Another week, another movie adapted from a comic book—sorry, graphic novel. “Surrogates” derives from one by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele, which was apparently well received by readers. But this adaptation comes across like a pale imitation of “Blade Runner,” done without similar imagination or flair, with a dose of “I, Robot” tossed in for good measure.

The premise is a particularly silly one. In the near future, people have taken to living their lives vicariously through robotic avatars they control through headsets while they lie near-comatose at home. (Bedsores must be a terrible problem.) The convoluted plot kicks in when a “meatbag” (Jack Noseworthy) uses a weapon on a youthful surrogate (James Francis Ginty) outside a nightclub, and in the process not only destroys the robot but kills its controller—who happens to be the collegiate son of surrogate technology creator Lionel Canter (James Cromwell). Enter FBI agent Thomas Greer, played in his grizzled human form by Bruce Willis sans hairpiece and with a horrible rug in the guise of his far less wrinkled replicant. His investigation, conducted with his beautiful partner Jennifer Peters (Radha Mitchell), links the murder not only to Canter, but to his old firm, which ejected him from leadership some years back; to the military, which uses surrogate soldiers to fight its battles; and to a group of Luddite anti-robot humans led by a bearded preacher called The Prophet (Ving Rhames).

“Surrogates” tries to say something about people losing their humanity through ever-greater dependence on technology that gives them experience without danger or real personal involvement, and in the end it offers a message in favor of putting aside the machines and appreciating the tactile business of living. But at the same time it wants to be an action adventure that provides a strong adrenaline rush. And ultimately it doesn’t work in either capacity. The warning against preferring virtual reality to the actual kind isn’t without punch, given the propensity of so many nowadays to become couch potatoes wedded to their electronic gizmos, but taking it to the extreme required by this plot makes it pretty ridiculous; and the attempt to give it emotional weight by having Greer mourning the loss of his son, and even more that of his wife, who’s retreated so completely into her surrogate that they no longer have any true contact, results in a weird mixture of goofiness and earnestness.

And as pure futuristic thriller, the picture is disappointing. The effects may have been expensive, but they look cheesy, like something out of “My Super Ex-Girlfriend.”And the big chase scenes—of which there are several—are particularly sloppy.

The one saving grace of “Surrogates” is its winking approach, which emphasizes the robotic movements and expressions of the surrogates—a quality that Willis toys with nicely as he plays his human self with a tired, world-weary tread while giving his replicant form a humorously staid, Terminator-like mien. But even this isn’t played out consistently: his boss Stone (Boris Kodjoe), though a surrogate, moves with the limberness of a human, for example, and there are similar variances in the different robots employed by Canter. And when in doubt, director Jonathan Mostow seems to opt for overstatement in the acting; how else to explain the exaggerated turns by Rhames and Noseworthy, which seem designed to elicit giggles? And no thanks to Richard Marvin for the score, which sounds like one endless propulsion.

You always have to wonder about a movie that lavishes every conceivable CGI trick to warn us about the dangers of technology, and uses the screen to make viewers question their habit of giving themselves over to the phony excitement of manufactured reality rather than going out and having real, vivid experiences themselves. But even setting aside all that, this is the sort of emptily bombastic popcorn movie that might make you wish you had a surrogate to go and sit through it in your place.