Friday 26 July 2019

Replicas ☆☆☆☆☆

We are living in the Golden Age of Keanu Reeves. This year has brought us a third John Wick film, his voice in Toy Story 4, the announcement that he will be appearing in Cyberpunk 2077, and all manner of Keanu memes. What a time to be alive. But despite all that, Keanu has still been finding time to make some pretty abysmal films for our viewing pleasure. The last Keanu film I reviewed was Exposed, which – shockingly, time flies – was released in 2016. It was awful. And today’s film, Replicas, isn’t much better…In fact, it’s probably worse, and that is saying something.

William Foster (Reeves) is a brilliant neuroscientist who loses his wife, son and two daughters in a tragic car accident. Utilising cutting-edge technology, William comes up with a daring and unprecedented plan to download their memories and clone their bodies. As the experiment begins to spiral out of control, Foster soon finds himself at odds with his dubious boss, a reluctant accomplice, a police task force and the physical laws of science. Critically panned, and making an estimated loss of $22 million dollars, Replicas isn’t exactly going to win any praise…from anyone. Even Keanu’s most loyal fans will cringe.

The premise itself is interesting. That is probably the only positive I can say about this film. The concept of attempting to remake dead family members from memories and cloning is interesting, and with the right writers and director behind it, could make a stunning little sci-fi film. But with The Day After Tomorrow writer Jeffrey Nachmanoff behind the camera and a screenplay written by the amusingly named Chad St. John, this is a lame duck, totally dead in the water within the first 20 minutes. Not so much an exciting sci-fi and more of a dull and complex study of the bureaucratic side of cloning one’s dead family in a basement, Replicas reeks of a missed opportunity throughout. In my head, I can see a much better version of this film existing – maybe somewhere in a parallel universe – but it certainly doesn’t exist here.

Overly convoluted, boring and muddled; Replicas is not a fun or remotely entertaining viewing experience. Like so many bad films these days, it isn’t bad to a degree that is fun to watch with friends and ruthlessly mock – instead, it’s just upsetting to see talent wasted and money thrown away on something that is just so needlessly bad and instantly forgettable. After riding 2019’s high of Keanuness, I hope Reeves will never succumb to making shite like this again. He’s better than this. 

I just want to finish up by sharing a laugh with you at this delightful little excerpt from Replicas’ press release. “Cinema is a medium of the imagination so it’s always been the perfect format for portraying bold new concepts. Replicas twin themes of robotics and cloning have been seen in many classic films over the years, showing that if you combine a daring sci-fi story with thrilling action it often leads to on-screen success.” There is nothing bold or new about Replicas, and on-screen success is certainly nowhere to be seen. Everything about Replicas is wrong – from casting Keanu Reeves as a scientist, come on, he’s an action hero, to the plot-hole filled narrative and cliché abundance – and it all adds up to make this one to avoid at all costs.

Sam Love

Replicas at CeX

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