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With: Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, Thomas Middleditch, John Ortiz, Emjay Anthony, Emily Alyn Lind, Aria Leabu, Nyasha Hatendi
Written by: Chad St. John, based on a story by Stephen Hamel
Directed by: Jeffrey Nachmanoff
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic material, violence, disturbing images, some nudity and sexual references
Running Time: 107
Date: 01/11/2019
IMDB

Replicas (2019)

1 Star (out of 4)

Clone of Contention

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This frustrating, total failure of a sci-fi thriller is so full of lapses in logic, and is so consistently nonsensical, that its myriad mistakes completely eclipse all attempts at story and character.

In Replicas, scientist Will Foster (Keanu Reeves) is working for a company called Biodyne, trying to develop a way to transfer a human consciousness into a synthetic body, but something isn't quite working. While taking a much-needed vacation with his family, there's a car accident, and his entire family — his wife Mona (Alice Eve) and their three kids — dies. Will realizes he can use his knowledge, teamed with his colleague Ed (Thomas Middleditch) and his knowledge of cloning, to bring them back to life.

Trouble begins when Will realizes there are only three pods in which to grow the clones and he must decide which family member to eliminate. Then there's the matter of a looming deadline at work and pressure from his boss (John Ortiz), stolen company equipment, his family's absences in the world, and whether or not the crazy experiment will actually work. Not to mention that Biodyne itself may not be what it seems.

Written by Chad St. John (London Has Fallen, Peppermint), Replicas begins as a variation on the Frankenstein theme, with humans meddling in affairs of existence in which they have no right to meddle. But the movie switches from a mad scientist drama to a brain-dead thriller and drops any kind of cautionary themes it might have had. As the mad scientist, the sober Reeves is all wrong; a more looney-tunes actor (Woody Harrelson? Nicolas Cage?) could have given the role some camp, but here we're asked to take the character's bizarre plight seriously.

The screenplay is perhaps the worst offender, however. It acknowledges most of the problems involved with bringing one's family back to life (minus one), such as... why aren't the kids at school? Why isn't Mona at work? But it deals with them quickly and carelessly, as if sweeping evidence under a rug and leaving a huge lump. Plus it never explains why Ed would go along with Will's harebrained, and illegal, scheme.

Replicas is the kind of movie wherein the hero crashes his car at the beginning, and then climbs into another, un-crashed car at the end, so he can participate in a car chase, without any explanation as to where it came from. The only thing it might be good for is some unintentional laughs.

Lionsgate's Blu-ray release includes a DVD and a digital copy. Picture and sound are fine, but the movie itself is still laughably bad. Extras include a commentary track with director Jeffrey Nachmanoff and producer James Dodson, a 25-minute making-of featurette, and deleted scenes (8 minutes).

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