Surrogates (2009) Poster

(2009)

User Reviews

Review this title
193 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
9/10
A Metaphor for the Present
scottwallvashon27 September 2009
The important thing to understand about this film is that it is not a prediction of something that is likely to happen. Rather, it is a metaphor for something that has already happened.

Television was the earliest foray into this phenomenon. How many of us form a significant portion of our impression of the world based on what we see through this artificial sense organ? With television, we are all 5% closer to the creature depicted in Surrogates. As I sit here at my computer writing from this remote location, I am 10% of the creature depicted in this film. When I get on a discussion forum with an avatar that represents my impression of myself or possibly the impression of myself that I wish to project, I am 20% of the creature depicted in this film.

I have begun to teach an online class. My students, instead of seeing me as a living flesh and blood person, now see me as an intellectual engine that they may visualize in any number of ways. I have the option of posting a picture, but have not gotten around to that yet. I now do part of my work from a safe remote location—as an abstract disembodied entity.

After leaving the theater, I had an overwhelming urge to spend more time with my dogs. They are very physical and can never relate to the concept I herein discuss. Actually I had a new insight into their possible impression of all the time I spend watching television: "Stop staring into the scrambly box and pay attention to us. Snap out of it!"
50 out of 56 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Better than some reviews suggest
ajasys2 January 2010
I see many reviews here that denigrate the film, and a few that celebrate it. I believe it deserves neither fulsome praise nor vitriol, as it is a somewhat better than average film betrayed by bad choices.

I'll keep this short: The concept is decent, the execution is mediocre, the result is that I give it 7 out of 10 stars.

I would have graded this far higher had the creators spent more time making several of the characters more human (which is funny, given that "humanity" as compared to a more machine-like existence is a core concept of the screenplay), but they didn't. The only character in the film who achieves anything like true humanity is Bruce Willis', and this occurs only because the plot requires it.

When a film's construction and leverage depend on the very definition of humanity as it's core concept, leaving the humanity of most of the characters behind is something more than stupid -- it cripples the film.

This doesn't mean the film is unwatchable; it has enough elements of action, pathos, suspense & revenge to make it worth your time throughout.

But it could have been so much better, if not for so many poor choices.
44 out of 50 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
A sci-fi concept well examined despite predictable story patterns
Movie_Muse_Reviews17 May 2010
With the number of mainstream movies centered around a future human dependency on robots, it would be incredibly stupid if we actually let that happen. "Surrogates" is the latest of these concepts and surprisingly one of the more well thought-out ones. Based on the graphic novel by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele, "Surrogates" imagines a world where humans interact with the world solely through robot versions of themselves called surrogates. They don't have to leave their homes and are impervious to danger.

Writers Michael Ferris and John D. Brancato, who previously collaborated with director Jonathan Mostow on "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" and sadly also wrote the Halle Berry "Catwoman," do their best work with this script, which is of course not saying much. The positive here is that they truly embrace and explored the possibilities of a word where people don't interact with people -- just the robot versions of themselves. It's the saving grace of the film.

Bruce Willis stars as a homicide detective assigned to the very first case on record where the actual human operator of a surrogate died when the surrogate was killed. With nearly all of the planet using surrogates, any knowledge of danger would throw the world into panic. Willis -- Det. Greer -- must track down the weapon that did the damage. When his surrogate is destroyed, Greer begins to re-examine life through non-virtual eyes.

Without question, however, the concept and the setting are far more clever than the script. Ironically like robots, when you boil down the exterior of "Surrogates," it's composed of overused clichés and recycled components of Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick stories. The simple premise and thoroughly conceived world of "Surrogates" manages to override some lousy story lines and character development, but I'm not sure that most viewers who come to "Surrogates" looking for more action and less high-concept science fiction will be able to say the same.

The subplots and back stories given to Greer and other characters are throw-away. At 89 minutes long, "Surrogates" offers just enough in terms of story development to be a glorified TV detective show set in the future. The twists are foreseeable and the character motivations barely scratched at, but it keeps your attention and stays focused enough on the central story that you never have to actually dwell on the more hollow elements of the film. The venerable James Cromwell, who plays the disgruntled inventor of surrogates, has never looked more shallow in a role, but it's hardly of any consequence.

