Double Identity (Dennis Dimster, 2009)
Val Kilmer was once one of Hollywood’s most bankable names, appearing in what seemed to be every blockbuster that came out of Hollywood in the late eighties and early nineties, from Top Gun to Heat to Tombstone and everything in between. But somewhere along the way, something happened, and Kilmer started taking roles that are, shall we say, a little less Hollywood and a little more, well, Moscow Zero and The Thaw and Double Identity. And I will admit, I defended the middle of those.
Plot: Kilmer plays an American doctor who’s part of a Doctors Without Borders-style organization, going wherever his talents are needed. This often takes him behind what was at one point the iron curtain; his travels start getting noticed by certain government forces, and he ends up being misaken for a famous Eastern Bloc spy after getting caught in the middle of a nasty firefight where he helps a beautiful young woman (Coyote Ugly‘s Izabella Miko) escape a hail of bullets. Cue generic thriller.
To be fair, it’s not a bad little film; unlike a number of actors whose career has gone to the dogs, requiring them to take roles like this, Kilmer still has a full set of acting chops, and Miko stands up to him just fine most of the time. One more rewrite with an eye towards originality, or even memorability, would have done this movie an excellent turn. As it stands, though, you will likely have forgotten a great deal about it within ten minutes of it ending. There is nothing of substance here, and that is to the movie’s great detriment. **