And your entire sanity, really.
Oh, it’s definitely January alright, and you don’t need to look any further than Replicas for proof of that.
I guess they can’t all be Escape Room.
Replicas is a new science-fiction/futuristic horror/really weird, nonsensical film that comes from Jeffrey Nachmanoff. Nachmanoff doesn’t have a ton of work credits to his name, at least according to his IMDB page, but he has been attached to a number of stellar productions such as The Tourist, Traitor, The Day After Tomorrow and the Behind Enemy Lines TV show.
Remind me why I was excited for this one, again?
The film stars Keanu Reeves as this brilliant scientist (red flag number one) named Will Foster who’s right on the brink of discovering a way to transfer human consciousness into a second entity.
Never mind the morality of such a practice, or that he literally uprooted his family’s lives by moving them out to the middle of nowhere Puerto Rico, because William — along with his right-hand man, Ed (Thomas Middleditch) and his boss, Jones (John Ortiz) — are so obsessed with the idea of putting human brains into robots that nothing else matters.
Until, one day, the unthinkable happens.
Will is taking a road trip with his wife, Mona (Alice Eve), and his three kids, Sophie (Emily Alan Lind), Matt (Emjay Anthony) and Zoe (Aria Leabu), when an unexpected rainstorm throws them into a nearby river, instantly killing everyone except for Will (who somehow only comes out of the whole thing with barely a scratch on him).
After dragging all of their dead bodies out from the car and onto the shore, Will doesn’t bother calling the cops or, you know, spend even one second processing what just happened. He knows exactly what he has to do.
He gives poor ‘ole Ed a call and basically forces him to help drag his family’s corpses into his basement. There, the two of them will use the technology they’ve been working on to take out their brainwaves and put them into clones that can be built out of water tanks and amino acids in seventeen days time.
I told you that you should leave anything that even resembles actual science at the door for this one. Trust me when I say it only gets dumber.
Skipping forward a bit in time, the cloning technique that Will and Ed come up with actually works and, suddenly, Will finds himself face-to-face with his family once again.
Only they aren’t really his family. As hard as it might be to admit that, he knows it deep down and can only ignore their strange, unnatural behavior for so long.
Oh yeah, there’s also a CGI robot with the voice of Keanu Reeves and a subplot involving Jones going completely off the rails thrown into Replicas, too. Apparently, the screenwriters just didn’t think there was enough going on with that premise alone and decided they needed to combine several movies into one.
There is, I’ll admit, a time and place for that kind of movie. Not every sci-fi film needs to be the next 2001: A Space Odyssey — sometimes it’s okay just to get ridiculous with your dumb idea for a movie, which is what I was hoping for with Replicas.
Hell, even if this turned out like Surrogates — a 2009 sci-fi film starring Bruce Willis that everyone except myself hated and then immediately dismissed — I’d be entertained with the end result.
Sadly, though, that’s not what Replicas really is. While the first quarter to half of the film suggests that’s what it might become, it soon becomes apparent that there’s one gigantic, unforgivable problem at play here — this movie is boring.
Like, really boring. After setting up the idea that Keanu Reeves is going to rebuild his family from scratch, the film proceeds to take the next 90 minutes to actually do so. By the time we get to the ridiculous climax that we were promised (even though they don’t bother turning it into a bizarre horror movie in which the family turns evil and tries to kill their maker, which would have made for a better movie, I think), we’re so far checked out that we don’t really care anymore.
We don’t really care not only because it’s boring, but also because they just try to stuff so much into Replicas.
Having a film about Keanu Reeves cloning his family could have been enjoyable enough. Having a separate film about Keanu Reeves trying to transfer human consciousness into a walking, talking robot also could have made for a fun film. Even making a movie about John Ortiz and his shady company going crazy over Reeves’ technological inventions could have, once again, but entertaining.
Throw all of them into one movie, though, and we get a bloated mess that can’t even present itself in the form of a simple narrative, let alone one that’s actually trying to be smart and throw some surprises at the audience.
And then when you stop to realize that Replicas has some of the worst CGI since 2015’s Fantastic Four and that Keanu Reeves isn’t even giving that good of a performance here (John Wick, this is not as even he doesn’t look like he wants to be here), you get a film that feels like it’s been shelved for years and years until the studio randomly decided it was finally time to release it.
So, yes, this is a January film through-and-through. The idea of Keanu Reeves and robots might sound like a fun time at the movies — and, at times, it actually can be. The moments when Replicas embraces it’s stupidity actually work pretty well in a vacuum, such as one scene in which Reeves’ takes out his family’s electronic devices and begins texting their friends and co-workers while they’re all being cloned in the basement. If the film could have actually stuck to that tone, we might have been in business. Instead, we just have this mess.
Watch the trailer for Replicas here and then let us know, in the comments below, what you thought about the film!
'Replicas' - leave science at the door for this one [REVIEW]4