Surrogates | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper


Another entertaining chapter in the man-vs.-robot saga

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In the near-future, folks are living fabulous lives. Thanks to a nifty invention originally designed to help the physically disabled, everybody can just lounge around in jammies hooked up to a machine, while their robotic surrogates live life for them. The surrogates are so universally good-looking that crime has plummeted. (This isn't fully explained, but maybe everybody just feels better about themselves.) But when the surrogate of a high-profile human is murdered (circuit-fried, really), and the human dies too, that signals new trouble. Enter FBI agent Greer (Bruce Willis, who has to wear a lot of make-up and fake hair to play his own "perfect" surrogate). The obvious suspects are from the meat world, those few humans who eschew surrogates and seek revolution. So, Greer de-surrogates, and starts to crack a giant corporate conspiracy. Jonathan Mostow's sci-fi-ish actioner is adapted from Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele's graphic novel. There's enough thematic veneer -- humanity vs. robots, out-of-control technology -- to keep this pulpy story afloat. After playing this gruff cop role for 20-plus years, Willis is completely believable ... as a guy playing a cop. Surrogates moves quickly -- it's 86 minutes, the perfect length for a familiar but mostly satisfying piece of dystopic entertainment.



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