Surrogates are the biggest technological advancement in years. This particular advance allows people to look like whatever they want and do anything they want due to the safety of the robotic bodies. Another side effect of surrogates is that crime has been virtually extinguished. Surrogates have seemingly ushered in a perfect society.
Even in this perfect society, there are functions of society known as Dreads, hyper Christians who ceased to be a part of society after the Surrogate craze. They follow the Prophet (Ving Rhames) who is waiting for the right movement to revolt.
After the murder of surrogate inventor Dr. Lionel Canter's (James Cromwell) son, Special Agents Greer (Willis) and Peters (Radha Mitchell) are left to investigate the first homicide in five years. The murder weapon in question is an electrical device that wipes out the surrogate fail-safes that protect users from dying. After learning that the suspect in question is a "meatbag", Greer heads to the Dread reservation, where no law enforcement has any jurisdiction.
Greer has his surrogate killed in the chase for the suspect by the Dreads and is put on suspension. Knowing Bruce Willis is Bruce Willis, Greer has to go out on his own and find this weapon before everyone using a surrogate is killed.
Johnathan Mostow hasn't directed a picture since he helmed Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, a lackluster film at best. Bruce Willis hasn't headlined a big movie since Live Free or Die Hard so if this collaboration seemed a little desperate on both men's parts to get back on top, then the aftermath should make sense.
Willis makes anything watchable and this is no different. His challenge in Surrogates is to portray a man who has to go through the world in his own skin after using a surrogate for years. His wife (Rosamund Pike) is addicted to her surrogate following the shock of losing their son in a car accident. Even with Greer's prodding, she is afraid to leave the home without her protective suit.
Mostow creates an interesting allegory for technological addiction in the form of the surrogates people use. Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Second Life were created to spur connection amongst people, but have instead created homogenized computer "friendships" that really don't provide anything at all. As interesting as the allegory could prove to be, any further examination is abandoned.
Much like the suits Bruce Willis occupies, the film is hollow.