Impostor (Rental) (2002)

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Rental Version Only
Available for Rent

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 91:30 (Case: 98)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Gary Fleder
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Gary Sinise
Madeleine Stowe
Vincent D'Onofrio
Mekhi Phifer
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Rental Music Mark Isham


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The story of Impostor was originally conceived as the second chapter of a three part anthology Science Fiction film. After viewing the completed 37 minute version of the story, the studio decided to close production on the first and third chapters and extend the story of Impostor to feature length. After sitting on the shelf for the good part of 18 months, the film was released theatrically in January 2002 to decidedly mixed reviews and poor box office.

    Impostor is based on a short story by acclaimed Sci-Fi author Phillip K. Dick. There have been many films made based on this prolific author's work, some of which have become legendary in their own right. The brilliant Blade Runner is considered not only the best adaptation of Dick's work, but a milestone in science fiction film making. Other notable adaptations are the excellent Total Recall, arguably Schwarzenegger's best work and the recent Spielberg/Cruise collaboration Minority Report. Impostor falls well short of those cinema greats, but fares better than the mediocre Screamers, also based on a Dick short story.

    The year is 2054. The earth is at war with an alien race known as the Centauri. Spencer Olham (Gary Sinise) is accused of being an alien cyborg, a replicant of his former self sent to infiltrate and assassinate a high-ranking government official. Olham escapes the authorities and sets out to prove his innocence and humanity. What follows is basically The Fugitive set 50 years from now. What makes Impostor a rewarding viewing experience is an earnest screenplay that strives to be original and for the most part succeeds. The screenplay is credited to David Twohy and Ehren Kruger. Both writers have proven themselves in the past; Kruger wrote the clever Arlington Rd and Twohy directed and wrote both The Arrival and the excellent Pitch Black. Instead of succumbing to the conventional trappings and clichés inherent in genre filmmaking, Impostor impresses with several unforseen plot developments and a knockout finale. What can be appreciated foremost about Impostor is the question posed by the story - what quality defines a human being? Is it one's actions or genetic make up? This recurring theme of defining humanity is often at the forefront of Phillip Dick's more involving stories, the best example of this being Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. Impostor is by no means a great film, but deserves credit all the same for providing a thought-provoking plot that at least shows a spark of intelligence, something that can't be said about a lot of Hollywood fare of late.

    With a budget approaching 40 million dollars, Impostor has some extremely impressive visual effects. The sequences depicting the dome-enclosed cityscapes in particular are first rate and it is not surprising to see Industrial Light & Magic listed as being responsible for these effects. However, during the opening flashback sequence there are some decidedly poor opticals used to highlight a space battle that look dated even when judged against lowly Battlestar Galactica standards. The actors acquit themselves well, especially Sinise who is at the heart of the story. It is to his credit that the audience becomes emotionally invested in his plight - a lesser actor would not register in the part. Stowe and D'Onofrio, although saddled with smaller roles, come across as believable if uninspired. Director Fleder is obviously having fun utilising imaginative camera moves and edits to heighten the tension and immerse the audience in a futuristic setting. There is one sequence in particular that deserves credit. It involves a vivisection and interrogation that unfortunately has been largely cut from the Australian print. Nonetheless, even in edited form it is still quite disturbing.

    Impostor is an above average Sci-Fi film that, although not great cinema, is well worth a look for the curious and somewhat partial to Science Fiction fanatics like myself.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Impostor is presented with a decent if uninspired transfer.

    The film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1:85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions.

    The print is extremely sharp with occasional edge enhancement obvious in some of the brighter scenes. There is little to no grain or low level noise apparent, but shadow detail is a little wanting in some of the darker scenes.

    Colours are somewhat muted, but this is a technique used by the filmmaker to achieve the desired industrial look required by the material.

    There are occasional film artefacts in evidence, but these are extremely rare and are predominantly black and not distracting - this is a more than acceptable transfer.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Impostor has been presented with a fairly dynamic soundtrack that more than adequately adds to the enjoyment of the film.

    The only audio available is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track.

    Dialogue is always clear and well rendered with no audio sync problems apparent.

    The musical score by Mark Isham is adequate but uninspired, merely providing enough emotional undercurrent to advance the scene.

    Surround channel usage is first rate, with an aggressive use of directional effects to liven up the film experience.

    The subwoofer gets a vigorous workout and complements the 5.1 surround nicely.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain

Theatrical Trailer

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version misses out on;

    The Region 1 version misses out on;

    The Region 2 (Japanese) version includes the uncut version of the film, the featurette, plus 15 minutes worth of interviews with cast and crew and a dynamite DTS track.

    Personally, I prefer the Japanese disc for the DTS track alone. It's a winner.

Summary

    Impostor is a better-than-average science fiction film that attempts to question what exactly makes us human. Although not totally successful, the film does reward the viewer with a thoughtful screenplay mostly devoid of genre clichés. The disc unfortunately is severely lacking, with no extras, a cut version of the film and a mediocre transfer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Greg Morfoot (if interested here is my bio)
Tuesday, December 31, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 76cm 16:9 Widescreen Flatron Television. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderSony HT-K215.
AmplificationSony HT-K215
SpeakersSS-MS215

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