Sunday, October 11, 2009

335) Surrogates (2009)

335) Surrogates (2009) Dir: Jonathan Mostow Date Released: September 2009 Date Seen: October 10, 2009 Rating: 2.25/5

"Perfectly adequate," would be how I'd describe the previous work of director Jonathan Mostow. If memory serves me well, both U-571 and Terminator 3 were fine enough but neither one worth writing home about (Hell, I prefer Terminator 4 to 3 and some people flat out hate 4). Surrogates, an adaptation of Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele's comic by the same name, isn't that much of a step backward for Mostow but it's enough to make his normally slick but forgettable style completely inconsequential. The procedural plot in the film is too sluggish and there's never enough incentive to care about Bruce Willis' character's concerns regarding the disconnect between humans and "Surrogates," robot shells that almost everyone now uses to look and feel trendier, smarter, better.

With no urgency behind its simplistic moralizing--cosmetic changes in one's appearances, robotic or otherwise, are only skin-deep, da-hoik!--the only thing to possibly recommend Surrogates is the vain hope that you could just soak up the alien-ness of the film's world. If only there were more detail in the film to go by. Science fiction writers are constantly put to task for ignoring the "science" in their stories. Surrogates goes one step further, not even bothering to fill in small but substantial plotholes--If humans can feel pleasure from their "Surrogates," why can't they feel pain when their "Surrogates" are mauled? Willis looked pretty unfazed after his "Surrogate" lost an arm-- or establish how "Surrogates" caught on so quickly (If they were originally intended for medical use, how did they get okayed for mass consumption? How are so many people able to afford these things? I mean, these things can't be cheap.). Bad science fiction films like this one are the worst because they tease you with a fun premise and then do nothing with it.

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