Bruce Willis returns to the big screen two years after his last starring role in Live Free or Die Hard. Unfortunately, his new movie Surrogates opened to a very disappointing $15 million. Given its pricey $80 million budget, this is yet the latest flop in what seems to be becoming a weekly trend.
It's too bad because this film could have been something really special. Its premise is so promising that while watching the film I felt disappointed in its reliance on cliched action sequences and recycled scenes of political mumbo jumbo. Here's a movie where you have one of the biggest stars in the world playing his vintage type of character (a cop), and this is the best script you can come up with? It's not terrible, but man could it have been so much better.
Willis plays Tom Grier, a detective in a world where surrogates (a robot you control so you can live your life from the safety of your own home) rule the streets. A surrogate can look and act anyway you want it to so long as it obeys the law. Therefore, Tom Grier isn't really a detective until halfway through the film, when he starts to learn the true meaning of life and wants to put an end to surrogacy for good. Don't worry, I'm not giving anything away. That's what the film is about. In fact, you probably already know more than that given the theatrical trailer's ridiculous amount of spoilers.
The movie begins with a murder, one where a real person dies when connected to their surrogate. Dealing with an unprecedented situation, Tom Grier, for the first time in a long time, must disable himself from his surrogate and venture out into the real world on his own. With the help of his FBI agent partner Peters (Radha Mitchell), Tom discovers the dark secrets of a world run by machines.
Surrogates is only 89 minutes long. I'm not saying it should have been longer, because I am glad it ended when it did, but I wish the script would have allowed its main character to grow more before being forced into a situation the story isn't ready to give him. Tom only has a few moments as his real self before he ventures out into the real world. There should have been more drama when dealing with a such a life-changing transition. Why not focus on this character's growth rather than trying to give such a universal message? We know machines can be a bad thing, so don't remind us unless there is a reason. Surrogates has all the pieces for a worthy addition to the science-fiction genre, but it can't quite put it together.