Replicas: Review by @Kush_Hayes
I know in SciFi we’re supposed to just roll with things. We get a simple throw away line that explains something complicated, for example, human cloning. It never has to be more than: “I will just take their brain and connect it to this USB Cerebral Port and in 48 hours everything will be just fine.” - We dont really even get that much in this Stephen Hamel Short story that Chad St. John managed to stretch out to 1 hour 47 minutes. Its ok that these names arent that familiar to you, however you do know some of their work. Hamel was a producer on Passengers as well as two other Keanu Reeves films, Siberia and John Wick. St. John Just had Peppermint earlier this summer as well as London as Fallen and the Thomas Jane produced Punisher Fan Film: Dirty Laundry.
That last detail is kind of what makes this movie, Replicas, more disappointing.
What do you mean?
In that Fan Film, Dirty Laundry, in ten minutes, with no real dialogue between characters you are given an entire story where you immediately know what it is thats going on. You have no questions to what it is youre seeing. You have no characters making wild statements that honestly make no sense. And thats the exact opposite of what happens in Replicas. In 107 minutes you have a lot of questions, nothing makes sense and you have characters making wild statements that just make no sense.
Well, what about the director?
Youre talking about Jeffrey Nachmanoff, and hes directed schlock in the past like The Day After Tomorrow, but hes also directed competent movies too like the Steve Martin produced, Don Cheadle staring film Traitor. Again, based on that last detail, this is disappointing. 90% of this movie is filmed in front a green screen.
Can we talk about what the movie is about?
Keanu Reeves is a scientist, alongside Thomas Middleditch from HBOs Silicon Valley working in Puerto Rico, working on taking the brains, or at least the memories of dead soldiers and placing them into a robot body. Robot 345 to be specific. As usual, in a scene from Robocop 2, the soldier rejects its new Robot Host and they have to shut things down. This puts the project and the company funding the project at risk. As scientists, we should probably sit down and think about what went wrong, OR we can go on a family vacation during a storm! What could go wrong?!
A tree collapsing in the storm, forcing the family van into the river, killing everyone. Oops.
Its true, there would not be a response time quick enough to have saved his family. However the next step would never be suggested by anyone.
Keanu calls up Middleditch and they take the bodies back to Keanus house. Then Middleditch goes to the lab and brings back three incubation pods, cloning pods. The point is, while Keanus focus has been about implanting a humans mind into a robot, but now, Keanu figures out he’s going to just Clone his family. Hes also says its going to take only 17 days. There is a problem, we have only 3 pods, but there are 4 bodies. You cant Clone all 4 immediately. Perhaps we should clone the mom first, and then in another 17 days we’ll clone the kids. Or we can clone the kids and then the mom, or a mix combo…
Nah, being of sound logic the grieving scientist, decides through random lottery of pulling a name out of bowl, one of these kids, just isnt coming back. Then we have ten minutes of “Who should it be?” IF WE HAVE to do this, then logically, the youngest, but logic has no business in this movie, and its the youngest anyway only to have a scene of grief, and over acting. And then we start erasing any evidence of the youngest daughter being there. From toys, to drawings, to the actual memories inside his familys minds.
And, if the clones are this easy to create… by the way, they are in this movie, and the pods apparently act like a microwave oven. In 17 days you can successfully create a 15 year old, a 16 year old and your very beautiful 28 year old wife. 17 days. With that much of an age gap. No problems.
Why are we working on robots? Especially if we can just clone our army in 17 day batches.
Then we just get into the mundane as we wait for the family to hatch out of their pods. We see Keanus character just fall deeper into madness. Trying to hide his dead family for 17 days, covering for them through various social media streams and text messages, including finding out that “BAE is cheating (on the daughter)”.
The powers that be, find out, as they do, and thats when blackmail and threats about the family now being company property come into play. It really just unravels and stops becoming fun.
Eventually the family wakes up and Mom is suspicious, and eventually the kids ask about the missing daughter, but arent sure why theyre asking about her.
We move to a ridiculous confrontation that does but doesnt resolve, but does leave room open for a sequel if warranted.
Keanu Reeves really loves Sci-Fi, you can see that he and his friends were trying to come up with a new Philip K Dick story on their own, and maybe it was rushed. Maybe the point of the movie is panic and loss will make you do stupid things. I dont know.
We can be sure this will make its way to Netflix and SyFy before its ever on HBO and honestly, if youre still curious after reading all the above, then I suggest waiting the extra two months and see it that way.
One out of Six Blueberries.
Photos courtesy of Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures