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Replicas (2018) |Movie Review|

Replicas is a fitting title for a film that pretends to be authentic. The science-fiction thriller stars Keanu Reeves as Will Foster, a research neuroscientist whose family is killed in a car accident, and he plays the role of God by cloning them to give them a second chance at life.  Spoilers after the trailer.

Replicas starts out true to its title, as a copy of most sci-fi movies that deal with the ethics of cloning and the greater good for society as a whole. Will Foster (Keanu Reeves) works as a neuroscience researcher at the Bionyne Corporation, a biomedical company, and he’s trying to develop a way to merge man and machine to expand the life of someone who is mortally wounded. The first attempt is subject 345,  and the “donor” is an injured military sergeant. Foster merges the donor’s conscience with an android to unify the mind of a man with the body of the machine. Once the donor gains consciousness there’s a body horror moment because he looks at his hands and freaks out they’re robotic, which leads him trying to harm himself before Foster pulls the plug to shut him down.

When Foster gets home he tells Mona Foster (Alice Eve), his wife, about the success he had with 345, and since she’s a nurse she disapproves. She thinks it’s unethical for Bionyne to save a person’s life, but shut them down as if they were only machines. Keanu delivers a line trying to compare his biomedical job to the first heart transplant patient living  for 18 days before dying because his body rejected the organ. Keanu Reeve says all this in an unconvincing way, and it’s hard to take him seriously as a neuroscientist. What’s worse than Keanu’s delivery is the performance by Alice Eve before she’s cloned. Her performance is flat, and by the way she’s portraying her character you would think the film had opened with her being a clone.

The Fosters have three children, and the children are just here to give the audience a way to sympathize with Keanu. He’s driving his wife and the kids on a rainy night, his wife warns him to slowdown (IN THE MOST EMOTIONLESS TONE), two seconds later he swerves, crashes on the roadside and is the sole survivor of the aftermath. Fittingly, he calls The Verizon Wireless Guy, his coworker Ed (Thomas Middleditch) to bring equipment such as cloning pods from Bionyne, so Keanu Reeves can save his family. Just like Alice Eve, Thomas Middleditch doesn’t add much to his delivery either. He tells Keanu, “we can’t do this,” and he doesn’t even deliver that line seriously. The biggest dilemma is that there are only 3 pods so Will has to make the toughest decision as a parent, and figure out who to not make a replica of. Logically, you would think he would bring back his three kids, ya know, since they’re his kids, and let his wife parish. But for a movie that shouts so many scientific words there is no logic here. He writes each of their four names on pieces of paper, folds them up, puts them in a bowl and tells Mr. Number 2 in Customer Service by JD Power Ed to pick one. This was followed by a nice shot of Keanu crying at the table, distraught over his decision, the camera pans up his arm to his and finally focuses on the name of his baby daughter Zoe.

Thomas Middleditch and Keanu Reeves start figuring out ways to clone the rest of the family and begin the replicating process. Once they start cooking up Will Foster’s new family inside the Bionyne pods, Ed warns Will that he’s going to need a generator, if the pods lose power the cloning process won’t work, and his replicas will die (just like the real ones). We move forward in time and the garage is filled with car batteries that will suffice as a generator. Ed lets Will know that the process will take 17 days before the clones will be ready, too soon they may be deformed, and any longer they’ll age rapidly. While his family is being served up in their pods, Keanu goes around the home, removing any semblance of Zoe. He’s crying to convey the emotions that this is hard for him to erase his baby girl, even though he had the chance to save her life…

5 days into the cloning process this is where Replicas becomes unintentionally(?) goofy. The film tries to convey that people are worried because the rest of Will Foster’s family hasn’t been to school, work, answer calls, emails, chats or text. One of his kids’ teachers even visits their home to checkup on her favorite student, which leads to an awkward moment between her and Reeves. Will Foster decides to get all the mobile devices out of the rest of his family and pretend they’re alive. He calls his wife’s job and emails the school his kids attend in an attempt to cover his tracks. A police officer knocks on his door in an attempt to build suspense, framed as a wellness check, asking if Mr. Foster had his car battery because everyone else in the neighborhood had theirs stolen. He tells the officer that he did not, they laugh and say, “he must of been the lucky ONE (NEO IS THAT YOU?!?)!”

Will Foster does science things and says a bunch of scientific words to the point that you can tell Keanu isn’t even trying to be convincing anymore. On day seventeen, the replicas are ready to emerge from their pods. During the time they were in the pods Will Foster loaded all their memories like they were an Android smartphone downloading from Google Drive. He deleted all their memories of Zoe. He sedated his cloned family, and in 72 hours they wake up and he’s ecstatic because he gets to see their faces again. The day they wake up the colors in the film go from dark to bright, white, lots of light and heavenly. This color change matches the sense of bliss that Foster has.

Alice Eve’s zombie-like performance fits better when she awakens as the clone. When Keanu tells her she’s a clone her reaction might as well have been “oh.” because there’s no emotion or sense of caring there. There is a scene where the family is looking at trees, her son picks one out, and she disapproves because the tree is fake. When she and the rest of the family start vaguely remembering Zoe, there’s actually a real feeling of betrayal. Somehow there’s a tracking device in Fosters family (subjects 346, 347, 348), so BioNyne tracks them down and Jones (John Ortiz), the boss of Will Foster, wants all the replicas dead. This leads to a car chase and an obvious betrayal from Ed (Verizon Guy #2). Which is followed by the film’s predictable, yet messy finish as Keanu Reeves saves the day and outsmarts Jones and the goons at Bionyne.

This review serves as a recap because there’s a lot of issues in this film. Entertainment Studios picked a perfect time to release Replicas, because it’s your run-of-the-mill January release. Thomas Middleditch and Alice Eve had comical performances, and it didn’t help that the script was a mess. Keanu Reeves is phenomenal in action movies, but not even Neo could save this film. The movie tries to take itself too seriously, but the plot isn’t even engaging, and to call this a thriller is an insult to thrillers. There’s nothing exciting about the direction, and the plot has been done more effectively in other science-fiction films. There was a glimmer of hope that this would at least be enjoyable after seeing the trailer, but Replicas couldn’t even replicate any kind of enjoyable qualities like other films in January 2019.



[Fresh Horchata]



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[All Mames Wey]

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