Sci-fi epiphany? None here, but a well-calculated exploration of a possible new technology - - yes. "Surrogates" is not mindless fun, but it's not artistic science fiction perfected to a tee either. It does just enough to intrigue the future-curious mind with a different cut from the same robot mold.

~Steven C

Visit my site moviemusereviews.com
38 out of 43 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Surrogacy is a perversion. It's an addiction. And you have to kill the addict to kill the addiction.
hitchcockthelegend31 January 2014
I first viewed Surrogates upon its home format release and positively found it very ordinary. Viewing it again, with focus and in solitude, it proved to be a far better experience.

The action scenes are what you would expect for a multi-plex appeasing popcorner, loud, colourful and owing great debt to modern technology. Yet to dismiss this totally as one of those easy money making blockbuster movies is most unfair.

Surrogates oozes intrigue, even if it doesn't quite deliver on the smartness written on the page. The idea that in the future robotic alter egos can carry out our everyday mundane functions is cracker-jack, and it opens up a whole can of berserker worms.

This is not merely an excuse to have Bruce Willis running around exploding surrogate robots, as much fun as that is of course, there's a deeper emotional core pulsing away as Willis fights the good fight to make sure being human is not cast aside like a thing of the past, that as flawed as we are, hiding away in a surrogate is not the answer.

This axis of the story is beautifully realised by the plot strand involving Willis and Rosamund Pike as his wife, with both actors doing fine work to give it the required emotional heft. It may ultimately lose itself to a standard conspiracy plot, but there's intelligence within to make Surrogates a better film than it first appears. 7/10
22 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Basically entertaining
ToddWebb26 September 2009
It's a great concept. In the future, the Sims style online gaming, where people live vicariously through characters, has evolved to living out real-life, in the real world, via surrogate robots. Everybody stays home all the time, 24/7. They work, play and travel via their surrogates, from the comfort of their home.

I'm not spoiling anything here -- this all happens in the first 5 minutes. The result of this new era of existence is the dramatic drop in violent crimes, sexually transmitted diseases, death by accident, etc.

Well, it's a great concept. And the CGI is good. Because of the plot, every character is insanely pretty, so the screen is filled with beautiful people.

But... it just... doesn't... quite... gel. The whole thing feels like a cool episode of Star Trek, or something on TV. The story is not riveting. I didn't really care about the characters. The timing was off; things either came too late (I was bored, expecting them) or so fast I couldn't really appreciate.

Surrogates lacks that wow-factor.

Example of bad timing: At the start, one wonders, "What do the users really look like? Anything like like their surrogate robots?" I would expect that, at first, we see Bruce Willis, just some facial hair which his robot doesn't have. Then, eventually, we see that he is older than his robot, so he's "cheating" on age too. Even later still, maybe we'd see an obese person at home posing as an athlete via a surrogate which looks nothing like him. Well, "Surrogates" skips all that build up and goes straight for the punchline: within 10 minutes we see a hot chick robot making with a young man; turns out the hot chick is actually slovenly a middle-aged man. Any twists to come later, in this variety, loses all punch.

Worth a rental.
154 out of 200 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Good Sci Fi concept and a mostly satisfying detective thriller
theycallmemrglass2 January 2010
Although this movie boasts a great Sci-Fi concept, there are a couple of elements in the setting that is just too flawed even for science fiction. I'll come to those flaws shortly.

Having accepted the implausible environment, i.e., a world where 98% of humankind stay at home with their minds plugged into their surrogate robots that they live their life through, the rest of the plot is pretty damn riveting. The mood of the film is more akin to Minority Report and certainly feels like a Philip K Dick narrative. The future depiction is not overly futuristic in technology other than the Surrogates themselves so don't expect a big budget effects ridden movie. Having said that, the Surrogates robotic power makes for a couple of excellent action scenes comparable with the Will Smith vehicle "I, Robot".

