Originally a 30 minute portion for an anthology film, Impostor was retooled into a full length feature film. Based on the Philip K. Dick short story of the same name, it follows the lead character Spencer Olham's quest to regain his identity after being suspected as an alien android, in an future Earth at war with aliens that use the androids as bombs to destroy their enemies homeworlds.Written by
The operating room set was also used in Logan's Run. See more »
After Spencer fires the Glock at the guards, though the gun is out of focus in the foreground, you can see that it has a round "stovepiped" (jammed sideways in the firing chamber and preventing the slide from closing). The gun is useless in this condition, yet Spencer continues to point it as if he were ready to fire. See more »
There wasn't always a war with the Centauri, but in my lifetime it's all I've ever known. By the year 2050, six years after the first attack, we'd lost so many things. We'd lost the sky to electromagnetic domes, to shield the Earth from frequent air raids increasing in intensity. We'd lost the uncovered cities that the government forgot. We'd lost democracy to global leadership. We didn't expect peace anymore with the Centauri, because we came to see that peace wasn't their goal. ...
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Both the PPV that came out prior to the DVD release and the "Director's Cut" DVD show an identical "R" rated version vs. the "PG-13" version being shown now on cable TV. Some of the scenes missing on the PG-13 version, in chronological order, include:
Missiles shown striking buildings during "electromagnetic domes" narration and more graphic footage of the "uncovered cities the government forgot".
When Spence's neighbor, Mr. Siegel, is looking through the telescope, he adds the words "Come to me, baby. Come to me." In the PG-13 version the frame freezes just as he opens his mouth to speak.
After commenting to Nelson about the heightened security, Spencer is stopped at the entrance to his section and must perform a voice print before he can go in. The computer grants him access after he says his name and title.
In the R version, as Maya is asked by Dr. Carone about more wounded coming, a line about this being a lecture is added, then the PG-13 version continues the conversation with Maya asking if the extra wounded should be diverted to a worse hospital. The R version switches back to Spencer asking Nelson if he was ever voice printed before and that this was the first for him. They have a conversation attributing it to the Chancellor's visit, and then the scene returns to Maya and the rest of her scene with Dr. Carone.
When they are first looking at the bomb Nelson has extra lines before Hathaway speaks.
While Hathaway is telling about Spencer's father being flayed alive, the R version shows quick shots of the father in a chair with his chest bloody. The PG-13 version shows shots of a young Spence instead.
Before Hathaway talks about intercepting an intelligence courier, the R version shows him using a knife, cutting Spencer's upper right arm and trying to get him to say "Ouch!" The PG-13 version only shows the cut itself later, a clear shot of it can be seen when Hathaway says that the Centauri language sounds like a boar on the make.
A more graphic scene of the U-bomb being removed from the first replicant.
When Spencer is pleading with Nelson to help he ends by saying "This monster is out of his fucking mind!"
A more graphic scene when he's shooting the guards in the elevator during his escape, showing the bullets impacting and the guards being knocked down.
When Spencer is imagining the guards coming down the tunnel towards him, some of the flash-back scene's he sees are of his father's bloody skin.
His escape through the zone is different, with the PG-13 version showing him running towards some stairs and then stopping to look back towards the domes, while the R version shows him climbing the stairs before ending up in that same place.
A scene prior to Hathaway talking to the Secretary of Defense where he's telling a soldier to get as many portable scanners as he can "find or steal", to wake up the "RMR team" and put them on standby, set up a comm link into the census bureau in "case they get a hit and we don't", ordering him to "turn off these fucking alarms", another soldier telling him he has a call from the Secretary of Defense, and replying with, "I'll bet you do".
The Secretary of Defense starting their conversation with the line, "You would think the ESA... the premier Special Op force of our military machine would be able to contain it in its own containment facility" before saying "So, the first question I have for you, Major, is..." The PG-13 version skips that earlier part then picks up at this point.
