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Movies: Surrogates

Movies - 05 October 2009 12:00 AM | Updated 10:04 AM

Movies: Surrogates


Classification: PG
Genre: Action / Science Fiction
General Release Date: 01 Oct 2009
Running Time: 1 Hour 29 Minutes,
Distributor: Buena Vista International
Cast: Bruce Willis, James Francis Ginty, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike
Director: Jonathan Mostow

FBI agents (Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell) investigate the mysterious murder of a college student linked to the man who helped create a high-tech surrogate phenomenon that allows people to purchase unflawed robotic versions of themselves - fit, good looking remotely controlled machines that ultimately assume their life roles - enabling people to experience life from the comfort and safety of their own homes. The murder spawns a quest for answers for who's real and who can you trust.

Watch this if you liked: "I, Robot", "The Stepford Wives"

"Surrogates" is a sort of combination between the robotic world of "I, Robot" mashed together with the gaming experience of "Gamer". Based on a graphic novel by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele, "Surrogates" transports us to a future where people live through robotic surrogates from the safety of their own home, which in turn, transforms them into couch potatoes yet effectively reducing society's on-going issues like racial and crime problems. Having a surrogate is like playing a game using your mind, via a technology device reminiscence of "The Matrix", to control these robots to live out your life in the real world. Whatever happens to them won't affect you, considering it safe - that is until a deadly weapon comes along causing the humans' (a.k.a "operators") to be affected as well, where brains melt and crimson red blood oozes from the eye sockets.

As the plot unfolds, we are introduced to communities of surrogate-haters who have established and lived in surrogate-free zones. You can't help but be reminded of the Peter Jackson produced faux documentary "District 9" upon seeing a sign that says "Humans Only" at the no-robots allowed zone. The location itself looks worn down like a refugee camp site. The surrealism of the movie is not too distant from the present, so don't expect The Jetson's like flying vehicles as it simply has the existence of mannequin-like robots.

The fun thing about a surrogate is that you can have it modelled in any way you want. For all you know, you could have a robot modelled after Megan Fox or Brad Pitt just because you can! Aside from that, they are the best solution to avoid an argument. It's hilarious to see a robot shut down in the middle of a conversation leaving with just a blank stare. If you hate conflicts and would do anything to avoid them, then surrogate is the way to go. By golly, get one today!

The actors were up to the task of portraying themselves in a robotic fashion, which honestly doesn't require great acting skills. Bruce Willis played up his role well as FBI agent Tom Greer who takes on the mission of investigating the culprit behind the dangerous weapon. Willis thankfully didn't play as a surrogate throughout the film, but it was refreshing to feast our eyes on a full-haired blonde anyway. The special effects are realistic at some point. However, there was a particular car chase scene in the city that didn't seem to showcase what modern technology is capable of doing. Pity it wasn't executed well enough, although it had an interesting action choreography that seemed almost superhero-like.

The plot might be confusing for some. It manages to locks in your interest at first, but as the story progresses on with its twists and turns, it didn't seem that engaging anymore. Moreover, the ending was pretty ridiculous and less than satisfying. It shared an entertaining concept but overall, the movie was not memorable enough.