Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Replicas: Keanu Programs a Back-Up Family

Death is such a bummer. You would think scientists could solve that thorny problem. You know, those brainy eggheads, like Keanu Reeves. Yet, even he has trouble circumventing death, but he suddenly gets a big dose of motivation when his family is killed. There are a lot of philosophical issues surrounding his work that could have been explored, but instead, director Jeffrey Nachmanoff keeps the questions of life scrupulously unexamined in Replicas, which releases today on DVD and VOD.

Dr. Will Foster has been toiling away on a process to transfer the consciousness from physically dead donor specimens into a Terminator 1000-like android body, but the resulting freaks out have proved fatal. Perhaps he should remove all the mirrors from his lab. Regardless, he will start breaking rules and making inspired leaps when his wife and three children are all killed in a freak accident.

Instead, of the droid exo-skeleton, Foster realizes his crony-co-worker Ed Whittle’s cloning techniques could yield much more natural looking results. You would think he might have had this thought earlier, but whatever. Regardless, he will regrow their bodies, before transferring their extracted consciousness. The only problem is Foster needs four cloning pods to recreate his family, but Whittle only has three. Thusly begins a serious ludicrously bad, impossible to believe decisions Foster makes.

Honest to Pete, Replicas is so overwrought and over-the-top, it is weirdly entertaining, in cheesy and ironic kind of ways. Of course, we should know we are in for some awkward, unintentional humor as soon as we see Keanu Reeves playing a bio-engineering genius. Sure, we can buy into that.

Yet, he sort of works as Foster, because he is one of the best in the business when it comes to clumsy face-palm moments. They just come effortlessly to him. Even when she dies and gets resurrected, Alice Eve is dull as dishwater playing Mona Foster. However, Thomas Middleditch is an effectively incredulous audience surrogate as Whittle, who is constantly shaking his head and pulling out his hair due to frustration with Foster’s Sophie’s Choice and all his subsequent head-scratching actions.

Seriously, it is hard to believe Replicas could get made without substantial rewrites. It certainly could have used deep, character-altering revisions, but its weird misanthropic eccentricities almost make it entertaining—almost. It has to be seen to be believed, but don’t feel like you have to. Only recommended for movie riffing, Replicas releases today (4/16) on DVD and BluRay.