Surrogates (2009)
Surrogates (2009)

Genre: Sci-Fi Adventure Running Time: 1 hr. 29 min.

Release Date: September 25th, 2009 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Jonathan Mostow Actors: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, Boris Kodjoe, James Francis Ginty, James Cromwell, Ving Rhames, Helena Mattsson

 


 

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rovided that viewers are fairly willing subjects for the suspension of disbelief, “Surrogates works,” for the most part, throughout its relatively short duration. Sadly, as soon as the lights go up (even sooner for firm advocates of reality) a flood of questions begins to pick the story and its prophetic premise apart. A future where technology has advanced so far that nearly everyone has sacrificed their humanity and physical interaction for virtual reality and the use of perfect human duplicates is certainly not a dull setting. But why are people still driving around beat-up old cars? This query and many more weaken the innovation of the creation on display, while a “saw-it-coming-from-a-mile-away” conspiracy angle doesn’t help much either. At least, in this world full of plastic humans, the majority of the actors fit right in.

In the future, computer and robotics technology has progressed so far that humans can live out their lives and fantasies through the safety of android “surrogates.” But the supposedly risk-free robots become deadly when FBI agents Tom Greer (Bruce Willis) and Jennifer Peters (Radha Mitchell) discover a weapon that can kill human users through their surrogates. After the son of prominent scientist and surrogate creator Lionel Canter (James Cromwell) is murdered, the two agents must track down a mysterious killer and stop a devious mastermind from executing a plan that could destroy their world forever.

It’s an invasion of the inhuman, a revolution of doppelgangers, an army of body snatchers. It’s like playing inside of a video game, or plugging into “The Matrix,” where all of the senses can be used to their fullest extent, all while the “operator” is in the safety of a cushy bed. But it’s also like “The Island,” “I, Robot,” “The Stepford Wives,” “Minority Report,” “Terminator,” (and even “Coraline”) and almost every science-fiction film in the last decade, haphazardly blended together. The idea is creepy, freaky, thought-provoking, and definitely interesting, riddled with imminent disaster, conspiracies, and murder. But with a short runtime and entirely too much to define, “Surrogates” suffers from a neat and tidy conclusion that cheats the complexity of the setting.

Very early on, when Greer admits that every perfectly proportioned surrogate is probably just a fat guy lounging around in a bathrobe, inappropriately exposed, it’s clear that the writers aren’t trying to hide the silliness of the concepts their world is based upon. Who knew that such heavy science-fiction themes could be so purposefully comical? Usually, these films try incredibly hard to convince the audience that the ideas are plausible, or at the very least, sincere. The unintentional humor is usually unstoppable, but in “Surrogates,” for a few fleeting scenes it is wholeheartedly embraced. Apparently, even in a world of fake people, Bruce Willis can still keep it real.

– The Massie Twins

  • 5/10