But as usual, it is the awesome Bruce Willis who carries the movie both as surrogate (a disturbingly young look with a frightening wig!) and in human form. Thank god he carries it though because there are hardly any significant supporting characters in the story as it focuses on him most of the time as he investigates a rise in rare human murders. There is just something re-assuring about watching him on screen, regardless of the film quality. Going into the 4th decade since Die Hard, he is still in my view a bona-fide movie star.

I said there were flaws in the whole concept. Well, I find it impossible to even speculate the possibility that 98% of humankind will love sitting at home plugging their minds into a surrogate robot that they can live their lives through and let their natural bodies wither away with no exercise or self esteem. It seems they prefer to have sex as robots, and flirt with young women surrogates who may be controlled by an old man or...well you get the gist. The appeal is supposed to be a 99% reduction in crime rate where accidents or crimes against a surrogate does not affect the human host. That concept is too flawed even for science fiction. What is stopping a surrogate from burgling a house killing its human owner for example? I don't knock the concept of surrogates itself, its an excellent one but I don't buy the social environment.

All in all this was a very very decent entry in the intelligent Sci-Fi movie library. Despite my gripes I enjoyed it and I expect most Sci-Fi lovers will too.
22 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
In the Eyes of the Beholder
Cineanalyst21 October 2020
Sometimes I'm confounded by how others see movies. Take "Surrogates," with its 37% RottenTomatoes score and criticisms of action-flick banality and stupid robot stuff. Indeed, the picture's introduction during the credits explaining the entire scenario as a political thriller was unnecessary and misguided, and if one accepts it on that level, it makes some sense that they'd be disappointed. What I enjoy about it, however, is that it's about spectatorship--about gazing upon movies. Characters see the world through virtual-reality headsets to identify with their robotic avatars much as we follow figures on the screen in dark movie theatres or alone in our bedrooms. Moreover, these robots are the actors' doubles just as film is but a representation of recorded people and not their actual presence. Initially, the only "meatbag" in the surrogates' world, as opposed to the reservations for the hold-outs who prefer living in their own skin, is the guy watching the surveillance monitors tracking the goings-on of the surrogates. He's our on-screen surrogate, even as we largely identify with and follow the protagonist played by Bruce Willis--especially when even our on-screen surrogate spectator, like us, is physically powerless to affect the proceedings. Even the noir-ish, detective mystery is over the murder of people through their eyes, and the love story is about the desire to see the woman inside and not the superficial shell she inhabits--in a way a repudiation of the so-called "male gaze."

The acting isn't bad, either. There are quite a bit of little mannerisms added to suggest their second bodies' artificiality, along with the costume and production design. Willis and Rosamund Pike each have exceptionally expressive eyes. The visual effects have a hyper-realistic aspect to them that works well for the overall artificiality of the endeavor, and I even like the sense of weight when the surrogates land from leaping about. Sure, it's not perfect. Besides the opening credits, the implementation of Dutch angles seems rather haphazard. There doesn't seem to be much of anything to make of white characters possessing black-skinned surrogates, or of the transgendered potential of inhabiting any sex, and I think it's unfortunate that they have reservations for the humanity that is uprooted from their way of living, but the movie doesn't prominently cast any Native Americans. But, then again, viewing "Surrogates" as a reflection of reality I think is to miss seeing its fantastical potential as a sci-fi mediation between the screen and the spectator.
7 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Average
bob the moo9 December 2009
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.
65 out of 89 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
a fine performance by Bruce Willis
StarkTech10 October 2009
Finally saw this and I'm with the majority here... a solid 7/10 film.

This surprisingly compelling sci-fi film takes a while to set up its universe but delivers down the stretch. It's borderline whether they establish enough credibility so as to invest real emotion in to the characters and buy in to the premise. If you allow yourself to buy in to the bizarre concept of living life through android duplicates, then the film works on a few levels. It's somewhat weak on certain of those levels but raises interesting questions concerning the level of our technological dependency as we live our lives. The emotional aspect of this movie plays better thanks to a fine performance by Bruce Willis. His character's journey through this bizarre world is obviously the heart of the film and it's written and portrayed very well.
43 out of 57 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Excellent Sci-Fi Flick with Great Action Sequences
J_Trex28 September 2009
This film was an interesting twist on the robot as human concept, with a plot that managed to keep the viewer interested right up until the dramatic ending. A high tech company has specialized in mass producing surrogates, or personal robots, which are sold to the American middle class. They are quickly adopted to perform routine functions and then essentially perform high level functions (like one's job). The main theme was how the surrogates assumed people's lives and identities to such an extent the flesh & blood owner of the surrogate could stay home and presumably pursue higher level interests. The reality was most people simply fell into a spiritual stupor, resorting to alcohol or drugs to pass their time.

