Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Starring: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, Boris Kodjoe, Ving Rhames
Director: Jonathan Mostow
Release Date: 25 September 2009
Length: 89 minutes
Movie Rating: PG-13
View Format: DVD
My Rating: 3/5 stars
“Based on Robert Venditti’s graphic novel of the same name, director Jonathan Mostow’s sci-fi thriller is set in a futuristic world in which humans hibernate at home while living their lives vicariously through robot surrogates. When a series of mysterious surrogate murders occurs, FBI agent Greer (Bruce Willis) ventures out into the world for the first time in years to investigate. Radha Mitchell and Ving Rhames co-star.” — Netflix.com
This is an interesting science fiction thriller with a thought-provoking premise. If you could choose to live your life through a robotic body, leaving your corporal body safe at home, experiencing everything that your surrogate experiences, would you do it? You can pick any size, shape or color of a body. You can jump off of bridges, survive being shot, have sex with anyone without worrying about contracting a disease and experience just about anything that you can imagine. Sounds good, right? Crime goes down, the handicapped are given a new lease on life, everyone is beautiful and can accomplish amazing physical feats, but there is a price you pay. You never know what someone looks like (and they very rarely look like their surrogates), your real body is typically weak & overweight, there are no tales of human triumph and sports & competitions mean nothing because everyone has the same skills. These surrogates were created for those who were paralyzed, blind or handicapped in some other way, but they were taken away from their creator and used to change the world. But now there is a problem. Someone has discovered a way to kill you by shooting your surrogate with a special gun. Your brain literally liquefies. This shouldn’t be possible. Now the police force must investigate homicides, which they have not had to do in a long time.
So the story line and plot had a very interesting premise and there were moments of sheer genius where everything came together in the movie, but, ultimately, it was just a good movie and not a great movie. The acting was decent, nothing spectacular, but it was good. Bruce Willis plays Bruce Willis, no matter what name they give his character, as he always does when he is playing a cop. It is hard to keep his characters straight sometimes, but he really does excel at this type of role. The movie follows his dogged pursuit of justice in the face of overwhelming odds and he single-handedly defeats the bad guys and changes the world at the end. Yup, good stuff. Just not quite as good as it could have been. I would have enjoyed a more intriguing mystery. I think that, if they had chosen to focus on a specific homicide rather than the unexpected sidelines these homicides led to, that this could have been a more interesting movie. Instead, by turning the homicides into a global conspiracy, it lost a little bit of its momentum for me. The middle of the movie sagged a bit as Willis ran around investigating all kinds of things that eventually led to something in the end, but were not super interesting in and of themselves. Still, this movie was good and I enjoyed watching it.
The special effects are quite good and the action sequences are intense and powerful. There are some cool stunts as the surrogates can do things that humans cannot and walk away unharmed. I don’t think that they used this facet to its fullest extent, though, as there were plenty of opportunities to make the fight sequences more unique and original to this movie. Bottom line, this is a worthy rental that has a lot to recommend. Give it a chance – if you like science fiction thrillers, I think you will like this one.
This movie contains a lot of violence and death. Most of the fighting and action sequences takes place between surrogates so it is not necessarily supposed to have an impact or be quite as disturbing, but the robotic surrogates look like humans and get damaged a lot like people. They also show the real people hooked up to the surrogates dying, including blood coming out of their ears, etc. There are a lot of fighting sequences, including scenes between humans, bodyguards beating up on cops, shooting, stabbing and more. There is some strong language (they are the police force, you know), some sexually-charged scenes and a drug-related scene. That said, this movie did not feel extremely violent or inappropriate to me. I thought that the action moved the plot forward and was well done. Recommended for ages 14 and up.