Surrogates(released Sept/09)stars Bruce Willis as Greer,Radha Mitchell as Peters,Rosamund Pike as Maggie Greer,Jack Noseworthy as Miles Strickland,James Cromwell as Dr. Lionel Canter,Ving Rhames as The Prophet,and others.It is a solid cast working with a very imaginative story that can sometimes be a bit overwhelming with what it has to impart within its' <90 minute time frame.I saw this film in its theatrical debut and that is the first impression I got,but having viewed it again after all this time I was able to digest some of the finer points I missed the first time around.
The story has our world in the future and most of the population runs their "lives" through surrogates,or remote controlled robots.You can be a man controlling a woman,or visa versa,or have a surrogate looking similar to yourself;the possibilities are endless.Of course there are those who do not believe that surrogates are a good thing and they are called Dredds,who live in cordoned off communities.The man who rules over these Dredds is called the Prophet(Rhames),and is quite militant when it comes to his "untouched" turf.
The story begins as the son of the inventor of surrogates is killed by a rogue carrying an awful weapon.The weapon not only fries the brains of the robots but the virus it implants also goes beyond safety protocols and fries the human brain.Greer(Willis)and his partner are FBI agents on the job investigating the crime.They soon discover the perp behind it all and the hunt is on.
Greer,in his surrogate,is in a helicopter above their man who is trapped in an alleyway,at the end of which are five cops.The cops are killed by the weapon and Greer's copter pilot also.Greer's surrogate is fried and Greer himself barely escapes getting killed.The copter goes down in Dredd territory and Greer/his surrogate almost gets his man,but is shot by one of the communities members,and gets away.The rogue ends up in the hands of the Prophet,i skilled,and now the Prophet has the deadly weapon to wield as he will.
Greer goes to the military telling them of the weapon he is after and they admit to its' previous usage.However they long ago scrapped the weapon because of its' unintended consequences,but obviously someone got a hold of one.The military make a raid on Prophet's compound and takes him and his guards down.We find that Prophet is nothing but a surrogate himself who is being controlled by none other than surrogates inventor,Dr.Cantor.Greer also learns it was his own boss that gave the weapon to the rogue.His boss was being paid by the company that manufactures surrogates,VSI,to take down Dr,Cantor(the reason they killed his son in the beginning of the film,to get to him).Dr Cantor we have already learned left VSI several years earlier because of his opposition to the entire surrogate program.
Now Dr Cantor has taken control of Greers partner's surrogate and has entered the main computer control FBI center.The surrogate hooks the weapon into the system and starts a viral download intended to finally end surrogacy and kill the people who operate them;multi-millions.At the same time Greer,in person,has forced his way into Dr Cantors house and has found HIS control facility.Before Greer can stop him,he swallows a cyanide pill and dies.Greer sits in the doctors chair and begins to control his partner's surrogate.With the help of the terminal operator who has been tied up,he manages to buffer the effects of the virus against the human component.Now all he has to do is press yes to kill the virus and save the robot surrogates,or press no and let the virus destroy the surrogates.He waits and waits until a bullet from a storming SWAT-like team member takes the surrogate down.Because of that the surrogates are all destroyed,everywhere,and Dr Cantor's scheme/mission, inadvertently in death,is still carried out;just not with the intended consequence of all the operators dying.The film fades as the news of the surrogate destruction gets splashed over all the TV networks.
The film raises some interesting philosophical questions about people and society and where we are headed in this age of computers that run so much of ours lives,even now.Wonder if one day we had no computers?This gadget has taken one on one personal contact and pushed it onto the back burner.The film takes us into the future and now personal contact is even far less than that;so rare in fact that many are unable to function if they're not using their surrogate.To show this the film at one point has Greer walking outside in the mostly surrogate populated streets,and his anxiety level is through the roof.A nice touch.The film has a kind of "I,Robot" feel to it too,though is not nearly on the same quality level,with even Cromwell in again as a brilliant scientist.
The film is in its w/s a/r of 2:35:1 and is clear and crisp.The only extra is a commentary track.
All in all it is a film I found to be much better on a second viewing.First timers will,like myself,find it a bit overwhelming in detail,and there is the point to be made as to why it should take a second viewing to "get it".However,it is an imaginative script and Willis is on game in this one.The CGI is also top notch.Recommended.3 1/2- 4 stars.