Posted September 28, 2009 in Film

From the writing and directing team that brought you Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines comes Bruce Willis’ latest turn to save the world—a wedge of pure pulp with just enough men vs. mechanics philosophy that an early Phillip K. Dick would totally dig it. Every sci-fi and action flick cliché is crammed into this script, and director Jonathan Mostow couldn’t give a damn if you’ve seen them all before. He might not do them better, but he’ll do them well enough. Willis stars as a cop, or really, a robot recreation of himself as a cop who does the dirty, dangerous work while the actual wastes away in his bedroom. Willis’ idealized self, his “surrogate,” is him, only better. Not only can he survive a deadly crash, leap over trailers in a single bound and chase bad guys without even fretting over a missing arm, he’s younger and smoother, too. (This isn’t a satire, but you know everyone on set knew that robot Willis’ foppish blonde wig was hilarious.) His wife (Rosamund Pike), partner (Radha Mitchell), boss (Boris Kodjoe) and neighbors all use surrogates, too. (The cast is airbrushed to eerie perfection—the producers must have been thrilled to hire the most physically flawless extras.) In fact, the only people who don’t use surrogates are “meat bags,” wrinkled, sloppy bumpkin-hippies led by The Prophet (Ving Rhames) who pledges to unplug society’s upper echelons. Someone turns out to already be on the job—the creator of an Overload Device that sends such an electric shock through the surrogates that it liquefies their operators’ brains. Can Willis rescue humanity? Do you really need to ask? Just grab the biggest popcorn the multiplex has and follow the relentlessly entertaining flick’s lead by checking your free will at the lobby door. 


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