After Hathaway tells the Secretary of Defense about how you can tell it's a replicant after "you hear a big boom" the Secretary whispers "Don't fuck with me, Major." The PG-13 version has him speaking aloud, "Don't screw with me, Major."
When he first enters the old building by breaking a window (just after the little girl tells him he shouldn't be here), and he tries the faucet on the sink, we see someone watching him through a broken wall.
When a soldier complains that the building must have lead paint and he can't get good scans, in-between Hathaway saying to bring out the bigger scanner and the soldier saying they are draining 25 percent of dome power, there are several scenes showing the soldiers inside the building grabbing and herding people and tearing up and turning over furniture.
The words "by body mass" are missing when the soldier says the holdout running upstairs is a 78 percent probability.
On the rooftop scene, the R version has Spencer running to the roof, searching for a place to hide there, seeing the soldiers coming and then disappears. After the soldiers discover the little girl and head for the next building we see that Spencer had hidden at the top of the elevator. He then climbs back down and gets caught by the zoners. The PG-13 version has him never going to the roof, at all, and shows him being caught by the zoners before the soldiers find the little girl.
Longer scene in the zoner hospital showing the sick and all the full beds.
Longer fight scene in the zoner tunnel. Longer shot of Spencer getting choked from behind. Bullets shown entering and exiting one of the zoners.
Spencer has a longer anxiety attack when first entering Veteran's Plaza with Cale and sees Hathaway in more places, including a wheelchair, before he starts to run.
When he stops running, and before he collapses on the stairs, he has several more flashbacks that are more vivid, including some of his father's bloody body and his own arm being slashed by Hathaway from the earlier interrogation.
While watching the soldiers leave the Veteran's Hospital, Cale asks Spencer if the "proof" he's trying to get is for him or for them, and next they are shown going down a long set of outer stairs before climbing down the hospital's underground stairs.
At Med Dock South, longer shots of the injured being carried off the "bug" and some triage being performed.
A longer scene in the pharmacy with them stopping to listen to the soldiers return. While Cale is gathering the meds, Spencer gives himself an injection to flush the psycho drugs. The PG-13 version only shows him rolling his right sleeve back down.
Showing the intern plunge the knife into Cale twice during the attack in the scan room.
After Spencer applies a bandage to Cale's wound he tells him that he'll make it and to get out of here now. In the PG-13 version he doesn't speak while Cale backs out and leaves.
When Burke opens fire on the ward, multiple bullet impacts are clearly shown on two doctors.
Slightly longer scene when Spencer first walks around the crashed spaceship.
Several more shots of dead Maya in the craft and more detail of the bullet impacts when Hathaway and the soldiers shoot her.
Impostor was the first of 2002's futuristic thrillers (the other two being Minority Report and the Equilibrium) and it's also easily the weakest, which is no surprise when you consider this is essentially nothing more than a blown-up short film. Not surprisingly, critics were harsh on this one, and while many of the complaints are valid, Impostor is still a bit better than its reputation.
The film's concept, that of a seemingly normal man accused of being a replicant, is a fascinating one, but it's unfortunately drowned by director Gary Fleder's obsession with shaky camera movements and quick cuts. The script, written by a committee (or at least a group of people who had a hand in it), suffers from too many logical flaws to fully work as the cerebral sci-fi it obviously aspires to be. Most importantly, the question of identity and what it means to be human is never fully addressed and only touched upon briefly.
But flawed as the film is, the cast is solid, with Sinise delivering yet again another terrific performance, and the special effects are actually convincing (the cityscapes are genuinely awe-inspiring). The movie's fast pace ensures it's never dull and there are even a few exciting action sequences (most notably the hospital fight/chase). But best of all is the climactic plot twist, a no-holds barred surprise that boosts the film up a notch. As a whole, the movie is mostly middling, but there are enough inspired moments to make this an enjoyable viewing.
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