Dr. William Foster is a super genius working to try to transfer the consciousness of humans into robots post-death. However, when his family is involved in a car wreck, guess what he does? That’s right, grow clones of them and transfer their concionesses into them. Can the world stop this mad man before it’s too late… wait, he’s the good guy?! Find out in… Replicas.
How?! Dr. William Foster has a big ‘ol brain and is tasked with figuring out how to transfer the consciousness of dead humans into robots. Everything is going wrong, though, and the robots are ripping themselves apart in despair following the transfer (not ideal). In the midst of this frustration, William and his family go off for a holiday boating trip only to crash on the way, killing everyone but William (also not ideal). Looking at the dead bodies of his family he decides to call his friend Ed in order to try to do the impossible: clone his family and transfer their consciousnesses into the new bodies. At this point we all know William is insane and yet the movie goes on. Ed helps him grow the clones, however he doesn’t have enough tanks so he can’t grow a body for his younger daughter (a lot of not ideal things going on). Instead of looking in the mirror and being like “oh wait, this is insane and I should stop,” he instead erases the memory of his daughter from his family’s brains… which just simply does not make sense… and yet the movie continues. Against all odds he figures out the issues with the transfer and is able to bring (most of) his family back, but almost immediately they are like “wait, why have I seemingly been asleep for two weeks and also feel like a clone and kinda remember having another daughter/sister?” At this point William spills the beans to his wife in hopes to figure it all out, but unfortunately the president of the company he works for also shows up and is like “oh BTW, we knew you were doing this and you better give us all the techmology or else you’ll be in trouble because you are a mad scientist monster.” William refuses and goes on the run, only to have his family captured by the company through the deceit of Ed. In the final climax he transfers his own consciousness into a robot that then comes in and totally owns the president because he’s a robot. The film ends with William enjoying his life with his clone family but also being a robot running an evil company… almost as if there would be a sequel where he has to battle his evil replica… but nah. THE END. Big Question: Have we really reached a point where we are expected to root for a character that would previously have been viewed as a monstrous madman?
Why?! Clearly the motivation for William is to get his family back, while the motivation of the company is to sell immortality to the highest bidder (and not in fact save soldiers from combat fatalities like advertised). However, we never really get a good idea for why William does all the crazy and illogical steps along the way… like why is erasing Zoe from memories the best plan? Seems destined to fail the instant anyone in their lives are like “Yo, where’s Zoe?” and then all the clones would explode (probably). And indeed it does immediately blow up in his face. So I guess we just chalk all the stupid stuff up to his grief and move on.
Who?! Middleditch is arguably a Planchett, but is far too respected and competent to really count. There is an interesting “thanks for your help and support” credit to Andres Rivera, who is a long time caterer/chef (worked on Weekend at Bernies II, so you know he’s in demand). He has on occasion helped with location work on some films and it seems like that would be the case here.
What?! Apple is everywhere in this film, from phones to laptops. It’s always hard to tell whether this is true product placement or just the fact that realistically there would be a number of Apple products around in any situation. The only reason that I think it’s true product placement is that there is significant literature on Apple’s product placement strategy since the mid-90’s and this seems like a perfect example of a film they would target.
Where?! A settings bonanza here as we are immediately informed that for whatever reason the film is set in Puerto Rico. They even kind of make a big deal that Keanu dragged his family down to Puerto Rico in order to work for the super advanced scientific medical company. B+.
When?! A double settings bonanza on this one as we also get a Secret Holiday Film Alert! Part way through the film a teacher swings by the house and Keanu has to make up some reason why it seems like he probably murdered his family. At the end of the conversation she’s like “oh, happy holidays” and I was like “what?!” Then later the whole fam goes Christmas tree shopping together. This is a holiday film! A-. Oh, and this has to be set in the future… I mean, they grow humans in tanks and barely blink an eye.
Boy, this is a mess. The whole film looks terrible, in particular the robots, and then the plot begs so many questions it’s hard to take it seriously. Keanu is either a monster or insane from the get-go and makes a series of bizarre decisions that left me wondering why we were supposed to believe he was some world-changing super genius, let alone root for him to succeed. By the end you just have to shrug and let it be. It’s likely that it’s the worst thing I watched this year. It was very hard to get through and difficult to understand why it existed and why they decided to release it to theaters rather than just sell it off to streaming. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! Replicas? More like Replican’ts, amirite? It felt like I needed a classic for this Keanu classic. Let’s get into it!
P’s View on the Preview – I really didn’t know much about this film beyond that it started off the year strong with a solid January BMT offering. The preview revealed that the films had a very delayed release (I don’t really know why, maybe to recut it after Keanu had his little comeback with John Wick? Or maybe because of Hurricane Maria.), which is always promising. What were my expectations? My impulse is that this is a Bruce Willis or Nic Cage film that accidentally starred Keanu and accidentally got released to theaters. So it would be boring and nonsensical and leave me wondering what I’m doing with my life.
The Good – Not much. The sci-fi concepts are really out there. A mash up of about ten different things that could be cutting edge in like 100 years. It almost felt like a very old school sci-fi short story in that regard. A story where they couldn’t quite decide how far in the future things should be, and didn’t really have a good grasp on the different scientific concepts they were dealing with. I like Thomas Middleditch in the role, it fit him well.
The Bad – The acting from basically everyone besides Middleditch was pretty bad, even Keanu. The film truly is one gigantic plothole, where you are left wondering about 50 different questions even after they’ve tried to explain things multiple times. They throw you a little life preserver later by suggesting maybe the evil corporation allowed all of this stuff to happen … but more likely the film is just poorly written. The CGI robot looks atrocious, some of the worst CGI we’ve ever seen bar none. And the ending is perplexing while the film also managed to be about 20 minutes too long. It really it one of the worst films you’ll see in 2019 if you want to look at things objectively.
The BMT – I think this will be one of the ones we’ll come back to if we ever start watching those Bruce Willis or Nic Cage straight-to-VOD features that come out every year. Just because we’ll be vaguely reminded of it. Realistically it’ll be in the top 5 worst of 2019 which will be something. I feel it in my bones. Did it meet my expectations? Despite the length, it exceeded them slightly. I think just the way the script managed to say so much, and yet every time it said something it begged two more questions at the same time. It is a bold way to tell a story, and one that does not work at all.
Roast-radamus – An absolutely huge Setting as a Character (Where?) for Puerto Rico. It is incredibly set in Puerto Rico, which is very very exciting. Also a very nice Secret Holiday Film (When?) as the film is set right around Christmas mostly out of nowhere. I’ll throw in a Worst Twist (How?) for the reveal that the corporation knew what Keanu was doing the whole time (lame). And finally I think this will pretty easily make my personal shortlist for BMT Live! As it is probably objectively the worst film I’ve seen released this year. Pretty good chops.
StreetCreditReport.com – Oh snap, we got lists. It amazingly got the number 2 on the AV Club list. I think it probably went a bit under the radar for the rest of the lists to be honest. I’m pretty impressed that it managed to nearly top a pretty big list. And really the delayed release date kind of gave it street cred anyways.
You Just Got Schooled – What more appropriate film to watch alongside Replicas than the film that gave Keanu his comeback, John Wick! I kind of expected to enjoy it, but I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Usually, these films that just involve a crazy amount of killing turns me off, but the world of assassins created around John Wick is so compelling (and the bad guys so unabashedly bad) that it overcomes this minor issue. I also happened to have watched the original The Raid around the same time, and while it also was mostly enjoyable, it really is the cartoony world that helped me sit back and enjoy it. I’m genuinely excited to watch the other two as well. A+.