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surrogates_smallposterStarring: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, Boris Kodjoe and James Francis Ginty

Directed by: Jonathan Mostow

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, disturbing images, language, sexuality and a drug-related scene.

Genre: Action/Adventure, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Thriller and Adaptation

Release Date:  September 2009

By John Delia

Well they did it again, the movie industry jumped to a level beyond science fiction with Surrogates.  It’s called unrealistic.  When you make an unrealistic film, you expect the audience to get suckered into a plot so unbelievable that their fantasy brain buds take over and accept what they are watching.  Well you could have fooled me here, but NOT! Teens and Bruce Willis fans will probably have a great time with this average film.

FBI Agent Grier

FBI Agent Grier

The movie goes something like this. People are living their lives remotely from the safety of their own homes via robotic surrogates — sexy, physically perfect mechanical representations of themselves (Hmm Ok, do I really get to have sex, breathe fresh air and does the ice cream taste delicious?). It’s an ideal world where crime, pain, fear and consequences don’t exist. (Well, that’s sounds great do I have unlimited dollars to spend or do I just walk into a bank and walk out with the loot?) When the first murder in years jolts this utopia, FBI agent Greer (Willis) discovers a vast conspiracy behind the surrogate phenomenon and must abandon his own surrogate, risking his life to unravel the mystery.

Pike as Maggie Greer Surrogate in production

Pike as Maggie Greer Surrogate in production

In a world of surrogates hardly a crime has been committed because those controlling their alter lives are free to lie down on a special bed and just visualize what they want their surrogate to do.  How absurd and boring can that be?  The film depicts millions of robots working, playing, and controlling the police and government but for what purpose?  It’s not realistic and that’s where the film fails.  It would have been a great idea if only a few had surrogates, but that’s another script called I Robot.

I like Bruce Willis’s acting and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie where he had a bad performance and in Surrogates he continued the streak for me.  Making his character tough, relentless and his surrogate vigilant and manipulative, Willis dominates the screen.  So what else is wrong with the movie?  With robots it’s hard to feel anything for them so you loose any empathy for the heroes.  It’s like watching radio controlled cars, airplanes and action figures on a huge screen.  The only emotion comes from side stories that affect the manipulators of the surrogates, and there isn’t enough to want me to like the film’s protagonists.

Willis as Greer surrogate

Willis as Greer surrogate

The special effects and make up involving the surrogates is quite special.  It was fun watching a young Bruce Willis with a head of blonde hair and smooth hairless skin on his face.  Wow, right out of Photoshop to the big screen. And how much can you do to make Radha Mitchell and Rosamund Pike more gorgeous than they already are? Oh, you make their non-surrogate bodies more ordinary and that was a great make-up accomplishment as well.

The film is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, disturbing images, language, sexuality and a drug-related scene so if you feel your children should not see the film they may save some money.

FINAL ANALYSIS: It’s an average film but Bruce Willis’s performance is worth watching. (3 of 5 Palm Trees)

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