Screen Shot: ‘Surrogates’

Disney’s Surrogates is a generic affair yet it is not without value. Written and directed by the creators of this year’s Terminator: Salvation, another dystopian picture about a society in which economics and state are mixed, Surrogates poses some interesting questions. Bruce Willis stars as a cop who, paired with Radha Mitchell (Feast of Love), investigates the murder of a young man who is the son of the inventor of the robotic surrogates that everyone uses as proxies for dealing with reality. That’s about it. With an underlying theme that it takes courage to face reality while most fake reality, certainly a timely message in this text-messaging age of heads buried in technology as a religion instead of as a tool for living, Surrogates scores some points. But it gets bogged down in static characters, a lack of suspense and a thinly plotted climax. Still, borrowing from Ira Levin’s The Stepford Wives, Westworld, and, of course, Blade Runner, this slice of science fiction about a world in which everyone wears a mask, with society’s charismatic leaders urging us to “sacrifice yourself for the greater good,” offers more than most in the genre. A touch of irony: in one scene, the hero chases one government-sponsored machine by commandeering another: the Toyota Prius.

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