- Running time:
- 88 minutes
- Bruce Willis -
- Agent Greer
- Radha Mitchell -
- Agent Peters
- Rosamund Pike -
- Maggie Greer
- Boris Kodjoe -
- James Francis Ginty -
14 years in the future over 90% of the world's population live their lives through remotely controlled humanoid robots known as surrogates (or surries—pronounced just like Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ daughter—for short). The technology allows people to take risks without physically harming themselves, has all but eradicated violent crime and blunted issues of race, class and other superficial differences. Then the unthinkable happens: two human operators die at home when their surrogates are destroyed in the real world. FBI agents Thomas Greer (Bruce Willis) and Jennifer Peters (Radha Mitchell) take the case, which involves the mastermind behind surrogates, Dr. Lionel Canter (James Cromwell), and a vocal opponent who calls himself The Prophet (Ving Rhames). To solve the crime, and save the world, Thomas will have to detach himself from his surrogate and tries to convince his heartbroken wife (Rosamund Pike) to do the same.
The buzz: 2009 has already been a strong year for sci-fi with films like “Star Trek,” “District 9” and “Moon.” Can “Surrogates” join the bandwagon? Some reasons to worry: “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” director Jonathan Mostow and screenwriters John Brancato and Michael Ferris (whose credits also include “Catwoman” and “The Net”) reunite to adapt a graphic novel by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele. It’s also Willis’ first lead role since the minor comeback of “Live Free or Die Hard” over two years ago, and despite his talents he doesn’t have a very good track record lately.
The verdict: Produced by Disney, “Surrogates” is one step removed from a cartoon. And I don’t mean “WALL-E.” An intriguing premise is squandered on a routine murder mystery and heavy-handed metaphors for how humanity sacrifices personal connection in favor of technology (how thought provoking!). For awhile the movie is as laughable as the blonde wig decorating the Willis-surrogate’s head (in an uncomfortable decision for both Willis and the audience, he’s surrounded by younger, better looking co-stars as the movie stresses the physical perfection of surrogates). Rhames overacts to a ridiculous degree, the special effects make “G.I. Joe” look groundbreaking, and the garish cinematography is a visual nightmare of Dutch angles and oversaturated colors. But the movie is ultimately too boring to rival the greatest campy sci-fi misfires. By mixing a detective story and futuristic robots the filmmakers were likely aiming for the next “Blade Runner.” They wound up with the next “Battlefield Earth.”
Did you know? Actress Elizabeth Banks (“Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” “W.”) is an executive producer on the movie. She developed the project with her husband, Max Handelman, who optioned the graphic novel to turn into a film.
Movie theaters and showtimes for Surrogates in Louisville.
No Showtimes available
Catch up on recent film reviews you might have missed the first time around.