“Hotshots” looks at a movie!

Surrogates - Movie PosterSURROGATES is a classy looking science-fiction thriller starring Bruce Willis, and the first thing you are going to notice is all the weird-looking blond hair he has.

No, wait! That isn’t Willis’s character with all the hair. That is his surrogate, a realistic android that most people use to go out into society in place of them while the owners stay at home in a room hooked up to a device that allows them to be the “operators,” the eyes, ears, mouth, and flesh of their surrogate.

So, right away the audience is going to be confused between knowing what is a surrogate and what is a real person, and that confusion is going to result in more than one plot point.

Now, here is where I should say that the film is based on a series of comic books–Excuse me! “graphic novels”–called “The Surrogates,” written by Robert Venditti, who went to college with the dream of becoming a novelist.

In fact, in an interview Venditti said, “I was going to be the next Hemingway.”

Venditti is 35, and I am surprised he even knows anything about Ernest Hemingway.

Anyway, back to our movie.

Willis and his surrogate play FBI Agent Tom Greer, who are investigating a seemingly random murder that involves an unregistered surrogate.

Agent Greer has a partner, Agent Jennifer Peters, and she is a beautiful young woman played by Radha Mitchell.

After all, this is based on a comic book, remember?

Their investigation leads them to Dr. Canter, played by James Cromwell, the man who invented surrogates and ran the company that built them.

But before you say, “Uh oh! Wasn’t this already done in the 1982 BLADE RUNNER?” you are going to be reminded of the 2002 MINORITY REPORT when we learn about Agent Greer’s dead son.

And, in fact, when Cromwell shows up, you are also going to be reminded of the 1996 STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT.

Now, I used to make fun of recycled plots by saying that Hollywood has run out of ideas. Now I am going to say that writers have run out of ideas.

The frame of reference for young writers isn’t literature anymore. It is old movies, and by “old,” I mean within the past 30 years.

SURROGATES is not bad, but should be called DERIVATIVES.

I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”