Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, Boris Kodjoe, James Cromwell, Ving Rhames
Woman: Agent Greer, we’re not doctors.
Tom Greer: Honey, I don’t know WHAT you are. I mean, for all I know, you could be some big fat dude sittin’ in his stem chair with his d*** hangin’ out.
In the future…at some point…a technology has been perfected which allows most of the population to stay home while living life through a “surrogate”, or human-like robot that they control. This allows people to take chances without being injured, and it decreases the spread of disease and sickness. When a weapon is discovered that can not only destroy a surrogate, but also kill the human controlling it, agents Greer (Willis) and Peters (Mitchell) must track down the killer who has been using it.
It’s always a shame to see an interesting premise being forced into the background of a movie by routine plotting and routine action sequences. I’d much rather see the day to day implications of living your life through a robot rather than the convoluted action plot that is on display here. We see glimpses of that, with Greer longing to see his wife’s actual face rather than that of her surrogate, as well as in the few scenes showing how people can live a little more uninhibited when they don’t have to worry about jeopardizing their health and safety.
There’s also a few lines here and there devoted to the idea of people losing their uniqueness and individuality, but that’s just in between the gun fights and chases when there’s time. I can’t discuss one of my main problems with the end of the movie without giving away too much, so I’ll just say, if you’d rather not read spoilers, just stop reading now.
Okay, for those who are still here. In the end, Greer is faced with the chance to do away with all the surrogates while not harming any of the humans. Since he’s been forced to live without a surrogate, he’s gained a new appreciation for what it’s like to live life as himself, so this is what he wants. He wants humanity to wake up! So, bam, he takes the opportunity and allows all surrogates to be fried. Get up everybody, get out and live your own lives! Oh…but…a big sorry to all you disabled people who were able to virtually walk through your surrogate. No more fun and freedom for you.
Yeah, the movie doesn’t even start to tackle that positive use of surrogates. Or, if it did, it was so quick that I missed it. Greer’s actions are supposed to be heroic, but who is he to make such a decision for everybody? Obviously this was something most people enjoyed and benefited from in some way, so how is he a hero for destroying something that majorly cut down the spread of disease and majorly decreased crime?
Though, maybe Greer’s not meant to be a hero. Maybe he’s just a guy who did what he thought was right at the time because he was so sad about not being able to see his actual wife for so long. The point is, the movie doesn’t ever delve deep into the issues at hand. It’s a short movie, at 89 minutes, and they clearly didn’t want to waste time on many philosophical discussions when there were helicopters to crash and robots to zap with electronic guns.
It would be pretty cool to be able to just remotely disengage from your surrogate whenever you get bored with a conversation.
10 – 3.5 for not exploring all the interesting possibilities presented with such an interesting premise – 1 for routine plot and action sequences = 5.5