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“Replicas”: Critical Review

Directed by Jefferey Nachmanoff, the 2018 film stars Keanu Reeves as William Foster, a neuroscientist who attempts to clone his family after losing them in a tragic car accident. “Replicas” follows themes commonly found in other sci-fi movies like “Ex-Machina” and “Frankenstein,” however the execution is clumsy, and the storyline is so absurd it is laughable.

The movie sets the scene in a high-tech science lab where Will and his team prepare to upload a recently deceased man’s consciousness onto a robot body. The robot comes to life then repeatedly asks, “Who am I?” before completely losing its shit. The bizarre science experiments coupled with bad CGI make the production feel like some cheap parody of a 90s sci-fi.

The plot unfolds with little order or direction and Reeves’ stiff performance through each scene makes it all the more awkward to watch. Throughout the movie, he seems aloof and disengaged even towards his family, which eerily contradicts his desperate need to bring them back to life.

When a poorly staged car crash kills each member except for him, he grieves half-heartedly for a short moment before promptly deciding that he will clone their bodies and transplant their minds, an experiment that has never been successful. Will’s colleague, Ed, played by Thomas Middleditch, is dragged into the situation and per Will’s instructions, steals millions of dollars worth of equipment, with seemingly little effort.

Wills’ compulsive obsession with his “life’s work” and his overall apathetic nature, leaves viewers questioning his true intent, and whether his character is really anything more than a mad scientist with a morbid fascination.

As the movie progresses, few answers are given. Each plot turn brings with it more holes and a greater sense of confused frustration as Will carries out his far-fetched procedure on his family with no clear plan of action.

While his clones are “brewing,” Will tries to get rid of any evidence that his family was ever dead, without once considering what might happen after the deed is done. What if he gets caught with the stolen equipment or worse, the bodies of his family? And what if the experiment completely flops? There are just far too many neglected details for the movie to be engaging.

Not to mention, the movie is sprinkled with many familiar sci-fi scenes including Will’s holographic touch-screen display that projects from his headgear, and a car chase with buff, suited men in dark sunglasses. The visuals do very little for the film but add to its ludicrousness.

The movie starts off weak and then digresses into a tangled web of lies and immorality, with no clear resolution ever being in sight. It seems evident that the creators had not really decided what direction they wanted the story to go in, so they tossed in a bunch of little sub-plots, none of which are coherent, or make any sense. One may be mildly entertained by this chaotic and clumsy piece of work, and it will leave them scratching their head and wondering, “What was the point?”

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