Replicas (2018)

(Warning:  Spoilers ahead!)

Some of these are just so frustrating.

Now let’s get this straight:  this one isn’t exactly bad.  It is more that it has a sort of a bland okay-ness about it.  But then, that’s true of a lot of SF movies out there.  Perhaps more so than it used to be.

We can probably blame the SyFy Network for that.

Right at the moment, this one is very familiar territory, with Keanu Reeves playing a scientist who is hard at work trying to download human consciousness into new bodies.  His family gets killed in an accident and hey, Presto, he’s got a new project:  cloning his wife and kids before anyone notices that they are gone.

Now, it comes as no real surprise that this all turns into a action film before it’s done: we’ve all seen The Sixth Day, right?  But that isn’t really what bothers me about this one.  After all, we seen a lot of movies that start with interesting science fictional ideas and turn into action films.  A lot of them.  Some of them are actually quite good.

So where exactly does this one go wrong?  It starts out with some talk about the deeper questions about what Keanu is doing:  is man is more than a program running on a meat machine; is there a soul;  do we have the right to bring someone back; what about the suffering this causes for his failures; and the classic, what gives you the right to play God?

But all that gets forgotten pretty quickly:  after all, he’s on a deadline.  If there’s any real answer here to any of these questions, it is that his scratch-built family seems to be just like the old one.  Well, except that he only had three tanks and couldn’t bring his youngest daughter back.

So if you were hoping this one would have them turn into soulless monsters, you’re in the wrong theater.  Sorry.

But that still isn’t what really bugs me about this one, although we are getting there.

Keanu achieves all this by, ummmm…, “borrowing” a lot of equipment from the company he works for (and possibly supplies and raw materials, as well), stealing batteries from all the cars on his block (no generator, and the power can’t even go out for seven seconds), lying to his boss, his family’s friends and school officials.  And then there’s the whole, creepy business of his erasing his daughter’s memory from his family’s memories so they won’t notice she’s gone — and making adjustments to their memories when things aren’t going well.

And yet — and this is what truly disturbs me — he still gets his happy ending.  Heck, he even ends up rich.

I think.  Maybe.

It is as unearned a happy ending as you could ask for.  It leaves all the big questions unanswered, ignored, or kicked into the corner where no one will notice.

Or simply turned into a way for people to get very, very rich.

To Hell with the consequences.

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And check out our new Feature (Updated May 16, 2019):

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