The actors were all very good and up to the task of portraying themselves in robotic fashion (this doesn't require great acting skill but the screenplay was quite good). I thought Bruce Willis did a good job in the lead role(s) as FBI Agent Tom Geer (he also played his "surrogate" as a very low key robot). Bruce's surrogate is investigating the death of the son of the founder of the corporation that invented and produced the surrogates. This kicked off the main plot, which centered around an armed resistance group opposed to surrogates and attempting to defeat the surrogates and the corporation that produced them.

If the plot sounds confused, at times it is, and the ending may be less than satisfying. But for a far fetched sci-fi movie about robots, this was one of the better ones I've seen.
89 out of 127 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
What will the future look like? ... Maybe like this!
buiger11 April 2010
I basically agree with Ebert's review on this one. This is definitely only a simple action flick, but it is well made, the acting is decent, the f/x very good, the film is never tacky, boring or overtly see-through. Enough to keep e viewer interested and entertained while lounging on a couch eating popcorn and drinking beer on a Sunday afternoon. What's wrong with that? In addition, it poses a couple of interesting questions about our current and especially future relationship with machines, the morality of it, etc. These questions will become more and more important as each day passes, and even though the movie does not even attempt to analyze or answer them, it is not unimportant to have posed them. A classical, typically Hollywood-ian ending offers no real solutions, all the wrong certainties and faulty answers, albeit populist ones.
16 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Entertaining Sci-Fi!
g-bodyl15 January 2011
Surrogates is just an entertaining science fiction film that is there to please movie-goers and not win any awards. This is good science fiction but I have to say Avatar and District 9 were much better. But still I like to enjoy Bruce Willis.

This is about how technology invaded human life. Most humans have their own surrogates which are robots they control and inhabit with their minds. Things begin to get out of hand when a weapon is used that will not only kill the robot, but the human occupying it. What will happen? The acting is pretty good.

I like Bruce Willis in anything so it's not surprising that I like this. James Cromwell is pretty good too.

Overall, this is a cool science fiction movie. I was entertained most of the time. I rate this film 8/10.
19 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Kind of fun watching this after surviving 2020
cruzanheart9 February 2021
After being basically in isolation for most of the year to avoid getting COVID-19, this movie seems quite plausible, and even somewhat attractive! Great story line! And who can go wrong with Bruce Willis?
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
eerily hits way too close to home
clinbogan30 September 2020
Saw this movie when it first came out back in 2009 and thought it was pretty good, despite not being particularly partial to sci-fi. Fast forward 11 years later to 2020, and I find myself constantly thinking about this movie and how it is bizarrely the reality we now live in.

Plot Summary (no spoilers) - In a not-so-distant future, society succumbs to vanity and narcissism resulting in our dependence on technology to live out our daily lives through flawlessly beautiful 'surrogate' bodies.

Even if you don't like sci-fi, give this one a try. In the age of selfies, photo filters, social media, and cyber-communication, this movie makes you stop and think - why are we so obsessed with this formulated idea of beauty and perfection, and what is the toll 'being perfect' takes on us all as a society and as individuals?
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Exhilarating and fresh idea in the realm of murder-mysteries
SJinSeaTac25 September 2009
I really enjoy watching fast-paced thrillers and murder-mysteries. Unfortunately most films which are released these days do not put the time nor effort into flushing-out a story. Often times I resort to seedy little horror films to watch a good whodunit film. Therefore Surrogates was definitely a great surprise to me. I went in expecting some idiotic action film which should have gone straight to video and was very surprised at how engaging this film was!

