Theatrical Review: SURROGATES
Writers: Michael Ferris, John D. Brancato
Directors: Jonathan Mostow
Cast: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Ving Rhames
I love watching a good sci-fi movie, but the real reason that I was excited to watch SURROGATES was to see Ving Rhames and Bruce Willis together on the big screen once again. I was sure the screenwriter would include a clever PULP FICTION joke that only true fans would get. I was wrong about that.
Upon arriving at the theater, I was informed that the movie's running time was only 88 minutes. I immediately had a flashback to that episode of Arrested Development where Maeby has to cut the American remake of LES COUSINS DANGEREUX down to 52 minutes because it was so bad. Then I thought that maybe SURROGATES would be bad. Unfortunately, that's only thing I was right about.What sucks most about SURROGATES is that it could have been good because its concept is kinda cool. The movie takes place in a not-so-distant future in which artificial intelligence has been invented and evolved. But, unlike traditional futuristic movies that have robots thinking for themselves, the machines in this movie are controlled by a human who sits in comfort of their home while plugged into the robot, who acts as their avatar, or surrogate, in the real world.
Bruce Willis plays FBI agent Greer, who is investigating the murder of one of the robot's handlers. The investigation eventually leads him The Prophet, played by Ving Rhames, who is the leader of a breakaway sect of society that believes that using surrogates is an abomination. A lot of stuff happens between the murder and the encounter with The Prophet and even more stuff happens after, and as I sit here writing, I realize that I could go on for another 20 minutes trying to explain the convoluted plots of the movie, or the twist after ridiculous twist that are revealed with the swelling of music and a slow zoom-in that makes you feel like they should cut to commercials, but I think that short rant I just had better explains the movie.
Perhaps the movie's greatest flaw, which in some cases was also its best characteristic, is the lack of dramatic tension. There's just something about the way the movie was filmed and the cheesy way lines are delivered that made me laugh. And I wasn't alone, because the whole theater was laughing at really awkward times. This is obviously a flaw because it took me out of the world of the movie, but it's also an asset because it's what kept me entertained through 88 minutes of SURROGATES.