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'Surrogates'. How do you like your fish and chips? [User Review]

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Bitter,Bitterometer,meter Surrogates 

Would a fish-and-chips be your decent night out meal? Would it? Not really to most of us, unless you are one of those odd breeds, you know, cuppa tea, walk-in-fog, Marry Poppin kind. You won’t take your first date sexy animal to it; you won’t have it for a romantic anniversary night out; you won’t remember it as the meal of your life.

But what if I tell you it is THE fish-and-chips? What if the chips are house-cut, using in season Spunta or Nicola potatoes, lightly seasoned and beer battered? What if the fish is the catch of the day, house-fillet RockCod? What if herbs and spices are home-grown? How about chips decent fried, golden and lightly brown, crispy outside and creamy inside? And fish coat flaky and juice burst out when you first bite? How about a wage of organic lemon on the side?

If this is the case, would you change your mind and make it a decent night out meal? Now you are thinking…

Enough food talk. This is a movie site.

‘Surrogate’ is a decent effort for its kind. I mean, for the same ‘sci-fi/thriller’ genre we have countless attempts where fish taste dead, chips are soggy, over salted and oil don’t even taste fresh. ‘Surrogate’ determined to stand out from those that gives take-way food bad names and to make a difference.

In the near future we have people using mind controlling robots to do our day-to-day jobs. Human are unfit, drugs filled and scared of reality outside of the window. The robots they employ to represent themselves are always looking spotlessly young, physically capable and attractive, and it is completely safe to have them step into danger while the host is sitting in some darkroom chair and coughing germs and scratching crotch.

With the Surrogate you can be anyone you wanted to be. Until trouble comes and Mr. Bruce Willies comes along with it and another world is saved again.

Director Jonathan Mostow obviously learnt from the T-3 experience and understand the key to Sci-Fi/Thriller is to keep it lean. Who go to a Sci-Fi/Thriller movie expecting some 3-tier drama complex? ‘Surrogate’ has good music, good colour and good looking actors. The introduction of the Surrogate technology is fare and believable; the story is nicely paced with the focus constantly heading to where the story goes. Who cares about the background of how the hero’s son died? Do I want to watch a flash-back video on how happy they family are on a park swing or beach side? No. and Surrogate trimmed all that out, only leave the meaty part. Bruce and Radha and Rosa all look very attractive and believable (can’t believe I say that about bruce) and of course we have James Cromwell. The movie has enough ‘Terminator’ moments and no shaky cams. On top of the execution, we are constantly remind of the irony that how the virtual world feel nice and real but are actually different from the real, and how people can be addicted and lost self-identity and forget who they really are, just like our MMORPG players and facebook/twitter addicts.

Wow, a Sci-fi/Thriller movie with a message! It all sounds so nice…

Plot holes hurt the movie. Writer of the movie obviously need to take on some science lectures cos you need to apply some logic to the technology to make it believable to build a movie on. It is wrong to give everything out but also wrong to give nothing, but nothing is worse than grabbing a chicken leg and a ham and tape them together at the last minute and expect the movie viewers to ‘understand’. It calls for ‘lazy’ and is a common tag for this movie genre. Repeat after me people, it is called ‘LAZY’.

The story, while having a message and building a thrill, taste familiar. Not really thrilling enough, really, it is almost an expected outcome. And the ‘lost in virtual world’ idea, sorry, is no longer new. Sitting through the movie I kept telling myself, ‘this looks alright but I have seen this somewhere already!’. And that is not a good thing. And US is seriously calling for a weapon control.

And we come to a big cheesy ending. Honestly, when you have Bruce Willies in a Sci-fi what do you expect? This ‘push this button and the world will be alright’ plot and all problems are solved really gets my nerve. Of course we are going back to that ‘LAZY’ tag again, but LAZY does not compare to this. Everyone uses MSG in their food from time to time, but this is Microwaved-Suparmaket-Frozen-Lasagne-from-yesterday LAZY. This is near crime. Wait, this IS the crime.

Somewhere in the creative hour someone says, ah, I got a good idea, how about combining ‘Matrix’ with ‘Terminator’, we have a movie talking about virual world and robots in the same time? And a few months later we have ‘Surrogate’. I sit through the movie quite pleased and entertained and bored in the same time.

Conclusion: if you are looking for the ‘Fishandchips’ of life, this is not the one. It has the look and is well fried, but still the spice/seasoning after the crispy chew taste like instant satchel and fish is not fresh. It will do for a sit-back Tuesday night when watching footies or replace your tired Pizza option, but you should not take your sexy first date to it if you expect something lucky to happen to you.

I will keep looking for you.




Directed by: Jonathan Mostow
Written by: Michael Ferris, John D. Brancato

Source of the Bitter: Que

Comments, rants and other stuffs below
JAS on Mon, 09/28/2009 - 8:21pm

Good job! I meant to catch this Fish and Chips this weekend, but missed it. Luckily for me I see I didn't miss much.

If only it was a good buttery lobster.

At some point I'll watch it and see what bitterness I can contribute to this review. :)

Que on Mon, 09/28/2009 - 11:01pm

the movie is not 'bad' in a way, I finished it without forcing myself much at all.

it is just, everything is expected, you know exactly whats next, there is no supprise, all feels De javu.

Catch it on tuesday special night you will have good with with your popcorn.