Keanu Reeves has a new sci-fi movie coming out call Replicas and it fits in the vein of Nicolas Cage level ridiculousness but it’s still fun to watch once you have a drink or two. Reeves has always been known for being monotone in a lot of his performances but can turn the scene up to an eleven whether it calls for it.
The man has a habit of taking roles that he has no business playing, like Jonathan Harker from Dracula or Kai in 47 Ronin, but can knock that shit outta the park like John Wick and Neo.
This begs the question that nobody has asked: Whose performance came first? Keanu Reeves or Nicolas Cage?
Replicas stars Reeves as a scientist by the name of Will Foster. Foster is on the edge of perfecting human conscious transfer into an android body. One night he and his wife Mona, played by Alice Eve, and their three kids are involved in a car accident that leaves Reeves as the sole survivor. Not ready to say goodbye, Foster finds solace in resurrecting his dead family via cloning through the help of Ed played by Thomas Middleditch.
One-part Frankenstein, two parts sci-fi, and a gallon of ridiculousness stirred together.
I could really trash this movie—given its laughable special effects and truck-sized plot holes—but honestly, I had a ton of fun watching this.
The screenplay was handled by Chad St. John whose credited work involves such titles as London Has Fallen and Peppermint, and you can see the corny dialogue written on the wall. Most of the science in the film doesn’t make much sense and is used to further the plot in a way that was not even given a second thought. There are some interesting character developments in the movie that plays with the importance of remembering your loved ones and sacrifice which features in the MVS (Most Valuable Scene).
The MVS involves Keanu Reeves using his talent as an actor and pulling from the depths of his wounded heart. In the scene, Reeves must decide to erase the memory of an important person from his family’s consciousness. It’s a real heartbreaking scene because of how well-played Reeves’s performance is as he makes this tough decision.
The scene comes to a head when Reeves breaks down at the dining table and the man adds emotional weight to this choice by having to physically erase the last remanence of the person. I just wanted to step into my screen and give the man a hug.
Other than that heart-wrenching scene, the actors were fun to watch. Alice Eve plays her character well when she must switch moods before her death and after the cloning. She comes off with a “Stepford Wife” vibe that isn’t silly but adds tension in the scene when her character starts to realize that she might be a clone. One dynamic that worked surprisingly well was the one between Keanu Reeves and Thomas Middleditch. The actor is well known for his comedic timing and Reeves was able to bounce off that seamlessly.
There is a part of the film that can be viewed as “hamming it up” or a view at Foster’s madness. The particular part I am describing is when Foster’s family has been successfully cloned and Middleditch’s character shows up. Foster has this maddening look in his eyes that reminded me of the classic scene from 1931’s Frankenstein starring Boris Karloff and Colin Clive.
It’s the setup piece that’s etched into cinema history when Henry Frankenstein utters the words, “Oh, in the name of God! Now I know what it feels like to be God!”
Not to be outdone by the amount of hamming it up this film has; actor John Ortiz does a convincing job as the mustache-twirling villain. Jones starts off as a concerned boss, really caring about Foster, but quickly turns into the antagonist—almost of out nowhere—that’s pointing a gun at Foster. The Dutch Angles used to convey Jones’ evil intentions was a nice touch from the director.
The direction from Jeffrey Nachmanoff was “meh” at best. The only scene that was kind of cool in the realm of directing was the “Mapping Sequence” portions of the film. It gave off a Minority Report feel that could’ve looked silly but was done well and I wanted more of.
This is a B-movie at best and would much better fit on Saturday evening basic cable rather than in the theaters. If Keanu Reeves wasn’t in the movie, I doubt it would’ve gotten the level of budget and locations shown on screen. Maybe it can be turned into a drinking game but that would require more than one viewing and it doesn’t deserve that.
I enjoyed it the first go around once I decide not to take it seriously and have a few laughs in the process.
Keanu Reeves can give Nicolas Cage a run for his money with these types of films. My inner fanboy has hope in its dead soul that one day this collision course of B-movies may lead to a mind exploding collaboration of these awesome actors. Fingers crossed.