This sci-fi whodunit is the latest offering from the writing and directing team behind 'Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines'.

Jonathan Mostow directs as writers Michael Ferris and John Brancato bring the graphic novel of Robert Vendetti and Brett Weldele to the big screen. However, at only 88 minutes it feels more like a made-for-television movie.

The surrogates, who were invented by Dr Lionel Canter (Cromwell) for Virtual Self Inc, allow humans to have a perfect existence. Most people are living vicariously through their better-looking surrogates from the comfort of a chair in their home.

VSI adverts claim that the world is now a safer place, as crime, pain and fear have been eradicated. However, this utopia is destroyed by the first murders in 15 years.

FBI agent Thomas Greer (Willis), whose surrogate sports a ridiculous blonde toupee, is tasked to solve the case with partner Jennifer Peters (Mitchell). They discover that whatever killed the surrogates also killed their operators, which could have serious consequences for the whole surrogate race.

Suspicion falls on the rebel humans that have decided not to use surrogates. The 'Dreads', led by The Prophet (Rhames), live on reservations outside the main urban centres and practise a different way of life.

When his 'surry' is destroyed by Dreads during the investigation, Greer returns to the case as a human or 'meatbag' and discovers that surrogate life is not as good as it seems.

The surrogates may be unblemished physical versions of the self, but the emotional side is unfulfilled for Greer. He longs for a return to the real relationship with his wife (Pike) and not the beautiful surrogate she uses.

'Surrogates' is an interesting, but predictable, take on the old genre of murder mysteries. As with most current sci-fi films, the special effects are impressive, but the visual trickery cannot fill the gaps in the storyline.

Most cinemagoers will only end up at this if their first choice is sold out, but in defence of 'Surrogates' it is more entertaining than a lot of other recent releases.

Glenn Mason