Note: this review was published on the original Popcorn Lobotomy Blog (yep, before it was a YouTube channel) sometime in October 2009. It is reprinted here for nostalgia and comedic purposes.
A friend and I RAN to see this movie. We were bored, a couple of beers in, so checked the local cinema guide and found the Surrogates screening across town in a little under 4 minutes. We made it heaving for breath having missed the first 3 minutes.
Oh how I wish a bus had hit me on the way.
Surrogates finds Bruce Willis playing a detective in the not-too-distant future where mankind has adopted the use of Surrogates (‘Surries’) – high-tech androids that allows the user to feel, smell, taste, touch, interact and live out their lives from the safety and comfort of their own home. Sounds kinda interesting right? If not a little familiar? Hello, Avatar?
When we first see Bruce he looks like a slightly retarded human size Ken-doll until we realize that, no, it’s not plastic surgery, Bruce’s character uses a Surrie too. He and his wife live out their lives from their separate bedrooms. You see, their son died in a car accident (of course) and his wife is too ashamed to be seen in public without her Surrie because of some radical facial scar. We see the real Bruce when he unplugs, and he’s not looking too bad for a guy pushing 55, no scars… but all he wants is to be with his wife, his real wife.
The movie sets up some interesting ideas. The addiction of anonymity. Being able to do what you want without fear of injury or death. Finally fulfilling that childhood desire to have a pair of breasts, or ride your boss without worrying about cellulite or that bulging belly. Is it only our mind that makes us who we are, or the total package? Some interesting ideas that would make a good movie, right? The kind of stuff that makes great SciFi so compelling. That had to be what director Jonathon Mostow (T3, U-571) and screenwriters Michael Ferris and John Brancato where thinking, right?
Consider writing partners Ferris and Brancato brought us the previously-reviewed Terminator Salvation, Terminator 3, The Net and the genius that was…. Catwoman. Catwoman? Fuck off.
The story is crap. I honestly wasn’t 100% sure what was happening most of the time, so didn’t care. Some guy has a secret weapon that fries Surrogates, and unfortunately whoever’s plugged in at the other end. Brucey must find out who it is, yada, yada, yada – turns out it’s the old crank who invented the Surrogate technology in the first place because he regrets what it’s done to mankind. Toss in a few lame chase scenes, special effects and story devices. The End.
The acting is ok. I like Bruce Willis. He’s, well, likeable. Radha Mitchell is hot. Ving Rhames passes as The Prophet – leader of the human resistance. James Cromwell – always dependable.
I’m a strong believer that anybody can make a movie. Christ, if Ewe Boll can do it so can you. There are so many talented people in the industry – great lighting people, sound, camera, effects, music – you name it. Movies are made with such efficiency that even the back of a cereal box could be made into a slick, glossy looking production if push came to shove (whatever that means). And that’s the problem – these movies get made, and for some god-known reason people (like me) go and see them, they make money… so they make more of them. Making movies is rarely an art-form anymore. It’s just business. And so long as suits can make money out of the system – we’ll keep getting turds like this.