Surrogates, Blu-ray (2010)
Starring: Bruce Willis, James Cromwell, Ving Rhames
Studio: Mandeville Films/Touchstone 102165 [Release: 1/26/10]
Video: 2.40:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 1040p HD
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48K/24-bit); French or Spanish DD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Extras: Deleted scenes, “A More Perfect You: The Science of Surrogates,” “Breaking the Frame: A Graphic Novel Comes to Life,” “I Will Not Bow” music video; Feature audio commentary by Director Jonathan Mostow, BD Live
Length: 89 minutes
More of an interesting sci-fi tale than a typical action feature, Surrogates seems to leave out some important aspects of the story which could involve the viewer more, but Bruce Willis saves the day with his very watchable character. This takes place in a near-future Boston, where 98% of the world lie around in their pajamas in their apartments, wearing sensors and other electronics which allow them to live their lives thru a surrogate of themselves out in the world. These super-robots are younger, more fit and more beautiful versions of themselves, who can do all sorts of dangerous things out there and seemingly not be damaged by them.
The non-conforming 2% of the population live in ramshackle surrogate-free enclaves around the world, believing in real life and not “the lie” of the rest of society. The Prophet is their leader, assuring them that there will be a revolt against the surrogates. He has come into possession of a unique weapon, which can not only burn out the computers inside the surrogates but also kill the human lying on his reclining chair controlling the surrogate. Although the widespread use of surrogates has reduced violent crime to almost nothing, several surrogates and their humans have been killed. Willis’ efforts to uncover the mysteries of the attacks makes this more of a detective movie, but not as involving as, for example, Blade Runner. Typical of most of Willis’ movies, his character gets beaten up and bloodied something good in the process.
FBI agent Willis, who has been doing his work thru a good-looking surrogate version of himself, has his surrogate destroyed trying to capture the weapon in a “Dread” enclave. He is forced to leave his apartment and struggle to find the weapon on his own, even though he has been relieved of duty by the FBI. His wife also has a beautiful young surrogate, but Willis would prefer to relate to her in her human, though medically-compromised, form. Cromwell plays the original inventor of the surrogates, who now realizes they have been bad for society and wants to destroy them. The introduction to the movie as well as one of the extras educates the viewer on the recent developments in robotics and what is probably coming next. It makes the sci-fi story seem not so impossible. The cgi is excellent, and the other actors are OK, but the story line gets a bit discombobulated towards the end, losing some of the anxiety quotient that could have been stronger.
– John Sunier