January 11, 2019
Genre: Science Fiction/Thriller Runtime: 1hr 47min Rated: PG-13
THE FOLLOWING REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE ENTIRE MOVIE.
“Replicas” feels like what happens when a rich person who has never worked in the movie industry before decides to throw an obscene amount of cash at well-known actors to do his film. “Replicas” cost thirty million dollars to make. THIRTY MILLION! One look at the CGI will tell you that all the money went to Keanu Reeves, Thomas Middleditch and Alice Eve.
“Replicas” is the story of William Foster (Reeves), a scientist who is working on transferring human consciousness into synthetic bodies. For these experiments he uses recently deceased soldiers who have no idea that they’re going to wake up in the body of an automaton. Of course, the soldiers freak the fuck out when they realize this and they have complete mental breakdowns. Who would have guessed? Clearly not the scientists. Maybe use subjects who are aware that you’re going to stuff them into a robot that will haunt their nightmares? Just a thought.
Foster and the lab where he works are located in a Puerto Rico where nobody speaks Spanish. There, Foster lives with his perfect family – his wife (Eve) and three children. I want to take this moment to remind you that the main characters name is William Foster. I bring this up because within the first twenty minutes of the movie his children are referred to as “Foster children” and his family is referred to as “Foster family.” The latter line is spoken by Foster’s lab partner Ed (Middleditch) when he walks into their home and says “Hey, Foster family.” I thought this was lazy writing and literally spent the entire movie believing that Keanu’s character had adopted Middleditch’s character.
From there the movie moves quickly. The Foster family jumps in the car and drives to idontfuckingremember. The car crashes, killing Foster’s wife and children. Thankfully, the first fifteen minutes of the movie informed us that Foster can transfer human consciousness, so he has their minds uploaded onto some hard drives. Meanwhile, this is the part of the movie where we’re informed that in addition to transferring human consciousness into robots, the lab also works on human cloning (wut?). What a coincidence! Working in secret, Foster and Ed steal the human cloning equipment from their employer’s lab in order to regrow the formers family. How does the human cloning work, by the way? A lot of amino acids!
However, there’s a problem! There are only three “pods” available to use. Foster needs to regrow four people. One of his family members isn’t going to make the cut. Now, this development might have made an interesting movie. A science fiction “Sophie’s Choice,” it would have asked the viewer how they would respond if they were placed in this circumstance. So, how does William Foster handle this situation? He draws the names out of a hat, of course! Sadly, his youngest daughter Zoe draws the short end of the straw and will not be resurrected.
Foster then does what any rational man would do and deletes the very existence of his daughter from the minds of his family and destroys any evidence that she ever existed. Problem solved! It’s time to regrow some people. Ed informs Foster that the process will take seventeen days. Why seventeen? Shut the fuck up, that’s why. I’m going to gloss past the part where the clones end up being the exact same age their counterparts were when they died. The movie pays lip service to this by having Ed write a single math equation on a notebook and informing Foster that it shouldn’t be a problem.
The cloning process works. They’re perfect. Putting their old conscious minds back into their bodies works too. Turns out that putting a conscious mind into a human body works so much better than a big scary robot. Who would have guessed! So, where does the movie go from here? Are there side effects to the cloning? Do the clones find out about their own deaths? Do they discover that Zoe existed? The film teases us with all of these revelations, but decides not to mine any of them for drama. Instead, it turns out that the lab that Foster works at knew about the cloning the entire time. They had been monitoring them, and, guess what, they’re evil! Oh, shit!
What follows is a…. suspense film? It was so dull I barely remember any of it. It doesn’t help that the film went as PG with the action as humanly possible. Guns are fired off-screen followed by a shot of a body lying on the ground type of stuff. At one point a character is shot dead and he lies on the ground with a red dot painted on his forehead. Anyway, to the best of my recollection, the Foster family runs, but the evil company has embedded the clones with tracking devices. So the movie spends about ten minutes on that pointlessness before the clones decide to shock themselves with a defibrillator. This would, of course, kill them in reality, but here it destroys their tracking devices. They’re captured by the evil company in the next scene.
Foster goes to the lab to rescue them. The final showdown is as anticlimactic as any of it. Foster manages to duplicate his consciousness and transfer it into one of the robots (so there are two Foster’s now – human Foster and robot Foster). The robot proceeds to completely fuck up the bad guys in an eight second sequence that probably cost twelve million dollars. Human Foster takes the family and lives happily ever after. In one of the final scenes, the clones are living happily on the beach when Foster approaches them… with a freshly cloned Zoe. WHATTHEFUCK!?!? YOU COULD HAVE JUST REGROWN HER AT ANYTIME! WHY WAS THERE ANY URGENCY!? WHY DID I WATCH ANY OF THIS!?!?
The final sequence in the movie involves robot Foster, who is now working with the bad guy (???), offering rich people the opportunity to transfer their minds into younger, cloned bodies. Despite this, robot Foster is still a robot for some reason. Also, yes… the robot is now wearing a business suit. Of course! I would pay all the money in the world to watch the scene where robot Foster walks into a tailor to get fitted.
There’s so much more I could say about this movie. Those are only the broad strokes. There’s enough bad dialogue to put you under the table during any drinking game. Honestly, this was an amazing movie. Best movie of 2019? It’s early, but I don’t think this can be beat.