Fifteen years ago, Val Kilmer was Batman, and costarred in Michael Mann’s Heat, one of the decade’s top crime dramas. This is worth pointing out because of the nature of work that Kilmer is now doing, which seems to consist solely of supporting roles and bit parts in films for somewhat wonked-out directors (Oliver Stone, Tony Scott, Werner Herzog), and lead roles in fairly undemanding dramas and thrillers — movies that as often as not seem to be cobbled together as some sort of tax shelter for Eastern European businessmen. (I didn’t see his turn as Moses in The Ten Commandments: The Musical, alas.) Decidedly of the latter category, Double Identity has an utterly anonymous title that can’t hold a candle to the strange name of its director (that would be Dennis Dimster-Denk). It also, somewhat unsurprisingly, has a rather silly plot and haphazard execution.
Kilmer stars as Dr. Nicholas Pinter, a physician working for Doctors Beyond Borders who is mistakenly identified as a secret agent by the Russian mafia. After a brush with death and a violent pursuit by a couple of ham-headed thugs, Nicholas is rescued by the British Secret Service and the mysterious and beautiful Katrine (Izabella Miko). The requisite “deadly web of murder of lies” ensues, don’tcha know.
Working from a screenplay co-written by Dimster-Denk and Zvia Dimbort (never thought I’d type that combination), Double Identity (original title… Fake Identity!) unfolds as a sort of wearyingly unselfconscious cross between your standard late-’80s-era straight-to-video actioner (goateed henchmen unloading clips from automatic weapons, while occasionally making accidental eye contact with camera) and a bloated version of NBC’s Chuck. Dimster-Denk doesn’t seem to have much experience filming and cutting together action, and his editing choices only underline the somewhat threadbare production value. Kilmer, meanwhile, floats through this thing pretty much on autopilot; if one was expecting a fascinatingly bewildered and panicky iteration of Gay Perry or, I don’t know, Doc Holliday, this isn’t it. He isn’t particularly believable as either a doctor or someone coming to terms with the crazy new circumstances into which he is thrust.
Housed in a regular plastic Amaray case, Double Identity comes to DVD presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, with an English language Dolby digital 5.1 surround sound audio track, and optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles. Apart from a gallery of preview trailers for other First Look home video releases, there are unfortunately no supplemental extras — not even a small clutch of EPK-style on-set interviews, or a chat with Dimster-Denk about how the hell he got that name. To purchase the DVD via Amazon, click here. D+ (Movie) D- (Disc)