Who's In It: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, Ving Rhames, James Cromwell
The Basics: In the future--meaning right now, but somewhere else, a weirdly catatonic place where you get to lie around in your pajamas all day, stewing in your own filth--you will have a perfect surrogate self, a really hot cyborg that will do everything for you. You just lie back, strap on the headset and make your sexy marionette go to work, scrub the toilet and take out the trash. But then someone will try to ruin it all with murders and corporate vengeance and a plot to kill all operators of surrogates, like if everyone playing Beatles Rock Band suddenly were to suddenly drop dead for the same reason and at the same time. Then Bruce Willis will have to put the hammer down.
What's The Deal: Yes, this could have been a lot cooler and more detailed. The day-to-day comedy of what a surrogate can and can't do, mechanical and technical glitches could have been explored. But then that might have distracted you from the urgent drama of Bruce Willis's bashed-up face and furrowed serious-brow. In other words, the robots are the eye candy but it's the Willis Show. And it's a reasonably fun, but not great, Westworld-adjacent sci-fi action movie with passing allusions to the modern world's increasing anxiety about everything and the recent exaggerated fears of aging and disease. Meanwhile, if nothing else, Willis's surrogate's freaky blond wig is pretty mesmerizing.
Speaking Of Awesome Wigs: The gift keeps on giving with Ving Rhames and his monster dreadlocks. He plays an anti-robot activist/leader who goes by the snazzy, original name of "The Prophet." That he looks like John Travolta's character in Battlefield Earth brought a smile to my face every time he was on camera. In fact, it made me want to watch Battlefield Earth (one of the most underrated WTF movies of this decade, in case you've never had the pleasure) again soon.
Best Part: When one of the surrogates gets his face stomped on and he feels nothing. He keeps laughing as his entire skull gets peeled back. It's the little things like this, details that show the filmmakers care about my need for brutal action, that make me grateful for modern Cinema.
Why It Ends Too Soon (And If You're Real Touchy About Spoilers This Might Not Be Something You Want To Read): Without giving away the final ten minutes of the film, I wished for a coda that allowed for some serious mayhem. It's a bit touchy-feely, but I get why they did it that way. Still, though, a little more chaos would have been satisfying.