Despite its incessantly percussive music, this disappointing Cold War espionage thriller dilutes all tension and suspense far too early in the hunt for a Soviet-era assassin who has resurfaced to slit the throat of a United States Senator. That premeditated murder, utilizing a watch and a wire, cues the CIA that the hit squad, known as ‘The Cassius 7,’ has resurfaced, or at least the notoriously shadowy Russian mastermind who led them. The Cassius 7 name came from the number of Roman senators who assassinated Caesar.
The Agency supervisor, Tom Highland (Martin Sheen), summons back-into-action a retired, world-weary operative Paul Sheperdson (Richard Gere) who insists that he shot the prime suspect in the chest and killed him several years ago. An enigmatic loner, Sheperdson is reluctantly paired with an eager, young FBI agent Ben Geary (Topher Grace), who had extensively researched the Cassius 7, making it the basis of his Master’s thesis when he was at Harvard.
“I feel like I know you,” the rookie tells the veteran sleuth.
“You don’t!” grimly replies Sheperdson. “You’re a librarian.”
Not only that – but Geary’s got a wife and family, whom Sheperdson duly warns to back off the case.
Co-writer Derek Haas and first-time director Michael Brandt, who together co-wrote “Wanted” and “3:10 to Yuma,” deliver a generic, formulaic, cloak-and-dagger spy hunt, making far too much of the adversarial generational differences. So don’t blame squinty-eyed Richard Gere or hotshot Topher Grace for the utter dullness of this debacle.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Double” is a fumbling 4, misjudging its revelations and overestimating their impact.