The late, prolific, Philip K. Dick's numerous short stories are fertile ground for fascinating science fiction movies, as Blade Runner, Total Recall, and the upcoming Minority Report. Impostor reveres him so much that within five minutes Dick already has two on screen credits. Apparently, this is a ploy to trick people into thinking that Impostor is a much better movie than it actually is. What it is is actually one long, tedious chase sequence book ended by dull exposition. Everybody involved in the film has done better in the past, and should know much better, especially stars Gary Sinise, Madeleine Stowe, and Vincent D'Onofrio. The year is 2079, and Earth is at war with a race of aliens. Humans live underneath force field protected cities, and Dr. Spencer John Olham (Sinise, Mission to Mars, Reindeer Games) is a scientist working for the government.

He wakes up one day to find that government agents are after him. Hathaway (D'Onofrio, The Cell, Steal This Movie!) claims that one the real Olham is dead, and this Olham is actually a cyborg implanted with a bomb. The cyborg is programmed to explode in front of a world leader, crippling the Earth's defenses. Olham adamantly refuses to believe that he is not real, and goes about trying to prove this. His wife Maya (Stowe, The General's Daughter, Playing By Heart) works in a hospital, and Olham is making his way towards her to conduct some tests. Along the way, he also meets Cale (Mekhi Phifer, Shaft, Brian's Song), who agrees to help Olham make his way to the hospital. There is little else to Impostor, aside from an attempt to milk drama out of the dilemma that Olham is facing; is he real? The real problem with this movie is that nobody cares either way. The only drama present occurs at the final sequence, which has a predictable surprise.

The original Impostor was a short story, and as one, probably works. Stretched out to feature length by Caroline Case, Ehren Kruger (Reindeer Games, Scream 3), David Twohy (Pitch Black, G.I. Jane) and Scott Rosenberg (High Fidelity, Gone in Sixty Seconds) makes it nearly unbearable. There is little to make Impostor interesting. For a so-called action movie, it is surprisingly boring, and should induce short naps. The acting is fine, but there is no script to act from. There is no character development; the story just throws the audience into the chase. This gives no context for anybody to sympathize with Olham's plight. The setting looks interesting, but director Gary Fleder (Don't Say a Word, Kiss the Girls) would much rather drape everything in darkness so things are hard to see. Impostor is the first film of 2002, and it sets a low standard for the rest of the year.

Haro Rates It: Really Bad.
1 hour, 36 minutes, Rated PG-13 for intense sci-fi violence, some sensuality and language.

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