Well, it’s back to loud, SFX-laden action movies, at least for the moment. SURROGATES takes place in a near-future world where people have stopped leaving their houses and live their lives vicariously by means of amazingly life-like robots which they control mentally through a vast computer network. Also, there are enclaves of humans who rebel against the concept of robot surrogates and think that people should go back to living in their own bodies. Got all that? If you can accept that premise, the rest of the movie makes sense for the most part.
What you wind up with is a world full of amazingly good-looking people, because who’s going to pay good money for an ugly surrogate? It’s an idyllic world, almost free of crime, but then somebody starts murdering surrogates, which also kills their human operators, who are supposed to be protected from such dangers by fail-safes built into the computer network. Obviously, someone has found a way around those fail-safes.
Bruce Willis is an FBI agent assigned to investigate the case, using his own robot surrogate. (Wait a minute. If there’s no crime anymore, why does the FBI still exist? Oh, never mind . . .) Willis’s surrogate gets trashed in one of the many action sequences, and the FBI won’t give him another one because of course he’s one of those maverick cops who plays by his own rules. So he’s forced to carry on the investigation in his actual human body, which is, not surprisingly, a lot scruffier than the surrogate version.
This is a pretty silly movie, but it’s also pretty entertaining if you just go with it, and it has a very effective ending. Willis has played the beat-up but still hardnosed cop role so many times he could probably do it in his sleep, but he doesn’t phone in his performance and is especially good in the scenes where his human self has to adjust to being out in public again after years of using a surrogate. I liked SURROGATES, and if you’re a fan of futuristic action movies, I think you probably will, too.
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