Oof. This one was rough.
“Replicas” features Keanu Reeves as Will Foster, a scientist working at a research company, specializing in downloading a person’s mind and digitizing it. The goal is to be able to store the mind and transfer it, should a person’s body become destroyed in an accident, for example.
Unfortunately, that’s just what happens to Will’s family. Stricken by grief, and having access to amazing technology, Will, along with his assistant Ed (Thomas Middleditch), decide to conduct an experiment to clone and recreate the family, and transplant the brain data, as a way to bring them back to life.
This film features a concept that could have worked out just fine. In fact there’s another film featuring the idea of the mind being kept alive in a digital setting, 2011’s “The Source Code,” and it was quite good. However, that movie also had other things that help make a good movie, like nice acting, a strong script, and story that doesn’t get convoluted.
Not really the case with “Replicas.” The movie’s middle slows down way too much and it just becomes a wait for something to happen. Then, there’s a sort of twist at the end of the second act/start of the third act that’s unnecessary and absolutely absurd. The latter can also be said about the movie’s finale, which is completely laughable.
The dialogue, meanwhile, is a train-wreck. This script was absolutely atrocious. Every line feels unconvincing while many of the actions come across as forced and awkward.
Not helping the situation are some rather phoned in performances from Thomas Middleditch and John Ortiz. Middleditch is so monotone and bland throughout the picture, as if given no direction. Ortiz, meanwhile, generically plays one of the most one dimensional villains put to screen in a while. Even Reeves in the lead role comes off as passionless sometimes. There’s almost a lack of urgency and intensity missing from his performance.
As previously stated, the concept of taking a brain and basically downloading it to a digital format isn’t a bad idea, and a person could have suspended their disbelief to enjoy it in a sci-fi setting. It’s something that could have went into interesting questions about how far efforts should go to keep a person alive. The filmmakers fumbled this, though, in spectacular fashion.
It’s difficult to find redeeming factors for “Replicas.” The script is awful, the acting is below average and the story is laid out poorly. Even the film’s look into whether its main character is doing right or wrong here is rather shallow. 1 out of 5.