Bruce Willis looks deep into The Matrix and sees some Strange Days ahead as he flees a Blade Runner in this "original" sci-fi film, Surrogates.

Surrogates: A surrogate for a thrice-born story

by Joseph "Jay Dub" Wade

Taken on their own, Bruce Willis, director Jonathan Mostow, Walt Disney Pictures, and a decent graphic novel are at the very least mildly tolerable. Together, I expect that they'll make for a decent afternoon at the movies...

...but instead, all of these things come together to form the perfect storm of boring. Surrogates presents a future in which 99 percent of the world's population (think on THAT one for a few minutes) operate robotic avatars from the safety of their own homes. The robots look like flawless humans -- bad-ass supermodel versions of our own boring, ugly selves. Sounds pretty cool, eh? Well, when the son of the surrogates' inventor is murdered by his own robot, detective Tom Greer (Bruce Willis) is called on to track down the murderer.

Have I killed your interest yet? Because this is precisely where I started tuning out. Such an excellent concept is hit over the back of the head with a shovel and stuffed into the trunk like a dead body to make way for a standard, run-of-the-mill murder mystery. What's worse, if you're one of the twelve people who actually remembers I, Robot, you'll instantly recognize about half of the plot elements on display. Hell, James Cromwell plays the exact same character.

If there's anything positive I can say for Surrogates, it's that Bruce Willis' surrogate rocks a pretty wicked hairpiece. Dude's hair hasn't looked this good since his days on Moonlighting. However, reminders of great '80s sitcoms do not make a great sci-fi film. Neither, as it turns out, do bland rip-offs of Blade Runner. Looks like I'd better rethink my upcoming action-thriller, Cops vs. Robots.


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