The only reason I didn't give this film a 10/10 rating is because Brancato and Ferris most obviously got the idea for their script from the Wachowski Brother's of "The matrix" fame. The only difference is that instead of entering another reality people enter the body of a robot for which they use to interact with people in the world right from their homes, never having to leave the house. These Surrogates act and talk just like their counterparts back home, linked-up in their cyber-kinetic chairs, although as you will find in the first act, don't always look like them. The entire benefit of using a surrogate is to never be hurt or killed, and also to look the way you want people to see you.

Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell play two FBI agents investigating the destruction of two surrogates and their operators who were connected to them at the time, which up until then has never been possible. Now, I won't ruin anything, but lets just say that if you can use a surrogate to be "anyone you want to be" you might not really always know who you are talking too...or what their ulterior-motives are!!

The storytelling, twists & turns, and fast-paced action really move this film along. Also, the special effects are so well put together that when you are watching people on the screen you really believe out of this world things are happening to them...but to me the best part or character of the film is Radha Mitchell. She is required to take on so many different things here and also be believable, and she pulled it off very well indeed!

I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie and at a midnight screening as well. "Surrogates" is definitely worth seeing on the big screen, so don't miss it!
65 out of 126 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Illuminating allegory for online communications
kallepister1 October 2009
One of the best CGI "upholstered" sci-fi flicks as yet. Very 80s, guess the idea (or even the entire William-Gibson-like script) slouched about for 20 years before it was realizable without appearing ridiculously B-grade. And Bruce Willis looks like Elton John for once, or vice versa :-) So much on the obvious.

Ah yeah, IMDb etiquette makes it hard to draw stringent conclusions to real occurrences, but all i can say is that if we web-nuts would turn off our machines for good, get up and simply walk outside our very flats, this world would be very different, and probably a better one, too.

Any artificial online identity, let it be 2ndlife or WOW, comprises a substantial momentum of addiction and unresistant devotion. To what? That's where this allegory jumps in quite helpfully.

We're no artificial surrogates yet, but already part of and surrounded by a more and more zombified public, where the MP3-downloads on our mobiles may actually mean more to our well-being than the unconcerned, indifferent, fear- and/or greed-powered ambition that accounts for most of our daily uprisings.

Crown of creation? Hell we are. Anyone noticed the missing comma?
34 out of 65 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
Unbearable
mrfilm2 October 2009
This has to be the worst sci fi movie since Twister. I honestly cannot think of a single redeeming quality in this film. The starting premise itself was a stretch - 98% of the people in the future use surrogates. There is absolutely nothing in this world that 98% of the people agree on, not to mention a surrogate would be an expensive piece of machinery which not everyone could afford. The plot involves Bruce Willis playing a his tired "rebel-cop" persona (only looking strangely like Robbie Rotten from Lazy Town when he is in "surrogate self") and stumbling upon various conspiracies involving VSI (corporation producing surrogates), the military (of course), and the inventor of surrogates (who apparently in all his genius cannot figure an obvious explanation for his son's death and needs Bruce Willis to point it out to him). The subplot of the movie involves reservations where surrogates are not allowed and shot on sight, even if they are law enforcement surrogates. How the government decided to waive their sovereignty to a bunch of regressionist secessionists is not explained. The regressionist reservations are filled with clichéd fat hillbillies and are led by Ving Rhames with dreadlocks, who delivers his lines with a passion of a low level politician reading off a teleprompter. There are other problems that I can go into such as surrogates being strong enough to withstand collision with a car yet falling apart under the force of Bruce Willis' bare fists, as well as the non-nonsensical robot beauty salons, but if I describe every hole in the plot, I will probably have to post the entire film's screenplay. So I'll just cut to the chase: the story is absurd, the action is OK at best, the dialogue is bland in some parts, laughable in others, and the ending is meaningless.

If you want to see a decent sci fi movie, check out Pandorum instead.
45 out of 91 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Possible social impact of what we have today
darkmax1 October 2009
First of all, to those who find this movie unappealing, are you one of those potential surrogate users? Perhaps even like the over-sized man who was using a sexy female avatar? Stop reading this and start getting a life. A REAL life.

Games like SIMS and programs like instant messengers are the predecessors of the future this movie is trying to portray. This is the message. Artificial life is fun and all, but reality always gets back at those who escape it.

