Director Jonathan Mostow gives the predictable robots-run-amok premise a new life. For once, the focus is on humans and the implications of excessive use of technology. A scientist creates robotic versions of human beings called surrogates so that the handicapped and the elderly can lead a normal life. But the invention becomes so popular that everybody decides to have a copy and the original rests at home. Social interaction becomes a thing of the past and the side-effect is the crime rate takes a dip.
Things take a turn when two persons are shot dead. The artificiality of their bodies reveals they are surrogates. The plot becomes sinister as the operators, including the son of the inventor of surrogacy, are also liquidated, something that was not expected.
The turn of events forces FBI officer Tony Greer (Bruce Willis) to investigate the case with his colleague Peters (Radha Mitchell). During the course of investigation, Tony’s surrogate (a digitally spruced up Bruce with hair on his head) gets killed and now the original officer has to come out to take charge and get to the truth. The script hardly tests Bruce, but to his credit, he imbues the character with the isolation a man faces among machines. He is looking for real emotions, but his ageing wife is adamant on putting on the glossy façade of the robot. These are all possibilities in future but somehow Mostow sticks to the surface.
After touching the social consequence of the theme, Mostow brings in almost every sci-fi cliché presumably to keep the ‘target’ audience hooked, making the screenplay robotic in the process. However, he recovers in time and settles the issue surely and succinctly.