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"SURROGATES"
(2009) (Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Heavy Extreme Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Heavy None Moderate
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy None Heavy Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Sci-fi/Thriller: In a world where robotic surrogates stand in for real people who control them via remote neurological connections, an FBI agent must go out into the real world as he tries to solve a number of highly unusual murders where the death of such surrogates also results in the demise of their owners.
PLOT:
Thanks to the pioneering research work done by scientist Lionel Canter (JAMES CROMWELL), most people now experience the world through and are represented by more perfect, robotic surrogates of themselves. Controlled by neurological connections when the users are positioned in stem chairs, the surrogates, built by the VSI corporation, do most of the work while also allowing their owners to live out fantasies or simply escape the realities of their lives.

Maggie Greer (ROSAMUND PIKE) is one of those people, as she escapes into her alternate persona as a way of dealing with the loss of her son, while her FBI agent husband, Tom (BRUCE WILLIS), immerses himself in his work alongside his agency partner, Jennifer Peters (RADHA MITCHELL). They normally don't have much to do, what with crime and other social ills nearly absent from everyday life, but that changes when a hitman, Miles Strickland (JACK NOSEWORTHY), kills a surrogate, resulting in the death of the user.

Not only has that never occurred before, but the victim just so happens to be the son of Canter who was fired from his company years earlier and no longer is a fan of their work. The same holds true for groups of human protestors led by The Prophet (VING RHAMES) who believes surrogates are an abomination. With all of that potentially involved, and with the aid of human network controller Bobby (DEVIN RATRAY), the FBI agents start their investigation under the supervision of their boss, Andrew Stone (BORIS KODJOE).

But when Tom breaks the rules while pursuing Strickland and ends up losing his surrogate, he's suspended. From that point on, he must then go out into the real world for himself as he tries to get to the bottom of what's really occurring, all while hoping to reconnect with his estranged and emotionally distant wife.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
The sci-fi angle might draw in some, while fans of Willis and/or anyone else in the cast might entice others.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For intense sequences of violence, disturbing images, language, sexuality and a drug-related scene.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • BRUCE WILLIS plays an FBI agent who initially immerses himself in his work, in surrogate form, as a way of dealing with his young son's death sometime in the past. When he starts working on a murder case and loses his surrogate, he must go out into the real world himself and try to get to the bottom of what's occurring, all while hoping to reconnect with his wife who's really just in an adjacent room, but is otherwise a world apart in surrogate form.
  • RADHA MITCHELL plays his work partner who's also on the murder case, in surrogate form.
  • ROSAMUND PIKE plays Tom's wife, mostly seen in surrogate form that she uses to escape from her grief over their young son's death. It's implied that she cheats on Tom in surrogate mode.
  • BORIS KODJOE plays Tom and Jennifer's boss, mostly shown in surrogate form.
  • JAMES CROMWELL plays the inventor of the surrogates who was fired from his company and is now determined to right his past wrongs, as well as avenge his son's murder, no matter the cost to others.
  • VING RHAMES plays the leader of the human protestors who are against surrogates. He and/or his goons are responsible for at least one death.
  • JACK NOSEWORTHY plays the human hitman hired to kill Canter through his surrogate, and he ends up killing his son and others.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this sci-fi based thriller. Profanity consists of at least 1 "s" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered, and there's a line of sexually related dialogue. Some robotic surrogates (that otherwise appear human) are seen fooling around (one partially seen in sexy lingerie), while other scantly clad ones are seen.

    Violence consists of characters killing humans as well as those surrogate robots (and thus their human counterparts elsewhere), while others are damaged. There's some brief military war footage, as well as a bad helicopter crash, and the striking of others. Various instances of that have bloody results, while green "blood' (machine fluid) comes from surrogates and some are seen with some of the "flesh" missing down to the metal structure below.