You can be as drunk as you want, but one day you will have to sober up. When that day comes, where would you hide?
11 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
So good it's uncanny. Great as thriller, sci-fi, philosophical speculation... this is solid entertainment!
bopdog25 September 2009
I loved this movie, but must confess I was surprised how much. I did NOT need another movie about the future--- "Hey, lookee here, the future is full of technology robbing our souls, and aren't we ever so clever to be making such keen observations about that!" So I was pleasantly surprised to find that this film was great. So good, in fact, it was uncanny. I am iffy on sci-fi in general. Some I like, some I don't. BUT--- "Surrogates" was bright, jazzy, fast-moving, exciting, and entrancing. It had dash, depth, and was wonderful entertainment!

To illustrate my point by way of comparison--- The sci-fi genre is kind of done to death, don't you think? And often trite. I mean no offence, but IMHO, 2004's "I, Robot," for example, was ludicrous. Really unbelievable and stupid. Spielberg's 2001 "Artificial Intelligence" was much better, but even that was cumbersome and smothering with its self-important "heavy" social themes that would have seemed "far out" in 1967, but simply plodded along as rather stilted and silly in this century.

I checked the cast list for this movie, and noticed it was international, although all spoke with flawless American accents. The director, Willis, and a few others were American, but the leading ladies and others were from Australia, England, and Austria, etc. What a mix! That's all fine... but it makes me speculate on the purpose. Haven't we seen a lot of that in the last 10-12 years? That is, British women playing Americans, Americans playing Brits, Aussies and Kiwis popping up as various nationalities on screen. That's all great--- but it seems like it can't just be coincidence that the director could only find an actor from "country A" to fill the role for a character from "country B." Each country has a wealth of talent already there and available, and the genuine need to import a specific foreign actor is rare.

I suspect it's that even when a foreign accent is adopted by an actor flawlessly, there will nonetheless be a faint, unconscious and subtle hint of the foreign remaining. They will sound authentic, yet different, somehow... exotic perhaps. Am I imaging that?

Anyway, this film is extremely well done, and is very worth your while to visit the cinema for a night out. Regardless of your favourite genre, or taste regarding sci-fi or thrillers or "social comment" or "comment on life" or philosophical ruminations, you will like, and maybe love, this movie.
19 out of 37 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
Could have been so much better.
colormind20 October 2009
First of all, let me start with a quote from David Brin:

"Hey! Go to Kiln People for the original concept, done a whole lot better, by the original author."

There goes it, the ideas behind the Graphic Novel that inspired the movie, are taken from a great book from SF write David Brin. The difference between the book and the movie is that the book explores so much more, the movie is extremely shallow and fails to explore the ideas of the book. If you want to see some action in a SF disguise, then go for it, but if you truly like SF I would recommend the book over the movie.
14 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
OK, here's a 4 from me ...
bwdude16 October 2009
... that's a "3" for the general idea of "having a Surrogate" and an extra "1" for casting Bruce.

The movie itself, however, gets 0 points from me. It's got no heart and no soul, it's disturbingly two-dimensional and pointless, even if it has a pretty face.

Yes, you guessed it, the movie is just like a Surrogate itself! It's the next best thing to a good movie, but never quite gets there, not even close. Anything you see, you've seen a dozen times before, the outcome is foreseeable and all together you would not miss anything if you won't have seen it.

I sat through it, but I am not gonna watch it again ...
21 out of 43 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
Surrogates explores the scarier side of avatar life
Rafacus25 September 2009
Although it felt immensely parallel to Mark Neveldine's Gamer, Surrogates explores the scarier side of avatar life when people opt for living through robots instead of their own bodies. With the charisma and macho swagger that Bruce Willis brings to the screen and the talents of Ving Rhames, James Cromwell and Boris Kodjoe, what really ended up disappointing me was the unimpressive graphics of the Surrogates themselves. Someone should have asked Milla Jovovich who did her makeup in Resident Evil Extinction because she looked more the part of a porcelain robot than the effect they tried on this movie, it was distracting and strange.

