September 25, 2009
Review - " Surrogates " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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"Surrogates" didn’t screw around. By the time the opening credits were done, it had already set me up for its gay old time.
The action started right off the bat and the film (which ran at meek 88 minutes) rarely stopped for a pee break yet alone for
air. I totally dug the concept of this one and could relate to its themes: isolation due to technology, fake human contact (them
through surrogates, most of us via the web) and the cons that come with this type of lifestyle. Similar to the recent 'Gamer'
you can easily image this as a natural progression of our current online fixation where people sitting right next to each other
will text one another rather than risk actually having human contact through actual conversation.
Behind the lens, Mostow (who showed off his heatly sci fi chops via T3) was on the ball and well backed by tighter than tight
editing. I got off on this one’s fly shots, relentless rhythm and polished look. The special effects (loved that creepy clone look)
and production designs came through as well (nice to see that Greer’s clone is basically Bruce Willis in 'The Jackal') The
depiction of the future here was put out in a way that said “yes this is the future” and no “it’s not that far off from our reality”.
That approach maximized the impact of the happenings. There is also a subplot with Greer’s wife (played by the very hot
Rosamund Pike) who never unplugs from her surrogate and lives a false life as a surrogate stylist. Her and Greer’s marriage
are on the rocks and he desperately tries to work things out. There's a heartfelt relationship between Greer and his wife
which hit me right here (points at heart), a couple of exciting (yet to short) action sequences that hit the spot (having a Bionic
Man sequence without the “Dehn-nehn-nehn-nehn-nehn” effect was awesome) and competent acting by all (ya can't miss
with Radha Mitchell and Ving Rhames in the house), with Willis putting out a wounded and affecting performance that made
sure to keep me on his side and you get a pleasant time at the movies.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the flick’s mystery did much for me.
Just by looking at the cast list I was able to figure out who was
behind the shenanigans. Same when for the WHY behind it all.
A little too simple for my tastes - I would've liked something
more challenging. Moreover, it’s a shame that the film didn't
capitalize further on its premise in terms of how this new kind
of lifestyle would affect every aspect of existence (like sexuality
for example) but alas this one had a very narrow purpose: set
up, mystery, let Bruce out of his cage. Finally, this is the kind
of film you can’t think too much about otherwise plot holes will
surface. Thankfully the movie forged forward so hastily that I
didn't have to think - I only had to sit back and enjoy the ride.
We get some exploding clone eyes, a ripped off clone arm, a
stab behind the head, bullet wounds and a pinch more. Not a
gore-fest but for the kind of film it is, it did well enough.
I was surprised at the lack of sex in this film. Taking into
account the concept you would think it would explore that avenue and then some. NO DICE! So nothing to report here other
than the fact that Rosamund Pike is absolutely gorgeous. So you will have to walk out in the end.
Directed by: Jonathan Mostow
Starring: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchel, Ving Rhames, James
Cromwell, Rosamund Pike
In this made-in-Boston film society has become sadder and even
more disconnected than it is now. Most folks on the planet humans
live in isolation, and, rather than making the effort to step out of
doors themselves, interact through surrogate robots who are
basically “better-looking versions” of themselves. The robotic clones
(i.e. surrogates) of themselves do the walking while they do the
talking from the comfort of their own home while plugged into the
matrix - OK wrong movie but you get the basic idea. A murder
happens in the beginning of a surrogate where not only does the
surrogate gets it’s brain fried, but the brain of the operator, in this
case the human. As a matter of fact, the human operator’s brain
gets liquefied. Pretty gruesome. So when “somebody” has figured
out a way to kill surrogates and their human puppet masters cop
Greer (Bruce Willis) has to get the fuck out of the house and go
solve the crime - and gets the shit kicked out of him in the process.
In other words it's 'Die Hard' with robots.
I had never heard of Robert Venditti’s 2005-2006 comic book series
that that inspired this movie, so I strolled on in this flick colder than
my ex-wife’s stump of a heart. All I knew beforehand was that the
trailer was cool and that man's man (and I love him for it) Bruce
Willis chilling in a society filled with clones usually means good times
in my world. So did this one bring it?
The film is very solid and I was entertained. "Surrogates"
had an interesting (if not particularly original) initial
premise, effective visuals effects, Bruce Willis on top of his
game, a coupe of nifty ideas and (way to short) eye
popping action scenes. Granted the flick could've been so
much more than what it was and its mystery/motive were
weaker than me in bed, but when it was all over, I could
look at myself in the mirror, take a deep breath and say: I
had a good time.
"Surrogates" made mention of many of the cities and
towns surrounding Boston. It was particularly cool
recognising so many of the location in and around town.