Do you remember when Richard Gere seemed to give a damned about his roles? Of late, it seems he take roles that could have some teeth and proceeds to make them duller than dull by sleepwalking through them. Remember "Nights in Rodanthe"? How about "Brooklyn's Finest" and "Amelia"? Gere hasn't been interesting since "Chicago"!


Now he takes on the role of Paul Shepherdson, a retired CIA agent who is brought out of retirement to yelp track down his arch enemy - a brutal Russian agent code named Cassius.


Cassius was/is a member of Russian assassins whom Sheperdson disbursed back in 1989. According to his agent reports Cassius is gone, but according to his boss (Martin Sheen) the murder of a US Senator looks like the work of Cassius.

Sheen playing Tom Highland is Gere's former boss and wants him to team up with a really gong-ho FBI agent named Ben Geary (Topher Grace) who is an expert on Cassius - mainly from Sheperdson's case work. He wrote his masters thesis on Cassius but has no field experience.


But there are several things that look like can help pin-point where Cassius is and, more importantly, who he is. One is a former fellow comrade, Brutus, who is now in prison and willing to talk. But after a brief talk with Sheperdson and Geary in prison, Sheperdson returns and kills him ala Cassius style.


However, Geary is way off course and pursuing other leads that maybe putting his life, as well as the lives of his young family, at risk. Sheperdson tries in vane to beg him off the case to no avail.


But the clues seem to go no where. During the first string of assassination many years ago, there was a certain pattern; a connection. But ever since the murders have been random all the way up to and including the Senator. The only link is the way the murders were committed.

Could there be two Cassius'? Or is there a copycat?


There's not much suspense as we are merely waiting to see if Geary gets killed - or maybe his young wife.


That probably would have made for a more interesting film as this story drags along at a pace that makes it seem longer than its one hour thirty minute actual time.


Much like "Brooklyn's Finest", Gere just doesn't come off well as a tough guy. He's an aging pretty boy with very few viable scripts. Like Robert Redford - who has only played soft tough guys - Gere should avoid scenes that involve close quarter combat. He isn't believable; not in any stretch of the imagination. He doesn't have the gritty persona of a Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, or [late] Burt Lancaster to pull it off. Thus, much like in "Brooklyn's Finest" he becomes the week link. Worse yet, it doesn't seem like he cares.


Michael Brandt and Derek Haas go from a team of successful screen writers ("2 Fast 2 Furious", "3:10 to Yuma" and "Wanted") to their first producer/director gig. This will be a bitter learning pill for them to swallow.


"The Double" is a slow moving non-thriller with a cast that could care less about acting and seemingly more about getting paid for something.   -- GEOFF BURTON