Mobile Virtual Presence Device
When I first heard about "Surrogates" and heard that Bruce Willis was cast in the role of FBI agent Greer I predicted something, that was we would have Willis playing a conflicted cop with a troubled past who at some point will do the action thing, running with the gun etc etc. And I wasn't wrong because that's what we get, Willis playing a role which at times is very similar to countless other roles that he has played every since he starred in "Die Hard". But thankfully that is not all there is to "Surrogates" because we have the concept, that of people hiding in their homes but living life through robots. It's not a new idea and quite frankly "Surrogates" doesn't explore the depths of it like other movies have but it does provide an element of intrigue and something more when it comes to the action.
In the future mankind has turned to living life from the safety of their home, plugging into a system where they live life through robotic surrogates. But when not only does a surrogate but its owner show up dead it shocks the authorities as crime had been almost totally wiped out thanks to this new form of living. As FBI agent Greer (Bruce Willis - Die Hard 4.0) investigates the murder he discovers that there is more to it than there first seems and will have to risk going outside as himself rather than through his surrogate to get to the bottom of things.
One of the best parts of "Surrogates" is the opening which gives a quick history as to how 95% of mankind have taken to hiding in their homes and living life through a robot. It actually provides some good reasoning as we learn that the technology was invented to help those who were genuinely home bound, then used by the miliatry before becoming exploited for the mass public. You almost believe that if someone ever invented this sort of system then the development could take that route and at the same time we witness the minority of mankind who disagree with this robot living rallying against it.
Now I don't know whether it was intentional but when we first meet one of these robot beings it is quite comical as all the men look like they have had bad hair transplants and gone OTT on botox, yet the women look far more natural. And seeing agent Greer's robot is just as comical because a smooth skinned Bruce Willis looks seriously wrong.
Anyway get past that initial comedy of these not so life like beings and we get to two things, the story of who is killing not just the robots but the robot owners and how surrogate living has changed mankind. As already mentioned it is not the most in-depth look at how this futuristic technology would change mankind but does make a few interesting and entertaining observations. From having a fat man in his home living life as a fit young woman to how people, even married couples don't interact like they use to, don't feel things like they use to. It is very light on this observational stuff and doesn't make massive statements when it comes to how technology could affect mankind but does enough to make you think.
But of course the main element to "Surrogates" is the solving of the crime, who is killing surrogates and their owners and why. It doesn't take a genius to fathom it out quite early on but at least it doesn't serve things up on a plate to get your thoughts confirmed. You do have to pay attention and think about things a little but not to the point that it will tax your brains and most of the time you can just enjoy the action. Talking of which there is plenty of action but it doesn't dominate the movie, we get some stereotypical Bruce Willis action moments, but then you get a moment to breathe and focus on the story.
As for Bruce Willis well it's not his most memorable of performances but he doesn't do anything wrong, just a stereotypical role as a lawman with issues. And the same can be said of the rest of the cast as whilst there is James Cromwell, Ving Rhames, Rosamund Pike and Radha Mitchell there isn't any stand out performance or characters.
What this all boils down to is that "Surrogates" is an entertaining bit of action/ sci-fi. It may use a concept of people living via robots but it doesn't have a lot of depth and instead delivers a rather routine crime story pepped up by some entertaining but not that memorable action.