help from a talented newcomer (to me), Mekhi Phifer as Cale -- but it is not a very engaging chase. Nobody has troubled to develop a personality.

Imposter, based on a short story by SF writer Phillip K. Dick, means well, but the ending is so predictable, and the characters so one-dimensional, that I ended up not really caring. This B-movie gets a C-minus.

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Ronald Bruce Meyer is a freelance reviewer.