    Some/all of that might be unsettling and/or suspenseful to some viewers, while the action and other behavior might be enticing for some kids to imitate. Bad attitudes are present, as are various scenes involving tense family material Surrogates get high from some sort of futuristic bong that uses an electrical charge rather than pot, while brief drinking is seen.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there are partial strobe effects in a club.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are varying amounts of camera movement in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Miscellaneous people have drinks in a club.
  • Some surrogates with Maggie's surrogate get high from applying a charged bong-like device to their throats that give them an electrical charge. Tom confronts her about that, asking how long she's been "jacking up" with them, but she says she doesn't do that. He retrieves a bottle of liquor and exits the scene, but we don't see any consumption.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see blood from a dead person's mouth.
  • We see deactivated surrogates that are missing their eyes (charred eye sockets are there).
  • We see another real person dead in their stem chair, with blood on their face and shirt (and hear that their brain was liquefied in their skull). We then see photos of this person and the previous one, both showing blood on the victims.
  • A surrogate comes to life, stating (via the unseen real user) that he was in the can (bathroom).
  • We see green mechanical fluid from Tom's surrogate after his arm is torn off, while the real Tom has a bloody nose from that and other contact his surrogate experiences.
  • We see the now deactivated and quite damaged Tom surrogate strung up in a crucified pose.
  • We see a funeral pyre lit and a dead man's hair burn away as his body is then engulfed in flames.
  • One of The Prophet's goons punches Tom in the face, followed by another kicking him, and then both men repeatedly kicking Tom, leaving him with a cut and bloody face.
  • It's implied that Maggie's surrogate is cheating on Tom. As a result, Tom smashes a chair over the surrogate and then proceeds to punch and stomp him down to his metal skeletal face. Following that, Maggie's surrogate has some blood on her face.
  • Tom has some dried cuts, scrapes and a partial black eye on his face.
  • Humans exchange gunfire with soldiers who've arrived looking for a weapon, and some humans and one surrogate are hit by gunfire (with a little bit of blood spurting out from the real ones).
  • Tom jams something into the back of a surrogate's head, shorting out the robot (we see the hole back there and again later).
  • A surrogate uses the futuristic weapon to zap and fry another surrogate, thus killing his real user elsewhere (with blood on that man and his stem chair).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Strickland is hired to kill Canter by killing his surrogate. He ends up killing his adult son by mistake, as well as others.
  • We hear that Strickland has a previous record of armed robbery.
  • Bobby watches surveillance footage of two men manhandling a woman in a motel room (she appears scantly clad), and Bobby uses his computer to deactivate the two male surrogates before one hits the woman.
  • We see the now deactivated and quite damaged Tom surrogate strung up in a crucified pose (some viewers might not like the visual symbolism).
  • It's implied The Prophet or his goons killed Strickland.
  • It's implied that Maggie's surrogate is cheating on Tom. As a result, Tom smashes a chair over the surrogate and then proceeds to punch and stomp him down to his metal skeletal face.
  • We learn that an FBI agent is corrupt and ordered a murder.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and/or "Blood/Gore" may be unsettling and/or suspenseful to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • Tom, in another person's surrogate, tries to stop a plan that's already in process where all surrogates will be zapped, thus also killing their human controllers. He manages to halt that for a moment, but must then choose whether to abort the overall plan as the clock ticks down to its final activation.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Automatic weapons and/or Machine guns/Futuristic overload weapon/Missiles: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others and/or cause property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • A soldier carries a machine gun.
  • Tom's surrogate spots that a security guard is wearing a handgun under his jacket.
  • Cops or FBI agents come looking for Tom with their handguns drawn.
  • A man holds a handgun on Tom and fires a warning shot by him to prove he's serious.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "No sh*t," "With his d*ck hanging out," "Get lost, meat-bag," "Jackass," "Crappy," "Kick some ass," "Dreads" (humans), "Crazy bastard" and "Frickin.'"
  • The stunts and other action might be enticing for some kids to try to imitate.
  • Canter's young adult son goes into a club, goes out onto some sort of platform and dives down into the crowd, as if to be caught. No one does, but he immediately pops up and is okay as he's a surrogate.
  • We see a punker surrogate with spiked hair.
  • Bobby belches in an exaggerated fashion.
  • A man takes a suicide pill and quickly dies.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of action-oriented, heavily dramatic, and some suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None heard, but a song in a club had lyrics we couldn't fully hear and/or understand, thus presenting the possibility of it potentially containing something objectionable.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "s" word, 1 slang term using male genitals ("d*ck"), 1 ass, 1 crap, 1 damn, 1 S.O.B., 3 uses each of "Jesus" and "Oh my God," 2 of "My God" and "Oh God" and 1 use each of "For God's sakes" and "Swear to God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see miscellaneous cleavage.
  • Among the benefits we hear about the use of robotic surrogates is that the rate of communicable diseases (not specified) is down.
  • In a promo piece for surrogates, we see a shapely model in a bikini (seen again later), while a couple are seen lying together on their stomachs, clothed and smiling at the camera, with the woman alongside and possibly partially atop the man.
  • Canter's young adult son goes into a club where we see a man nuzzling on a woman while another woman is right there with them. The young man then exits with a woman out into an alley where there's some passionate kissing, caressing and such (we see a rear view of her sexy lingerie that's exposed). We then learn that both are surrogates, and once they're damaged and deactivated, we see a view looking down on the front of the female one in that lingerie (bra, panties and garters).
