Bruce Willis stars as FBI agent Tom Greer in “Surrogates,” based on the graphic novel by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele. In an alternate reality, robots have been developed that stand in for people in their everyday lives. People project their consciousness into these mechanical doppelgangers, which keep them safe from the dangers of the outside world. A small subset of humanity has rejected the use of the surrogates and lives in gated, humans-only communities. They are led by the Prophet (Ving Rhames), who decries the use of the surrogate technology.
Greer is called in to investigate the first murder in years, in which someone kills a surrogate operator via a weapon used on the surrogate. That’s not supposed to be able to happen — and it becomes an even bigger surprise when Greer discovers the murdered man is the son of the inventor of surrogates (James Cromwell).
It’s an interesting premise, but Jonathan Mostow (“Terminator 3”) doesn’t take a lot of time exploring how this world is different from our own; instead it becomes a slam-bang action flick. It’s not even entirely clear that it’s supposed to be an alternate reality without watching the audio commentary. Viewers may wonder how humanity has all these high-tech robot duplicates, but no advancements have been made in vehicles or cell phones.
Mostow has created a visually compelling film, with wide-angle shots and lots of right angles. He’s also made Hollywood actors appear even more perfect, and slightly unsettling, as robot duplicates of themselves. While the film, like “The Matrix” and others before it, has a point about overdependence on technology, it doesn’t give the audience much time to ponder.
— Matthew Price
From Friday’s The Oklahoman