Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cinema Sunday - A Forgotten Science Fiction Classic -Impostor

Back in 2001, the movie Impostor came out & quietly disappeared into the video stores of the time. The film is billed as a quote action film but its not really. The story concerns an Earth at war with Alpha Centuri. This isn't a nice little war but a protracted siege style war. The government of Earth is part of a Totalitarian regime & living in a post interstellar war  Spoilers  from the video &  the Wiki article Read more about the plot Impostor
'The interrogation scene is so Goren...It's not a terrible movie, in fact I thought it was sort of decent. Perhaps it's not well liked because it's also not "mainstream scifi"

The movie has a post  blade runner feel to it & was originally intended as part of an anthology called Light years. But like good things it didn't come to pass & so we have Impostor on its own quietly doing its thing. The whole thing is based on the Philip K . Dick  story from 1953. There were a number of films that tried to adapt (rape) Dick's work but this one has some interesting bits. 
The opening gives us some insight into this world : 
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. Their goal was Earth. The ultimate land war, with no boundaries."

 The film rehearses the usual Dickish concerns, namely, a male protagonist’s loss of identity, confidence, and context in a dystopic SF future. Much like other Dick-flicks (Verhoeven’s Total Recall, Spielberg’s Minority Report)

Impostor & The OSR 

Major Spoilers 

Drune over at the Human Space Empires blog has talked about replicants right here "Feared throughout the Empire are the Veregy√°, Imperial secret police agents, answerable only to the Autocrator. Little is known of this sinister force but rumors of terror, torture, android assassins, gene shaped super spies, and mind-
snatching mentaliks may be heard on every world." Here  

Does it get more Dickian then that? Probably not when you've got Doppelgangers who truly believe themselves to be their target. Imagine throwing in living weapons like that into your D&D game.What happens when the wife of the king turns out to be one or the king himself unaware of his true purpose. 
 In a science fiction game these things are perfect for complex plot hooks involving a bit of politics with 
Ketyel, or Houses. Here we really get to see the Dune politic taking place. 
Imagine a race through a colony to stop an assassination plot from taking place. The interception of one of these things. The possibilities are endless really

Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120’ (40’)
Armor Class:  varies (4 vs. primitive weapons)
Hit Dice: 4
Attacks: 1
Damage: by weapon( See Diambrite rules in The Human Space rules for a simulation of the small organic nuclear bomb)
Morale: 7
The replicants are perfect copies of humans complete with memories--they do not know that they are a replicant--and carry within their chests a small organic nuclear bomb. 

The World 

The world of Impostor is perfect for any colony world with a Dickian Totalitarianistic streak of government.  The CGI-generated post-Metropolis, post-Blade Runner hypermodern city-scape; the scarred 'Zone' inhabited only by a brutalised underclass (including amongst their number, of course, one street-tough-but-still-scared cute little girl). Its all there to be cherry picked to be used as a quick backdrop for a one shot style adventure. Then you can roll it back into your note book again. 
   The soundtrack is excellent as well for setting the stage if you can find it. I got mine in a bargin bin at Walmart one day. Be warned though this isn't a happy shiny Star Trek future but a Blade Runner future & it can be a bit depressing. Happy Adventuring! 

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