in Review


(Contains Spoilers)

I didn’t want to see this movie. I was with my dad and brother and I was trying to go to the sneak peak showing of Whip It but Paul didn’t want to (plus we were too late) so we saw this, a free movie is a free movie I guess. So I’d anticipated this movie to suck and it kind of did but no where near as much as it could of. With a weak story line (complete with it’s share of plot holes) and a strangely unsatisfying length of 88-89 minutes or so, Surrogates makes up for some of it’s shortcomings with such a fun concept and great makeup effects from Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger (Kill Bill, Grindhouse and about a million other movies).

Set in Boston in the not too distant future, Surrogates reveals a world where almost everyone has become fully dependent on technology. Living through highly advanced robots, people can look like they want, feel what they want and do what the want without ever leaving the home. That is until the son of the wealthy creator of Surrogates becomes the first person to ever die while connected, leaving the mystery in the hands of FBI agent Harvey Greer (Bruce Willis).

Now I’ll bet that many have contemplated this concept before, so it was fun to see someone finally take a hack at it. Actually it was quite humorous to be introduced to these fashion model-like characters only to see that they are in reality, ugly, lazy, slobs. I’ve always liked futuristic films that portray future civilizations as ridiculously lazy, so if anything this had a few laughs. The downside here is that the story had to be on such a large scale. An elaborate murder mystery investigation, topped with non-surrogate citizens trying to start a revolution, blah blah blah. They just had to turn this into every other generic murder mystery, when it had the potential to be more reminiscent of a Twilight Zone episode. I suppose you can lay that blame on the graphic novel upon which it is based.

So Bruce Willis, who’s playing the typical Bruce Willis character, eventually becomes very anti-surrogate (as I think you would assume) and descends upon a so-so shoot em’ up investigation, while as well unraveling the true intentions of the Surrogate company and it’s former mysterious leader/founder. Well here’s where I’ll start spoiling stuff, thought I might give you a heads up. Soon we discover that the company founder (James Cromwell) has been taking on the identity of multiple surrogates, including the leader of the anti-surrogate movement (Ving Rhames) in an effort to put an end to surrogates. You see it’s after his son is murdered that he decides things need to change. Doesn’t sound so bad does he? But apparently to do so he has to kill everyone attached to a surrogate to make a fresh start. Yeah that’s really helping mankind, killing most of the earth’s population. I’ve heard of the expression “Kill a million to save a billion” but never the other way around.

Now James Cromwell’s “Evil Plan” wouldn’t of bugged me so much if it wasn’t for what came next (Oh yeah James Cromwell kills himself). For what follows is your typical countdown to doomsday, where Bruce Willis is at a computer trying to prevent a virus from killing everyone attached to a surrogate… And yes he ends this countdown at “1” how amusingly cliche. Then the computer gives him some sort of option to either reconnect everyone to their surrogates (everyone is temporarily frozen) or deactivating the surrogates while leaving the people unharmed… Are you kidding me? You mean there was a way to put an end to the surrogates without harming a single person? How come James Cromwell didn’t know about this? He did invent the surrogates after all. Even if he didn’t know of this “loop hole” don’t you think he’d go to greater lengths to find an alternative to killing a billion people?

This is one of those action flicks that treats moviegoers like idiots. I mean most moviegoers are idiots but can’t you try and challenge us from time to time? It didn’t entirely bring down the movie but it really did annoy me. Somehow I walked away from this experience not too disappointed, I had no expectations whatsoever but to walk away feeling nothing is not what a movie-going experience should be.

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