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Surrogates

If actors are occasionally accused of succumbing to vanity then Surrogates would perhaps appeal to their tastes. By playing automations presenting themselves in a blank monotone manner, it becomes difficult judging their performances.  Whilst this would sink lesser films Surrogates uses this to its advantage.  In creating a world of make-believe, it explores how humanity can become lost in the quest for the body beautiful.
In 2017 society has embraced the new ‘Surrogate’ technology.  Allowing people to stay at home while their android replacements go about their daily tasks, the invention has changed lives.  Some are unhappy with this and when the son of the manufacturer is murdered, the FBI are called.  Sending its top agents, Greer (Bruce Willis) and Peters (Radha Mitchell), they attempt to unmask the killer against a tide of technological warfare.
Briskly directed by action auteur Jonathan Mostow, Surrogates is an enjoyable comeback.  Last seen putting Arnie through his paces in Terminator 3, Mostow’s direction of Surrogates feels like a natural successor.  Where the former pitted humans against computers, Surrogates finds the machines have taken over.  In this case a populace’s lust for perfection has won over any need for real personal contact.  The theme of using technology to escape reality isn’t anything new but Mostow keeps events moving rapidly with any crucial exposition given during its many explosive sequences.
You have to admire a film able to balance messages with its action.  That it does so well is a credit for everyone involved, in particular Bruce Willis, who still has the skills to portray a believable hero.  He is a much better actor than given credit which is perhaps why he has lasted the distance.  While most of his action generation have quietly retired, he continues to expand his action persona in new directions.  Surrogates provides plenty of moments for his famed gunplay and quips, although importantly the concept is effectively used to its fullest potential.  This generates some genuine suspense with the constant cat and mouse game-playing an intriguing spectacle.
Surrogates is a very entertaining sci-fi-/action combination using some brains as well as brawn.  Although it may be predictable in places, its muscular and lean direction ensures Willis’ latest is amongst his most memorable.
Rating out of 10:  7 

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