"Surrogates" DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review (2010)

1/21/2010 Posted by Admin

DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review


Directed by Jonathan Mostow, Written by John Brancato and Michael Ferris, 88 Minutes, Rated PG-13.


By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

"Surrogates," adapted from the comic book miniseries of the same name by Robert Venditti, tells the story of society circa 2017, where nearly everyone lives in isolation and only go about their daily activities through surrogates, robotic, remote-controlled bodies fashioned after how you wish you looked instead of how you really do. Wish you were younger? You can be, thanks to your surrogate. Want to be taller? Thinner? A different race altogether? Anything you want to be, you can.

Bruce Willis is Tom Greer, an FBI agent who, along with his partner Jennifer Peters (Radha Mitchell), is investigating the death of the son of the surrogates' inventor, Dr. Lionel Canter (James Cromwell). Somehow, the boy died when his surrogate did, which everyone thought impossible. As Greer comes closer and closer to finding the culprit, the dark underside of this new, technologically enhanced world begins appearing.

"Surrogates" is another action film in the long tradition of cautionary tales regarding the excessive use of technology in everyday life. Seeing people use fake bodies as their own is a pretty accurate depiction of the way some use technology even today, as many people use the Internet to communicate and a lot of the time people hide behind their anonymity to do and say basically anything they want.

Who knows who's really behind those screen names on message boards?

Almost immediately "Surrogates" draws comparison to Alex Proyas' 2004 Will Smith vehicle "I, Robot." The lead characters in both are demoralized by their technology-based new worlds, the respective technologies (robots in "I, Robot," surrogates in "Surrogates") are suspected to be more than meets the eye, and both technologies are invented by a character played by James Cromwell. Alright, so that last comparison is pretty shallow, but otherwise the two films have a lot alike and it's difficult not to make the connection.

Obvious comparisons can also be drawn with "Avatar," albeit very simplistic ones, especially since "Avatar" holds a much more positive outlook on the subject of living vicariously through technology.

Similarities to other films aside, "Surrogates" is definitely an entertaining film. Bruce Willis is always a joy to watch, and CGI effects used to make him look younger early in the film are pretty top-notch, almost eerie. Though the plot gets a bit obvious and predictable, it never really gets boring, and the social commentary is implemented in a very refreshing and less blatant way than many films like it.

Director Jonathan Mostow, previously known for the oft-disregarded third "Terminator" film, seems to have improved drastically here, maintaining a solid tone throughout, and outside of a couple sloppy chase sequences, most of the action scenes are excellent.

"Surrogates" is far from anything brilliant, but Willis' performance, a lot of great set-pieces, and an overall plot that doesn't take itself too seriously, it's certainly a great way to pass the time, especially if you're interested in its brand of sci-fi cautionary fiction.

Grade: C+

View the trailer for "Surrogates" below.  What are your thoughts?

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