Plot: When a couple of Surrogate (robots created to replicate human beings) users are killed through their hosts, detectives Greer (Bruce Willis) and Peters (Radha Mitchell) set out to find the source behind the killings. What they find is that a new weapon has been introduced that kills the host and user behind the avatar. A threat that could potentially disrupt the 99% drop in world-wide fatalities that the surrogates originally brought. Greer has grown to dislike the daily routine of living through a Surrogate and before long ditches his avatar in lieu of walking around the city as a human (something that is unheard of). With his own eyes and wits about him, Greer is able to uncover the source of the weapon and the people behind it. With his only grip on human life being his Surrogate addicted wife, he must find a way to stop the weapon which could mean danger for her and everyone in the world that is plugged in.

While I can appreciate the sci-fi element to Surrogates, it offers nothing new in terms of plot, storyline and conclusion. It is the fear of a virtual world in the future exaggerated with the visuals of nasty, sweaty, pock ridden humans stuck to their bed-like structures. A world of pasty people plugged into a machine that gives them the control of a beautiful and flawless version of themselves. You have the stereotypical fat nerd in the guise of a hot, blond sexpot, the sex heavy Club scenes and the city filled with people who aren't really people. Think Blade Runner, Matrix and I-Robot and you know the particular shot of what I speak. Yet Greer's city did not feel like a city at all, it felt like a large set with fancy CGI painted all over it to make it look "futuristic". I couldn't shake the world in a glass bowl feeling as the streets seem to lead to nowhere and the shots of the external camps looked even worse. The warm and fuzzy feelings of the future that I received when I watched older movies like Minority Report, I-Robot and the 5th Element is missing in this one. There just wasn't enough authenticity in Greer's surroundings and it made it seem so staged.

This story seemed to be better suited for a comic book or graphic novel. The big screen does not seem like the right medium for Surrogates because the humanoid CGI look is a long way from being mastered. Still, if you can stomach the visuals to follow Greer in his quest for an answer, you may find a bland and unoriginal police story that ends up being solved a bit too easily. I would suggest that you wait this one out for an evening rental with the family since the violence is minimal (the Surrogates bleed green), there are no real sexual situations and the length is relatively short. I cannot recommend the box office version of this movie.

More reviews available at www.SpicyMovieDogs.com
15 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Good idea but poorly executed
rodrighiglione4 September 2020
This movie starts from a decent idea: a new technology that allows humans to use an avatar of themselves to interact with the world, avoiding the dangers of every day. And thats it. The plot seemed uninteresting, and probably it was due to a short script. Besides that, its entertaining at some point (mostly because of Bruce Willis, who made this watchable).
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
A surrogate made this movie as well.....
ArthurMausser25 September 2009
This movie had the potential to be a really fantastic production. However, the details in this world of the future are too cut and dry. The action scenes were OK at best. The suspense was OK as well. Bruce Willis does his best to make this a good movie. I hope someone can see the comments I make about movies that have narrow misses, last second heroics, and near impossible luck in avoiding death: MESSAGE - Quit doing it. It makes the movie unbelievable.

There was a lot more that could have been done with the script but I guess "It is what it is." It's hard, after admiring the movie "District 9," to appreciate current sci-fi movies. I compare Surrogates to District 9 and there is no comparison. District 9 is still in theatres. See it before you see this.
9 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
the plot made some sense....
MLDinTN1 August 2010
but still too many plot holes for me to really like it. I'm not that big a fan of sci-fi movies because usually there are too many plot holes. Such as does he even third world countries have surrogates? How do people procreate if they only go out in public as surrogates? Why do people stop committing crimes just because they use a surrogate? Bruce Willis plays detective Tom Greer whom is out to solve the countries first murder in quite some time. It seems now, every one uses a surrogate, meaning they use their mind to control a robot. The robots are made to be the most attractive looking version of yourself and can run, jump like a superhero. The guy murdered is the son of the inventor of surrogates, a man that was forced out of his own company years ago and is now a recluse. There are also sections of cities that are robot free, where humans don't want surrogates.

It's up to Tom and his partner to figure out what new gadget killed the guy by killing his surrogate and what ties this to the inventor of surrogates.

FINAL VERDICT: OK, worth seeing on cable.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed