Christian Bale/Christopher Walken/Sean Bean: 8 Action Movies [2 Discs] [DVD]
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This long-delayed science fiction thriller from director Gary Fleder was actually filmed prior to his box-office hit Don't Say a Word (2001), which preceded it in theaters by several months. Based on a 1953 short story by Philip K. Dick, the film shares that schizophrenic author's long-running obsessions with concealed identity and humanity's potential inferiority to alternative life forms. Gary Sinise stars as Spencer John Olham, a respected government scientist in the year 2079 trying to devise a secret weapon that will help his fellow humans win a decade-long war with invading aliens that are cloning human subjects and using the replicas as walking time bombs. Suddenly, Olham is accused of being an alien spy and a nationwide manhunt to capture him ensues. With even his doctor wife (Madeleine Stowe) unsure that she can trust him, Olham must uncover the truth on his own, even as he's relentlessly pursued by Hathaway (Vincent D'Onofrio), a federal agent charged with destroying the clones. Imposter has a complicated history, originally produced in early 2000 as a 30-minute short to be included in an anthology entitled "The Light Years Trilogy," a project that never got off the ground. So impressed was Dimension Films with the completed piece, however, that the footage was incorporated into a new feature version. That film was then shuffled around the release schedule for more than a year as effects were completed, reshoots were ordered, and the film was recut for a PG-13 rating instead of its original R. The R-rated "director's cut" was later released on DVD. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi
Appointment With Destiny: The Last Days of John Dillinger
A former high-school hockey star handicapped in a tragic car accident becomes an unlikely ally to a crack team of determined bank robbers in this thriller starring Jeff Daniels and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. When his promising career on the ice is suddenly cut short, former athlete Chris Pratt (Gordon-Levitt) goes to work as a janitor in a local bank. Cleaning floors soon gives way to criminal enterprise when the onetime puck-slinger is recruited to help clean out the very bank that employs him. Screenwriter Scott Frank (Out of Sight and Minority Report) makes his directorial debut, working from his own original screenplay. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
With the whimsical tagline "Jack Deth is back and he's never been here before," director Charles Band melds Blade Runner, The Terminator, and Jingle All the Way for this low-budget science fiction adventure. The story takes place in Angel City in the year 2247, when enforcer Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) has just retired from the weekly grind after vanquishing villain Martin Whistler (Michael Stefani) and his roving cohorts, called "trancers." But Whistler and his trancers have gone back to Christmas 1985, with the insidious plan of exterminating the ruling council by killing off all the council members' ancestors. So Deth agrees to go back in time to get Whistler and the trancers all over again. To do so, he must transfer his memory into the body of one of his ancestors, who in this case has just had an erotic interlude with the perky and attractive Leena (Helen Hunt), who works as a Santa's elf at a shopping mall and gets to wear a skimpy, tight-fitting elf suit. Deth discovers that Whistler has taken over the body of the police inspector and has started transforming the Los Angeles population into trancers --including Santa Claus. With Leena's help, Deth sets out to even the score. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi
A man who dares to feel finds his life in danger in this cautionary science fiction drama. In the future, after a Third World War has decimated much of the Earth's population, a new nation known as Libria rises up under the unquestioned leadership of Dupont (Angus MacFadyen). Believing human emotions and their expression were to blame for the failings of past societies, The Father has decreed that all citizens must take a daily dose of Prozia II, a drug which levels out the emotional landscape, and that all forms of creative expression are against the law; violating either regulation can be punished by death. John Preston (Christian Bale) is a Grammaton, an elite law enforcement officer who tracks down and punishes "sense offenders." One day, Preston accidentally fails to take his Prozia II, and for the first time begins experiencing emotions himself. Preston becomes aware of an underground of rebels who refuse to take their medication and have embraced art and literature, and he finds himself becoming infatuated with one of their number, Mary O'Brian (Emily Watson). Equilibrium is the second feature-length directorial effort from Kurt Wimmer, whose screenwriting credits include The Thomas Crown Affair and Sphere. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
The directorial debut from Highlander screenwriter Gregory Widen stars Christopher Walken as the angel Gabriel, who, fed up with God giving all of his attention to humans, decides to stage a sort of coup. With plans of killing all of the good angels, Gabriel decides to enlist the help of a recently deceased and inhumanly malevolent army general. In order to prevent Gabriel from obtaining the help of the vicious Korean War vet, good angel Simon (Eric Stoltz) stashes the general's soul in an unsuspecting young Native American girl named Mary (Moriah Snyder). As Gabriel gets closer to finding Mary, an ex-seminary-student-turned-cop and a school teacher, played by Elias Koteas and Virginia Madsen, team together to protect her. Meanwhile, Satan (Viggo Mortensen) enters into the mix, concerned over the implications the heavenly war may have on his dominion. Later spawning a series of sequels, The Prophecy was released in the U.K. under the title God's Army. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi
Jerry and Tom
Actor Saul Rubinek made his directorial debut with this crime comedy adapted by Rick Cleveland and from his own 1994 one-act play. Hit man Tom (Joe Mantegna) and his apprentice Jerry (Sam Rockwell), wait in a deserted Chicago bar for the phone-call command to execute the hooded Stanley (Peter Riegert), sitting before them in a chair. To pass the time, Stanley tells a few jokes. Background is established as they make various hits before returning to the situation seen in the opening. The film features highly unusual visual transitions from one setting to another. Shown at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi
Action and comedy are served in equal portions in this Australian crime thriller. Jimmy (Heath Ledger) is a 19-year-old living in Sydney who is somehow asked to run an errand for local underworld kingpin Pando (Bryan Brown). Before Jimmy knows what's happened, he owes Pando $10,000, and finds the gangster's muscle men are out for his blood. Jimmy attempts to stage a bank robbery to recover the loot, with disastrous results; when he has a spare moment, he tries to win the heart of Alex (Rose Byrne), a pretty girl from the country. This slam-bang entertainment was an uncharacteristic entry in the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, where it received its U.S. premiere. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi