In the future, everyone has a sexy robot version of themselves that they pilot around to avoid being ugly. A side effect of this is no one can actually die, until Jack Noseworthy shows up with a what appears to be an industrial flashlight that fries users through their robots.
Welcome to the world Surrogates.
The whole living through robots thing sucks all the life out of the whole movie. If the characters are never in danger, where's the excitement? Nowhere, dammit. Surrogates commits the cardinal sin of making a boring action movie, which is a shame because director Jonathan Mostow directed the very exciting U-571 and the somewhat exciting Terminator 3, so his next movie is sure to be a grand achievement in the realm of boring.
The main failure of this movie is not knowing what the audience wants and expects. In Surrogates, everyone has been worked over with that CGI smoothing technique they used in X-men 3 to make Xavier and Magneto young again. It works fine for a minute or so, but more than half a movie with it, and you realize just how plastic the technique makes people look. Not only do we not want dull action movies, we do want Bruce Willis to be bald and grizzled. He's made his career out of being a wise cracking tough guy, and seeing him smoothed out with bright pink lips and a bad blond hair piece is just disturbing. You know that one guy holding onto to youth too hard? Computer generated hussy Willis looks like that, but creepier.
You can be anything with these surrogates? Why doesn't the world look more like Second Life? Oh, because no one would want to see that movie. . .
The movie I did want to see, tucked away inside Surrogates, was about the rebel faction that refuses to use surrogates and are second-class citizens as a result. How do they undermine the rest of the world if they are completely out numbered by android puppets that are ten times as durable as they are? (With shotguns, to start)
All of those questions go unanswered, and I grew stiff with boredom as I realized that anything bad that happened to most of the main characters was that they would get kicked off an online video game. You use a surrogate, you probably run the risk of a host of other issues as well, like diabetes, weird sexual fetishes and demonstrating a super exaggerated version of John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory , but none of that makes me want to pay attention to you.
After meandering around a murder mystery in a way that telegraphed the conclusion in the first ten minutes, Bruce Willis...
[slider title="spoiler"] saves everyone from being killed but destroys all the surrogates in a comic scene where they all just fall over with hysterical clangs and clinks around the extremely clean version of the city of Boston. Now everyone can live their lives the way god intended, the end.[/slider]