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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, Boris Kodjoe, Jack Noseworthy, James Cromwell and Ving Rhames
Touchstone Pictures
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 01 February 2010

FBI agent Tom Greer lives in a world where robotic surrogates stand in for people, protecting them from violence, contagion - and the appearance of aging. These picture perfect, real-life avatars - fit, good-looking, remotely controlled machines that assume their operator’s life role - enable the population to experience life vicariously from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Greer and his partner, Agent Peters, are called in to probe the mysterious death of a college student, whose life ended when his surrogate was destroyed. When Greer’s surrogate is damaged in the investigation, he ventures out of his apartment for the first time in decades. In a world of masks, Greer must decide who is real and who can be trusted...

Surrogates is based on the five-issue comic book mini-series The Surrogates produced in 2005/2006. The movie has been given the usual Hollywood spit and polish to make it a more uplifting experience than the original source. The main difference is that the ending is a lot more tragic for Greer and his wife in the comic book. In addition the twists make more sense in the comic book - in the movie they seem a little silly.

The comic book is set in 2054 whereas, I assume for budgetary reasons, the events in the film take place in 2017. Not that this really makes a huge difference to the plot. The basic premise revolves around the human populations reliance on surrogates. Surrogates are perfect robot bodies which mankind can connect to, living their lives from the confines of their homes while they hook their consciousness into their surrogates, which they then send out into the real world.

The benefits are obvious. You can be anyone you want to be - which has resulted in a world full of aesthetically pleasing bodies walking around the streets; You are virtually indestructible - you can do anything you want while in the surrogate body and if the body is destroyed you simply purchase another one; and, because everyone has everything they've ever dreamed of, the crime rate has fallen dramatically.

But not everyone is happy with the direction in which mankind is heading. Groups, known as Dreads, have begun forming. These outcrops of human resistance have started to create safe areas where robots are not welcome.

When two surrogates are killed by a weapon that kills not only the robot body but the human controller too, the police are called in. Tom Greer and his partner Agent Peters are called in to uncover who is behind the murders and why. As the investigation continues everything leads back to the company that designs and builds the surrogate systems.

Ironically enough, it does appear that the movie producers have attempted to concentrate more on the aesthetics of the movie rather than develop a deep and interesting plot. The action sequences are impressive, and just the sort of thing you'd expect from a Hollywood blockbuster, but the storytelling suffers as a consequence.

But while the script is pretty thin, and the twists in the movie make little sense, if you let yourself go with it, the action and suspense will make this an enjoyable viewing experience for most.

Extras include an audio commentary with director Jonathan Mostow; 'I Will Not Bow' Music Video by Breaking Benjamin (3 min, 39 sec) and trailers for other movies.


Darren Rea

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