the sleeping alone review of films: Surrogates (2009)

By | July 2, 2010
summary: I liked it better when it was District 9; I, Robot; and the middle third of The Matrix. And I didn’t really like District 9 or I, Robot all that much.

The 2009 film Surrogates wonders what might happen if we started letting technology do the living for us. It creates a world in which war is treated as a video game, physical characteristics are treated as malleable, and real-life human interaction is treated as an oddity.

Boy, that sure would be a terrifying existence, wouldn’t it? I can’t even imagine what it would be like to live in that world.

Ahem.

Surrogates stars Bruce Willis as The Good Cop Wracked With Guilt Over the Death of His Son. He mentions his son’s death about 20 different times over the course of the movie, and also, judging by the surprised reaction of his partner at the first mention, has never once mentioned his son’s death before the start of the film. It also turns out that the invention of surrogates (which are basically what you think they are, so I won’t bother explaining) could have prevented his son’s death, so you can think of him as a sort of monosyllabic Dr. McCoy.

There’s a conspiracy. The surrogates aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. And not everyone who seems like a good guy ends up acting like a good guy.

Why, oh why, do we have to put up with only one really original action flick every year or two? I don’t know if I’m just getting cranky in my old age, but it seems like forever since I’ve seen a mainstream action film that really blew me away. I did really enjoy Live Free or Die Hard (2007), also starring a rode-hard-and-put-away-wet Bruce Willis; I thought War of the Worlds (2005) was pretty neat, loaded as it was with the dynamic combo of killer special effects and an emotionally harrowing plot. But it’s been a dry run since then. I haven’t seen Iron Man 2 yet. Christopher Nolan’s Inception, due out mid-July, looks pretty good. But if I had a dollar for every movie I waited for with joyous expectation, only to leave the theater feeling swindled, I’d be a rich, rich man.

Surrogates (2009) stars Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, and Boris Kodjoe, with appearances by James Cromwell and Ving Rhames. It’s rated PG-13 and contains some violence, mild profanity, and a brand of when-I-was-your-age nostalgia that nobody under 13 should be forced to endure.

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