Director: Jeffrey Nachmanoff
Distributor: Entertainment Studios
Film Website: www.replicasmovie.com
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, Emily Alyn Lind, Thomas Middleditch
Film Rating: 2/5
This movie first caught my eye for potential viewing due to the fact that it starred Keanu Reeves. I have always found him to be an entertaining actor even if the film itself turns out to be far from great (or not even remotely good).
The plot for Replicas centres around William Foster (Reeves), a neuroscientist who maps human brains/consciousness and attempts unsuccessfully to implant them into a robot. When his wife and three children are killed in a car crash, a distraught Foster tries to use the same failing technological approach to resurrect his family, only this time using human clones rather than synthetic beings.
Throughout the film, there are plenty of hints and nods to other movies. For example, the computer system that Foster works on is very reminiscent of the one used by Tom Cruise in Minority Report, while the machine he attempts to implant memories into reminds me quite heavily of the one from I, Robot. There are several others that I could highlight, but I will refrain from mentioning them here so as not to give away anything and spoil it for those who still wish to watch the movie for themselves.
The story is rather far-fetched (partly because it is set in the present day and thus not an out-and-out Sci-Fi film) and there are quite a few plot holes within it, most notably the fact that Reeves’ character fails to plan for even the most obvious of problems that raising his family from the dead will entail or create. As the film progresses, it does switch from a mad scientist type of movie to something that deals with conspiracies, although it has all been done multiple times before on both counts. The writers have also attempted to add some twists along the way, but I spotted almost all of them before they happened. I suspect this is mostly because I have watched so many films of this type that it is very hard to surprise me. However, the last scene was somewhat unexpected, albeit in the “errr, what… really?” sort of way rather than “oh wow, that’s clever”. On a positive note, Replicas does raise some thought-provoking questions regarding where the morale red line should be when it comes to human cloning and researching human consciousness (look out for the mention of the first human heart transplant patient and the rights or wrongs (and associated risks) of early experimentation on people for the betterment of mankind in the long term).
I saw some pretty scathing reviews for this film prior to watching it, but I personally don’t think it is as bad as those write-ups have concluded. That again is probably down to the fact that I have watched so many Sci-Fi movies over the years (including some complete and utter dross) that my definition of awful is substantially lower than it is for many people. Reeves is his usual amiable self and he does the best with what he has been given, even if some of the dialogue isn’t great. I also found the just-under two hours runtime pass by fairly quickly, especially the better-paced first half.
Replicas is far from a great film, but it isn’t totally horrendous either. Yes, it’s all rather silly, reasonably predictable, somewhat disappointing and been done plenty of times before, yet it’s also been seen in far worse guises than you’ll find here. I could potentially be persuaded to watch it again sometime in the distant future, however, it’s definitely not a film that I can ever see myself returning to multiple times.
Review by Dave Scott