Set in a futuristic world where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots, a cop is forced to leave his home for the first time in years in order to investigate the murders of others' surrogates.
An aging alcoholic cop is assigned the task of escorting a witness from police custody to a courthouse 16 blocks away. There are, however, chaotic forces at work that prevent them from making it in one piece.
People are living their lives remotely from the safety of their own homes via robotic surrogates -- sexy, physically perfect mechanical representations of themselves. It's an ideal world where crime, pain, fear and consequences don't exist. When the first murder in years jolts this utopia, FBI agent Greer discovers a vast conspiracy behind the surrogate phenomenon and must abandon his own surrogate, risking his life to unravel the mystery. Written by
The weapon appears to be based on an ozone generator -- with a bunch of added parts to make it look more exotic and weapon-like. See more »
When Tom Greer is talking to Lionel Canter's young man surrogate in the back of the limo, the surrogate's hair changes dramatically within seconds. Tom Greer looks away for a second and when he looks back the surrogate's hair changes from in place and shorter to longer, shaggy and in his eyes. See more »
Look at yourselves. Unplug from your chairs, get up and look in the mirror. What you see is how God made you. We're not meant to experience the world through a machine.
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As with most films, the trailer made this look like it would be something good an action movie with an interesting sci-fi concept behind the world created for us. For this reason I was a bit surprised to see the "finishing time" of the film being listed as barely 90 minutes after the start time because I thought it would be hard to do all the things that the trailer proposed in such a comparatively short time. Leaving the film at the end, I found it easily fitted into the 90 minute time period and sadly it achieved this by not actually doing a great deal that I had hoped it would. The plot sees us in a world where the majority of humans live their lives from the comfort of their homes, experiencing life through the android clones (surrogates). Although pockets of humanity have banded together to resist this, generally they are seen as weirdos rather than having any sort of point. Due to the surrogates, accidental death has been nearly eliminated while crime is at an all-time low. However when the destruction of a surrogate leads to the death of the user, Detective Tom Greer is assigned to the case a case that becomes even more high profile when the victim turns out to be the son of the creator of the surrogacy system.
The potential is there in the plot and the various things they put in around it (Tom's marriage, the loss of a child etc) but it doesn't really deliver on much of it. The subject matter isn't really that thought provoking, partly because it doesn't hold out a lot for consideration by the viewer but partly because the film doesn't even seem happy with its own world creation. The whole idea is full of holes to the point that the film can't hide them or distract from them for very long and you get the sense that it is rushing a bit before it all runs out through its cupped hands. This is a shame because it niggles the whole way through and becomes worse whenever we see what surrogates can do (their speed, strength etc) because you wonder why the world looks the same as it does when full of "normal" people. Outside of this though it is still an action film of sorts so one hopes for thrills of that side.
Unfortunately this doesn't really spark either. The running/jumping effects are not perfect and the scale of some of the action sequences means that some come over as being remote and not engaging or thrilling a bit like watching someone else playing an video game that you don't really care about. It isn't bad though the effects do still work, the action is still noisy and the plot is decent enough to at least not irritate but that is the sort of level of film we're dealing with, one where my "praise" of it includes me saying its not too irritating! The performances sort of match the patchwork feel to the world and the film it doesn't seem to be sure of itself and neither are they. Willis does his best (despite the wig etc he has to wear) but doesn't manage to balance the action with the character stuff and, thanks to the material, doesn't really deliver on either. Mitchell is so-so, as is Pike, while Cromwell essentially dials in a character he has sort of played before (but it made sense in other films) and Rhames is just plain odd.
Surrogates is not an awful film but it is a distinctly average one thanks to the amount of things it half does. Whether it is the action, the substance, the effects, the performances or whatever, it all appears to be "OK" but never pushing for more than that. Improved focus, a stronger script and a longer running time could have made this a better film but ultimately it was just average.
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