Cinematic Releases: Failed DNA: Replicas (2019) Reviewed

Somehow and some way, the new science fiction film starring Keanu Reeves skipped past the straight to streaming cue bargain bin and ended up as a theatrical release. 

Borrowing themes from Frankenstein, Pet Semetary, and numerous other stories about creating life from death, this brand new film Replicas is a slam dunk stinker that once again proves that Keanu Reeves doesn't have the emotive strength to carry something so heavy. As a sci-fi story, we've seen this all before. Replicas does nothing new with the genre, but instead trudges through a variance of long running tropes that didn't deserve such an unabashedly tepid piece of cinematic sludge. 

Armed with a plot about corporate greed that has no bounds and a scientist that loses everything in an accident, most viewers will quickly see the insane amount of work they went through to copy and paste dozens of other genre pieces into one dire work of sheer boredom. As if Keanu has never acted before, he turns in one of the worst acting jobs of early 2019 with a ludicrous answer and response performance that never lives up to the dramatic stakes at hand. With Alice Eve in a support role, he's quickly outplayed by an actress that knows exactly what to do with very little material. Set against other actors like John Ortiz and Thomas Middleditch that typically do fine work, Eve is the one stand out of the film. At minimum, Middleditch offers some humor to an otherwise bland story. 

I know Kung Fu. 

Unfortunately for all involved, Replicas feels like a super low budget project that somehow snagged a couple bigger name stars. It's pacing is totally formulaic and the story never gets the fleshed out dynamic it truly needed to carry a story about cloning and the transfer of consciousness from one mind to another. The subject matter is rather hefty for a director that couldn't exactly figure out what he's trying to say with his movie. At the hands and skill set of someone with more experience in such a heavy premise, it might have worked.  Honestly, the ideas behind the story are relatively great. There's a lot that should have been explored further.  It's the actual mechanisms by which they were delivered that ultimately side step the real plot and the actors involved. 

For hardcore sci fi fans like myself, Replicas is a straight up disappointment. The trailers showed some promise and seemed like maybe it would break Reeves from the constant stream of John Wick sequels. Unfortunately, the only saving grace here are some of the visuals, some dark humor, and Alice Eve showing how far she's grown as a leading actress. There's a reason this thing didn't receive much press or advanced screenings. Replicas is symptomatic of the current trend that throws a bunch of successful movies into a blender, hoping that something good will come out in the mix. This time, it's a failed endeavor. 

If you respect how little free time you have to spend on yourself, this is a must skip, no value movie.  

-Chris George