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Surrogates is a film by Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) based on the comic The Surrogates starring Bruce Willis.

Set Twenty Minutes Into the Future (2017), Surrogates deals with identity problems and warns against the use of crutches for those who don't need them.

To explain more fully: this is a film where everybody[1] lives though robotic puppets known as Surrogates and the problems that result when the main character has to go out in the world without his robotic puppet.


Surrogates provides examples of:

 Guard: You look terrible!

Tom Greer: Thanks. You, too.

    • Not to mention that Peters remarks in amazement that Tom looks like his surrogate. While we see other surrogates can have different appearances to their operators and Peters may not have been partnered with Tom before Surrogates became common place, you'd think the FBI of all people, would keep photographic records of Agent's actual appearance in their personnel files.
  • The Chessmaster: Lionel Canter.
  • Children Are Innocent: They can remind Greer of his own innocence by playing baseball!
  • Deus Ex Machina: Saunders suddenly changes the rules of the superweapon out of nowhere so it doesn't kill anyone.
  • Dynamic Entry: The fashion in which Tom enters Maggie's room, without even trying the door beforehand.
  • Expendable Clone: Any surrogate not zapped by the superweapon from the army to the annoying guy Greer punches out at his wife's party.
  • Eye Scream: The weapon's effects. Also liquefies brains.
  • Face Heel Turn: Peters' surrogate.
  • Fantastic Drug: "Jacking" aka "electro-bong meets vibrator."
  • Fantastic Racism: In less than 10 years, everyone who doesn't use a Surrogate is looked down upon as being an uncultured luddite by the masses who call them "Meatbags" and "Dreads" and treat them as though they are sub-human. This despite the fact that they themselves have to routinely offline in order get off their own "meatbag" asses in order to eat or use the bathroom.
    • On the other hand, the "Dreads" are not much better, being able to rapidly organise a lynch-mob once they realise that Greer is a Surrogate. Not to mention, Surrogate or not, there is really no excuse for unloading a double-barrelled shotgun into someone's face and still think you get to keep the moral high-ground afterwards.
  • Fantastic Slurs: "Meatbag".
  • GIFT and GIRL: Among the first victims of the OD is a hot female model surrogate that turns out to be an old, fat man, and people tend to use the no-consequence nature of Surrogates with abandon.
  • Grand Theft Me: Canter kills Peters, and impersonates her via Surrogate.
    • And then Greer himself hijacks the surrogate, from the dead man's chair no less, to stop the surrogate-shutdown from killing billions.
  • Green Aesop: At least in the film, being "close to nature" (not just the abandonment of surrogates) is portrayed as being of a higher moral caliber.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: It's the last act. Bruce Willis has reclaimed his humanity and is going to kick ass. Time to don a black leather jacket!
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: James Cromwell as a technological genius whose invention has revolutionized the world? Where have I seen this bit before?
  • Homage: Oh boy. Snow Crash, Blade Runner, Minority Report (in fact anything Philip K. Dick ever wrote), The Terminator, District 9, The Matrix, Mars Attacks (Film), Bicentennial Man, I, Robot, (and other works of Isaac Asimov), Alien, Doctor Who, Westworld, Battlestar Galactica, Ghost in the Shell.
  • Just in Time: The virus upload.
  • Lemming Cops: There's only one of them, but the sheer carnage that Tom wreaks in the chase scene qualifies.
  • Marionette Master: Well, everyone. But specifically Lionel Cantor.
  • May-December Romance: Tom and Maggie.
  • Mega Corp: VSI.
  • Misapplied Phlebotinum: In this film exists the technology to control machines with your mind. Take a few minutes and think about what the world would really be like if we had that. For example, why control robot infantry that look human and are even wearing combat fatigues and helmets? Why not just control a tank?
  • The Mole: Strickland was working for Andrew Stone, who wanted Canter dead, possibly on VSI orders.
  • Most Common Superpower: Notable among many female "surries".
  • Myself My Avatar: The Surrogates.
  • New Media Are Evil: A world where everyone stays home all day and only interacts with each other via an avatar that only reflects what you want other people to see? Gee, that couldn't possibly be a metaphor for something, could it?
  • Only Sane Man: Tom Greer. Downplayed--he is the only sane man in the surrogate world. There are plenty of people that agree with him on the reservations.
  • Preemptive Declaration: "I found Greer. He's been in an accident at Market and Andover." And then Greer looks up and sees the street signs...
  • Red Shirt: Five armed cops cornering a fleeing suspect clutching a mysterious grey box? This isn't going to end well.
  • Redshirt Army: The U.S. Army surrogates, called G.I. Joes. Hur hur.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Lionel Canter.
  • Remote Body: The basic premise of the movie.
  • The Reveal: Canter is The Prophet.
  • Revised Ending: In the comic, Maggie commits suicide after her surrogate is destroyed. In the film, she and Tom just hug.
  • Ridiculously-Human Robots: Hmm Bruce Willis sure looks like Robot Bruce Willis, that could be confusing. Fortunately one has a beard and the other wears a wig!
  • Robotic Assembly Lines: Produce surrogate bodies.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Greer laying there staring down one of the Dreads' double-barrel shotgun after already being blasted in the chest by it.
  • Time Bomb: The virus upload.
  • Urban Segregation: The Prophet's enclave.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: No less than three times.
    • The absolute control the FBI has over all surrogates (which are used by ~99% of the world--even third-world countries). Oh, and no one knows they can play God, either.
    • Except for Canter, somehow, who intends to use it to destroy every surrogate everywhere.
      • Canter finds out when he (in one of his many surrogates) breaks into Tom's partner's place and views her surrogate's memory on the console - just before he kills her so he can steal her surrogate.
    • Except that he gets stopped, and Tom is the one who ultimately does the deed, after ensuring that no one would die.
  • What You Are in the Dark: I can be anything I want without anyone ever finding out, and the worst thing that can happen to me is that I have to order a new robot? What could possibly go wrong here?

Notes

  1. or at least the USA
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