REVIEW: Replicas (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures

The following is a review of Replicas — Directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff.

Jeffrey Nachmanoff’s Replicas follows William Foster (played by Keanu Reeves), a research neuroscientist who experiments with the concept of transferring a human mind — even that of a deceased individual — into the body of an android. William and his colleague Ed Whittle (played by Thomas Middleditch), however, are not finding much success, seeing as their best experiment ended with an expensive android speaking and then ripping its own face off. But the success of their experiments becomes much more important to William when he loses his wife (played by Alice Eve) and his three kids in a violent accident. As a direct result of the accident, William decides to secretly attempt to transfer his family’s minds into new bodies using the technology that his employer has provided the research division with. But William is faced with a tough decision when he finds out that he can only transfer three members of his family into new bodies. William has to not only decide which family member to let go, but he also has to wipe their existence from his family’s memories.

Jeffrey Nachmanoff’s Replicas is one of the worst science-fiction films of the decade. I think it is the worst science-fiction film with marketable actors that I’ve ever seen. Filmed back in 2016 but released in January of this year, Replicas is the kind of slobby product that would make you think that Keanu Reeves must have lost a bet and thus unluckily had to appear in this film. However, it looks like it is far more likely that Reeves starred in this film to support a long-time collaborator and friend. Reeves must’ve known this film would do him no favors.

Though the screenplay is attributed to London Has Fallen co-writer Chad St. John, Replicas is apparently based on a story developed by Stephen Hamel, the producer who appears to have worked closely with Keanu Reeves since 2010’s Henry’s Crime. Reeves has previously referred to Hamel in interviews as a good friend of his, and, with their production company, they’ve collaborated on many different starring vehicles for Keanu Reeves, but this must be their weakest project yet. Replicas is a painfully hackneyed science-fiction film that will make you think much more highly of the utter failure that Wally Pfister’s far superior but ineffective Transcendence was. The visual effects that create the look of the robots in the film look ridiculously cheap, and, in moments, these robots are unintentionally funny.

Though it must be said that the entire film around him is equally terrible, Keanu Reeves’ performance is awful. It, honestly, pains me to have to say that about an actor who I enjoy watching. But in Replicas, Reeves doesn’t fully embrace the absurdity of his character (if he had, then that might’ve made the film more watchable), and the scenes, in which he is expected to show some emotion, feel incredibly insincere and contrived. Reeves is utterly unconvincing. On top of that, John Ortiz (who plays William’s boss) is cartoonish, Alice Eve is wooden, but Thomas Middleditch is, honestly, fine. Middleditch does exactly what is asked of him and is the one and only highlight, even if his performance is nothing to write home about, so to speak.

Jeffrey Nachmanoff’s Replicas is a trite, overlong, unintentionally funny, and badly designed science-fiction film that includes dated visual effects and horrendous performances. And the performance at the heart of the film will make you reconsider the validity of Keanu Reeves’ career renaissance — the so-called Keanussaince. When it is all said and done, Nachmanoff’s Replicas might be the worst film of the year.

2 out of 10

– Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.

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