The movie is a relatively decent thriller, if you are willing to ignore the fact that has a storyline saturated with obvious and rude predictabilities. The movie begins with William Foster trying to transplant the conscience of an individual into an android machinery, but the procedure fails miserably, as the conscience rejects its unnatural cyborg body, despite the fact that Foster frankly believes he is really close to make the procedure a success. When he arrives home, he and his family – his wife Mona (Eve), his son Matt and his two daughters, Sophie and Zoe – are completely prepared to enjoy a well-deserved vacation.
They misappropriate the necessary equipment clandestinely from the Bionyne facilities. Unfortunately, William gets desperate when he sees that the company had only three containers, instead of four. So he would not be able to bring all of his four family members back to life. He inscribes in different papers the name of them all, and asks Ed to pick them up, but Ed refuses. Facing a hard choice – since, by force of circumstance, he has to exclude one family member –, William decides to exclude his youngest daughter Zoe.
So, eventually, he initiates the procedures, taking all the necessary measures to do an impeccable work. Nevertheless, the procedures takes time, and – meanwhile – people from the social circles of his family starts to miss them. His wife, a doctor, is missed at work, the same way his children’s absence at school draws attention. So, William elaborates several excuses, saying that his family is sick. A high school principal visits them at home, and William receives the woman, telling her a similar excuse. He even engages in social midia activity posing as each one of his family members, to give the impression that everything is normal, and they are communicating online frequently. Inevitably, he is so absorbed by his personal endeavor that he became reckless and uninterested in his work at Bionyne. He even asks Ed to elaborate an excuse to justify his absence, so Ed says to Jones (Ortiz), their superior at Bionyne, that William became sick with pneumonia.
Sad for not being able to bring up Zoe to life, William tries to erase her from their lives, collecting all her belongings – as well as all pictures they had of her in the walls – and throws them into the garbage. After one hour into the film, his wife wakes up, followed by Matt and Sophie. William is exhilarated to find that he is able to replicate human beings, and his best friend Ed celebrates his success with him.
Initially, all things go well, but the illusion lasts only for a few days. Eventually, Mona has severe memory lapses, that exasperates her. William, disturbed by the hard demands that Jones constantly requests, asking him for immediate results, begins to succumb to pressure. Subsequently, Mona, hardly dealing with her mental and physical distresses, demands from William an explanation, and – feeling he has no alternative –, is obliged to tell her the truth about the accident: except for him, all of them died in a car crash. She is a replica, as well as her two children. When Sophie finds the name Zoe written on her locker, she asks William who Zoe is, and Mona gets disturbed, as she had in her memories glimpses of a child and precisely this same name, that she could not explain properly. So William is forced to reveal to Mona that Zoe was their youngest daughter, that he was unable to bring back to life, due to insufficient equipment.
Realizing the danger they are in, William manages to hurt Jones badly, and tells his family they have to escape. They embark on their automobile, and William manages to avoid Jone’s henchmen. Nevertheless, they are followed, and soon they suspect they are being monitored, as Mona, Matt and Sophie had tracker devices implanted in every single one of them, and they figure this out. Mona discovers that the electric pulses comes from their hearts, and asks William to drive to the clinic where she works. There – with a heart defibrillator – they destroy the device in all of them, so the signal stops, and the Bionyne mercenaries lose track of the Foster family.
Soon thereafter, William drives to a Marina, to pick up a vessel where he and his family will be able to escape. But when he is in the docs, Mona, Matt and Sophie are kidnapped by Jones’ bodyguards. Assuming that they are heading towards Bionyne, William go there as well, to rescue his family. This was a calculated move on Jones part, that was eager to attract William for a trap.
Upon arriving there, William tries to negotiate. Displaying his rudeness and selfishness, Jones kills Ed in front of William and Mona. Then Jones demands that William succeeds in transplanting a human conscience into a cybernetic android, something William agrees to do. Unbeknownst to Jones, William had previously configured his own neurological pattern into a digital blueprint, having discovered that he could manipulate deliberately his own mental sequences in order to avoid the cyborg’s rejection of the conscience transplanted. So, while doing the procedures, William configures the android with a replica of his own conscience, ordering him subsequently to attack Jones and the Bionyne security agents. While Jones and his bodyguards are viciously attacked, Mona and the children escape. They are soon followed by William.
Soon afterwards, we see William and Mona in a paradisiac beach with their children. William is holding hands with a now replicated Zoe. Apparently, everything ends up well for the Foster family. Then we see Jones receiving a man in a wheelchair, in a discreet hotel room, somewhere in the United Arab Emirates. He is driving the business of his dream: to transplant the mind of old and sick people into android machines, enabling them to live indefinitely. Helping him is the android who attacked him earlier, in the Bionyne facilities. The one who has a replica of William Foster’s conscience.
While this movie is not a spectacularly good one, it’s not a bad one either. You will hardly be impressed, but will neither be disappointed. Overall, it’s a good and entertaining thriller. Definitely, it will make a decent, enjoyable summer flick. As a futuristic movie, Replicas rises important questions concerning human DNA and cloning technology, as well as the morality and ethics concerning these issues. The temptation that large corporations will have to make profit from it will probably dilacerate all the possibilities for this otherwise benign resource to be used for the common good. Beyond these questions, this story – whose screenplay was written and developed by Chad St. John – makes an extensive use of the possibilities allowed by this subject, exploring all that can go wrong when something that should have an altruistic purpose is mainly used for financial gain, and deceitful acquisition of corporate power.
So, this movie has its share of decent qualities, but don’t expect anything too extraordinary. If you like this genre of movie, you will definitely have a satisfactory time watching it. It’s a pragmatic, dynamic and tense futuristic feature film, where survival requires constant diligence and distrust against the outside world. Nevertheless, Replicas wasn’t good enough to avoid exasperating clichés and limitations, that – at least for a few moments – will remind you of generic Prime Time melodramas of Hallmark Channel, or even some low budget, made for television Sci-Fi films. Especially in the family scenes.
Another problem is the quality of Keanu Reeves acting, that has been declining, and is becoming more and more generic, as the years pass by. Doesn’t matter the movies he’s in, his characters are basically all the same. Don’t get me wrong. Keanu Reeves is a fantastic actor, one of my favorites. But for more than ten years now, he has been involved mostly in unnecessary and even precarious flicks, being too distant from his glorious times of Point Break, Speed, The Matrix and The Devil’s Advocate. His last fantastic movie was 2008 Street Kings, and even then he became involved in questionable films. From then on, he has been involved mostly in low budget and independent productions. His last blockbuster was the deceptive 2013 47 Ronin – after ten years without being cast in one –, a movie with an enormous budget of $175 million, that was one of the biggest box office bombs of the century.
Another problem is that is very difficult seeing Reeves as a husband, and a father figure (I already have mentioned this some years before, on my review of Knock Knock, as you can read here, and my feelings concerning this roles for him hasn’t changed). He is hardly convincing. To watch him kiss a child, and call him his son, if it is a boy, or his daughter, if it is a girl, is so over the edge. It’s too artificial and implausible; becomes evident that it is just mechanical acting.
But, if you press the button of your suspension of disbelief, make a blind eye to all the acting deficiencies, the soap opera clichés, and occasionally precarious loopholes into the history – that lacks cohesiveness sometimes –, Replicas still make a good movie. Like I’ve written above, the movie is not bad. It’s a somewhat decent thriller film, despite being regular and ordinary, for the most part. Keep your expectations low, and you will be not disappointed. Or at least, too disappointed. In the end, you will definitely have a moderately reasonable entertainment.