Val Kilmer. What happened? I used to love any performance from Val Kilmer. In fact, I still do. That’s what makes it harder to see him stuck, apparently, in a world of lesser fare destined for release straight to DVD here in the UK.
In this movie Kilmer plays an American doctor who finds himself being mistaken for a government agent. This puts him in great danger and it quickly becomes clear that his life is on the line – people with guns keep chasing him, a friend is murdered, etc. When an actual government agency approaches him with an offer he has very little choice but to accept, putting him back in harm’s way but allowing him the chance to get closer to the beautiful Katrine (Izabella Miko).
Double Identity isn’t bad. There were a few moments here and there that were almost genuinely thrilling and enjoyable. The movie plays out like an updated homage to North By Northwest and benefits immensely from Kilmer in the lead role.
Where it starts to fall down is in it’s supporting cast and the way in which it seems to revolve around a big plot point that the audience really couldn’t give two hoots about. Izabella Miko is pretty enough to hold your attention (if, like me, you’re a guy) but Hristo Shopov isn’t ever menacing enough as the obvious baddie of the piece. Julian Wadham does a bit better as the smiling yet threatening agent Sterling. And everyone else tries to hit their mark and do what they’re told – nothing beyond that, I’m afraid.
Director Dennis Dimster, who co-wrote the screenplay with Zvia Dimbort, doesn’t do enough to draw audiences into the intrigue and to keep interest levels up but he does stage a couple of set-pieces quite well (one with Kilmer’s character forced to dig his own grave and the other being a big play at the end of the film).
It’s worth noting that fans of Val Kilmer may need reminding that this is not the same svelte, cocky young man of years gone by. The physical agility of his character is undermined by the fact that the actor now looks, sadly, bloated and out of shape. He could never play The Saint in this condition and while he’s on form mentally I’d have to say that this is no Spartan (a great little film that I recommend to all) either.
Double Identity is released on DVD in the UK on 16th May 2011 and I’d imagine that bargain hunters would be able to find it for even less than the RRP of £9.99.
DIRECTOR: DENNIS DIMSTER
STARS: VAL KILMER, IZABELLA MIKO, JULIAN WADHAM, HRISTO SHOPOV
RUNTIME: 100 MINS APPROX