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I got to see this film at the weekend on DVD. And, it wasn’t too bad – from the reviews I was expecting worse.

It’s directed by Jonathan Mostow, who made a right hash of Terminator, so it wasn’t a promising start. Never-the-less, the plot is interesting, with lots of twists and, in particular, the “world” of the film is particularly well made.

Okay, the idea here is that human looking robots have been made, but unlike the film “I, Robot”, they’re not intelligent. Instead, humans control them – they can see through their eyes and feel what they feel. Over time, people have started using these “Surrogates” in the real world instead of venturing out. It’s safer and crime rates have plummeted as a result.

Bruce Willis plays Tom Greer, a cop (hurrah!) – his Surrogate is much younger looking (think of the de-aging process they used in X-Men: The Last Stand) and has hair – see the image to the right. Indeed, Surrogates by and large are young and good looking (and sometimes not even the same sex as the “operator”). He stumbles across a weapon that will not only destroy a Surrogate but kill its operator. That then leads across a number of set pieces, with lots of action thrown in as well.

There’s, sadly, a lot of weird posturing about his relationship with his wife, how he never sees her anymore, etc. It seems to come from nowhere and there appears to be a reference to her being on medicine that isn’t then explored. However, the graphic novel that the film is based on provides the answer to this. However, an action sci-fi film doesn’t seem to be the natural place to add in an almost redundant bit of drama into – it just didn’t sit right.

Anyway, the affects are excellent and the Surrogates are portrayed well – very human but, at the same time, not quite so. I particularly like the way that Greer’s partner had a strange gait when walking (I hope that was intentional!).

Lastly, I’m sure one the actions at the end of the film was inconsistant with something that happens earlier. This contains spoilers, so look away now if you don’t want to know…

[box]When Stone shows Greer’s partner Peters how he can “buffer” a Surrogate, the operator (i.e. human) was instantly disconnected from their Surrogate and the Surrogate became lifeless. At the end when the same action is performed, but this time across all Surrogates, the Surrogates appear to continue to be in use. [/box] [review]It’s good. Not brilliant, but good. Good effects, good plot, but it felt like Bruce was just playing this “by numbers”. The fact that he refused to return to do some dubbing work on the film I guess shows how much it meant to him.

There was very little in the film that meant it deserved the 12A certificate and I’m sure it could easily have been trimmed back to a PG without losing any of the content – either that or they could have easily kept the certification but made it more “gritty”.

It’s also not very long – 1.5 hours – but, at least, if you don’t like it you haven’t lost too much of your life ;)[/review]

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