The StoryIn the near future, robots will do everything for us - and I mean everything. They'll walk our dogs, go to work, go shopping, go out on dates, hang out in night clubs... Whatever it is we do during our normal day-to-day activities, robotic surrogates will take our place doing. This leaves us humans free to do whatever else we like to do, which, in this movie at least, means lying prone on what looks like an operating room table while hooked up to a computer that's linked to our surrogate. Now, why anyone would want to lie down attached to a machine all day long just so they don't have to get up and go outside is totally beyond me. If the surrogates were able to function for us without having to be connected via computer to our brains while we're completely immobilized, then this would be a real technological marvel worth exploring. But humans turning into coach potatoes just so they don't have to dress up and leave their apartments? Where's the fun in that?
Anyway, the crime rate has dramatically declined, there's no racism or sexism or any other -ism, and all's well in this world in which humans live vicariously through their robot counterparts (which, by the way, doesn't have to look like them or even be of the same sex). But then into this idyllic world comes a man with a motorcycle and a souped up electrical gun thing who proceeds to take out the surrogate of the son of Lionel Canter (James Cromwell), the man who invented the surrogate technology.
The CastNow, seriously, who came up with the idea of throwing a crazy blond wig on Willis' surrogate? Really annoying, distracting, and goofy looking, the wig detracts from whatever point Willis is trying to make - although it does make more of an impact than anything else in the film. I'll remember the wig long, long after I've completely forgotten about the film itself.
The rest of the cast - Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, Boris Kodjoe, etc - are okay, nothing to write home about, and there's nothing particularly memorable about any of their performances.
The Bottom LineSurrogates is plagued by too many problems to overcome, a pretty ridiculous plot being first and foremost on the list. I could never wrap my mind around the idea of a world in which people just want to lie there hooked up to a computer all day long for days on end. And that's all they do. Every single day. It all seemed so pointless.
Plus, Surrogates doesn't even get the action scenes right. The CGI is horrible in some places, in particular the chase scene with Radha Mitchell vaulting over cars and buses. And even the acting is uneven, with some playing their robot counterparts all jerky and mechanical while other actors opted to forego acting in any way like a robot and just play it completely human. It was jolting to watch the interaction between those two disparate acting approaches in scenes in which only surrogates were featured.
Surrogates was directed by Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, disturbing images, language, sexuality and a drug-related scene.
Theatrical Release Date: September 25, 2009