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With: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, Boris Kodjoe, James Francis Ginty, James Cromwell, Ving Rhames, Jack Noseworthy, Devin Ratray, Michael Cudlitz, Jeffrey De Serrano, Helena Mattsson
Written by: Michael Ferris, John D. Brancato, based on a comic book by Robert Venditti, Brett Weldele
Directed by: Jonathan Mostow
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, disturbing images, language, sexuality and a drug-related scene
Running Time: 88
Date: 09/24/2009

Surrogates (2009)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Flesh Prints

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Based on a comic book by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele, adapted by Michael Ferris and John D. Brancato, and directed by Jonathan Mostow, Surrogates takes place in an imagined future. Humans can sit in a chair, strap on some sensors and mentally control an entirely artificial being, including movement, speech and senses. These artificial beings can be sent out in the world and operated in place of the genuine person. This scenario raises a million possible questions about how this affects daily life, many of which popped into my head while watching the film. But while Surrogates addresses some of these questions, it's mainly focused on a murder story, which to my eyes, isn't half as interesting as the concept of the surrogates themselves.

Bruce Willis plays Agent Greer, who, along with his partner Agent Peters (Radha Mitchell) gets called in to investigate the "murder" of two such surrogates. Unfortunately, they learn that the human operators are also dead. They discover the existence of a secret weapon that kills both surrogates and human operators, which leads Greer to a cult known as "The Dreads," led by "The Prophet" (Ving Rhames). The Dreads wish for a return to human life and want nothing to do with such machines. Greer's surrogate is destroyed in a chase/shootout and he must continue the case in the flesh, exposing himself to danger and pain for the first time in years. James Cromwell plays the reclusive inventor of the surrogates, and Rosamund Pike plays Greer's wife, who -- after the death of their son in a car crash -- is only comfortable in her surrogate's skin.

Surrogates certainly looks great, especially the creepy artificial plastic look of the surrogates, and it's halfway decent as a thriller, but it just doesn't bother to dig deep enough into its own concept to be very satisfying.

Blu-Ray Details: Disney's Blu-Ray comes with a commentary track by director Mostow, plus a15-minute featurette on robot/avatar technology, which has some pretty creepy, real-life robots. There's a short featurette on adapting the graphic novel, deleted scenes, and a music video. This is my first official Blu-Ray review, and of course I was just stunned by the picture quality!

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