  • A surrogate shows cleavage, while non-activated male and female mannequin versions behind Tom's surrogate are just in their underwear or the like (nothing explicit). About the active one, Tom's surrogate sarcastically states he doesn't know who her real user is, stating she could be a big fat dude sitting in a stem chair "with his d*ck hanging out."
  • Bobby watches surveillance footage of two men manhandling a woman in a motel room (she appears scantly clad), and Bobby uses his computer to deactivate the two male surrogates before one hits the woman.
  • Maggie's surrogate shows cleavage.
  • We see miscellaneous cleavage.
  • We see some scantly clad female surrogate models (deactivated) in a store, as well as a shirtless male one.
  • We see a female form of a surrogate model on a computer monitor (shapes, but no explicit details).
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Tom's surrogate looks in his late son's bedroom, spotting a photo of the boy and his mom. He then chats with Maggie's surrogate, saying they don't spend much time together, but she says they do as surrogates and that it's better that way, but that answer doesn't make Tom's surrogate happy.
  • Canter grieves over the murder of his adult son and that drives some of his revenge.
  • Tom states that his son died in a car accident (sometime in the past).
  • It's implied that Maggie's surrogate is cheating on Tom. As a result, Tom smashes a chair over the surrogate and then proceeds to punch and stomp him down to his metal skeletal face. The spouses have it out, with Maggie's surrogate acting defiant, but we then see her real self, crying over this.
  • Tom and Maggie's surrogate argue about how they're dealing with the past loss of their son, with Maggie's surrogate saying living through her surrogate is the only way she can cope.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The film's metaphor of technology that's designed to free people ending up enslaving them to it.
  • How people end up interacting with others more on a virtual sense, and less in a physical one.
  • Dealing with loss.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Strickland blasts a surrogate with an overload device, short-circuiting the robot (we only see the flashes of light from an alley). That's followed by a vehicle crashing, overturning and smashing two people against a wall (they turn out to be surrogates). We then see that a real person that had been using one of those surrogates is dead in his stem chair, with blood from his mouth.
  • We see another real person dead in their stem chair, with blood on their face and shirt (and hear that their brain was liquefied in their skull). We then see photos of this person and the previous one, both showing blood on the victims.
  • We see military footage showing surrogate soldiers running about as machine guns are fired, explosions go off around them, and helicopters and fighter jets fire missiles. During this, one surrogate is hit.
  • Bobby watches surveillance footage of two men manhandling a woman in a motel room (she appears scantly clad), and Bobby uses his computer to deactivate the two male surrogates before one hits the woman.
  • Police chase after Strickland who's on a motorcycle, causing one car to crash into another. Strickland ends up wiping out after going down some steps, but he then uses his futuristic weapon to zap various police surrogates, electrocuting them (and thus kills their users elsewhere). He then fires the same at a helicopter carrying Tom's surrogate and a pilot, with the latter also being fried. That sends the chopper careening out of control and it crashes, causing lots of property damage before exploding. During the crash, Tom's surrogate was thrown out, and we then see him missing most of his arm (with green mechanical fluid coming out). Despite that, Tom's surrogate then chases after Strickland, leaping and bounding with superhuman abilities, but he misses one jump and crashes and smashes into various things while falling a long distance. After being struck hard by a truck, the robot confronts Strickland, but a shotgun blast from a woman blows him backwards, followed by her shooting him in the head (we don't see that impact). Due to all of that, Tom has a bloody nose back in his home.
  • One of The Prophet's goons punches Tom in the face, followed by another kicking him, and then both men repeatedly kicking Tom, leaving him with a cut and bloody face.
  • It's implied that Maggie's surrogate is cheating on Tom. As a result, Tom smashes a chair over the surrogate and then proceeds to punch and stomp him down to his metal skeletal face.
  • A surrogate shoots a real user (we don't see the impact) so that another person can take over her surrogate.
  • Humans exchange gunfire with soldiers who've arrived looking for a weapon, and some humans and one surrogate are hit by gunfire (with a little bit of blood spurting out from the real ones).
  • Tom jams something into the back of a surrogate's head, shorting out the robot (we see the hole back there and again later).
  • A surrogate drives and is aware of another vehicle that smashes into her car, dazing Tom who's her passenger. Realizing she's bad, he then takes the damaged car and tries to drive over her, causing other property damage along the way. She avoids that and throws a parking meter head at him, with it smashing through the windshield and just passing by him. He then continues his pursuit, driving over other surrogates, while bumping another car on which the surrogate is atop. That car crashes and she flies off, eventually ending up on Tom's roof, with him firing his handgun up through the roof trying to hit her. He then crashes through the front of a building.
  • A surrogate hits Bobby on the head, and later aims a handgun at him while he's cuffed and his mouth is covered with tape.
  • A surrogate uses the futuristic weapon to zap and fry another surrogate, thus killing his real user elsewhere (with blood on that man and his stem chair).
  • A surrogate grabs Tom's arm hard and squeezes, prompting Tom to shoot the robot repeatedly with a handgun.
  • A man takes a suicide pill and quickly dies.
  • A cop or soldier shoots a surrogate in the head, with green fluid coming out.
  • As all surrogates are deactivated and collapse, several vehicles they're driving crash.
  • Tom kicks open a door.



  • Reviewed September 23, 2009 / Posted September 25, 2009

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