Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Runtime: 1 hr 29 min
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Jonathan Mostow
Starring: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, Boris Kodjoe, James Cromwell, Ving Rhames
A conventional action picture.
Review by: MiamiMovieCritic
Added: 7 years ago
Surrogates is set in a future world where 75% of the population uses robots to interact with other people. The robots are things of beauty – they’re basically glossy magazine covers come to life – but when you shoot one of them or break one of them open, circuits and green goo come spilling out. That’s kind of what this movie is like: pretty on the surface, hollow underneath.
The concept (taken from a graphic novel by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele) is undeniably cool, and individual scenes give you a glimpse of the witty science-fiction satire this might have been. But mostly this is a conventional action picture.
Bruce Willis (looking and acting like a CGI version of Bruce Willis) plays Tom Greer, an FBI agent investigating a series of mysterious deaths. People aren’t supposed to die when their surrogate robots get killed, but that’s exactly what’s happened in this case. Greer’s investigation leads him to the Dreads, a revolutionary group bent on ridding the world of robots, and to Dr. Lionel Canter (James Cromwell), who invented the robots.
The Dreads look like Birthers, but they’re led by The Prophet (Ving Rhames), who looks like Mumia Abu-Jamal. The ads hint at a big “secret” behind the film, and The Prophet is definitely hiding something. His moment of revelation is a doozey, and Surrogates owes something to the mind-blowing third act of A Boy and His Dog. But these are two science-fiction movies that really shouldn’t be mentioned in the same sentence.
Jonathan Mostow directs the action with aplomb. The look of the film is great – as shiny and deceptively beautiful as those robots. The movie’s best visual pun involves putting a new spin on the term “war games.” The ride is fun while it lasts, but once you step off the ride, you don’t remember a thing. This is a director who’s never made anything other than smoothly running B pictures (Breakdown, U-571, Terminator 3), and each one seems like a step down from the last. He’s like a less tragic version of M. Night Shyamalan.