Bruce Willis is actually two people. Superman Bruce is the cocksure, single-minded hardass who plays high-ranking military officers, professional hitmen, and world-rescuing oil drillers; he ruined Die Hard 4. Everyman Bruce is the emotionally bruised anxiety case who plays divorced alcoholics, blue-collar joes, and former heroes gone to seed; for me, he made Die Hard 3 the last great ’90s action film, pre-Matrix. Both men are featured prominently in Surrogates, a documentary about career schizophrenia which opens this Friday.
Okay, Surrogates is really a sci-fi shoot-em-up. But we can agree that there’s a clear divide running throughout Willis’ career between the action-god star persona seen in movies like Armageddon, Hostage, and Hart’s War, and the messy, emotionally traumatizing performances he gave in films like 12 Monkeys, Pulp Fiction, and In Country. Based on the trailer, it seems that Surrogates is intentionally addressing this contrast. I certainly wouldn’t put it past director Jonathan Mostow, who made the playfully deconstructive Terminator 3, and you can’t tell me that Willis’ Surrogates wig isn’t supposed to look ridiculous (and uncannily reminiscent of his deliriously unconvincing Jackal wig.)
Personally, I prefer Bruce Willis’ quieter performances, with his bruised, struggling nobility. But I’ve got a soft spot for the All-American Badass from Tears of the Sun and Planet Terror. Which Bruce do you prefer, PopWatchers? Superman or Everyman? Sixth Sense or Sin City? Bad mustache or big gun? And do you think that two Bruces will be better than one? (Hey, it worked for Superman Red and Superman Blue!)