It’s time to look at a film that I really only knew of because everyone was constantly taking shots at it. I’m used to amazing films getting bad reviews so that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but on the other hand there are numerous films that are panned for good reason. You never know what it’s going to be like until you watch it. Replicas is definitely not a great film, but I wouldn’t call it terrible either. Yes, there are big plot holes and the characters can be weak, but at the same time the film avoids making “the big mistake.” It does have any soul destroying moments like some films tend to have so that’s good….right?
The film starts off with William having some trouble trying to set up his A.I. robot. He’s been trying to load a human consciousness into one, but they all reject the body and go away. The whole company is going to be shut down if he doesn’t get results soon so William decides to go on a vacation with his family. While his wife Mona tells him to slow down William has no time for such luxuries and speeds down a pitch black highway during a casual hurricane. Naturally he crashes in the water and his family all die. No worries though, William’s co-worker Ed has been cloning animals for years and cloning people is basically the same thing. They clone the family except for William’s youngest daughter since they ran out of tubes. William erases her memories from everyone else since the brain is really just one big computer chip and life goes on.
Unfortunately the numerous problems with this plan start to surface as people who have a real brain and aren’t clones remember that William used to have a daughter and wonder why nobody else remembers her. Then you’ve also got the fact that William’s company is actually an evil terrorist group who wants to use the clones to conquer the world. William’s gonna have to use his A.I. program to stop them, but as he does this he’ll have to wonder why he spent so many years working on a dead-end A.I. project when he could have been cloning people for big profits all this time.
Look…I know this film has dozens and dozens of plot holes and irrational character choices, but another way to look at it is that you’ve just got the least intelligent cast of characters out there. Look at it through that lens and then you’ll be fine. There are hundreds of ways that William could have handled the situation better. He could have actually told the family a lie that would hold up rather than counting on them to not notice that almost 3 weeks have passed. He could have remembered that they all had lives and let people know so it wouldn’t appear that they vanished. He….could have slowed down in the storm, etc. Keep in mind though that he’s a crazed genius who couldn’t make a robot. He spends the first half of the film refusing to make any choices so Ed has to do everything. He’s just not ready for this madness.
There’s less excuse for Jones and his gang though. There’s one scene where they’re chasing the heroes and the heroes run into a hospital to remove the GPS trackers in their body. Mona works at the hospital so at least it is believable that she would know how to do this. However the villains follow them in through the back but don’t bother going to the front to block the exit? They don’t even bother breaking the car so the heroes can’t drive away. None of it makes any sense. Then they have 0 reaction times when the robot appears. I’d also argue that William has no reason to show Jones mercy and make him rich by the end. Why? Why do this?
Ed’s a reasonable friend, but the kind of guy you ultimately can’t trust. He’ll help you out of course, but when the chips are down he falls like a log. He did almost all of the work so either way William would have been doomed without him I suppose. Mona is actually pretty smart compared to the other characters even if I’m not sure how much that means anything next to these guys. She notices that something is wrong and once she figures out the deception she rolls with it as best she can. Mona doesn’t freeze up or anything which is always crucial in high pressure situations. I get the feeling that she would have handled this better than William in general.
The special effects for the robot are pretty bad, but beyond that I thought the visuals were pretty sound. The writing may be pretty bad in terms of structure and logic, but the script could have been a lot worse. There are some reasonable funny scenes in the movie. While the intro is tragic the film doesn’t dwell on it too much. It also doesn’t go for the easy fanservice during the tube scenes which I’m definitely grateful for. I think a good chunk of what makes the film salvageable is the ending. The ending is on point and if it had ended in just about any other way I think the film would have had 0 chance of recovering. There are certain tragic elements that will just end a film if the ending doesn’t do something to help it.
Overall, Replicas was actually decently good. It was entertaining and actually did have a pretty compelling plot. There was no animal violence or anything real sketchy here. The plot holes are enormous and you will have a hard time believing that William is a genius, but the good part is that you’ll feel pretty proud of yourself as you imagine how many ways you could have done a better job. The film is a little long, but I wouldn’t say it drags much. The first half is just a little on the slow side, but the film definitely speeds up later on. Once the villains start appearing it almost feels like a completely different movie. I’d actually recommend checking this movie out, you may just be surprised at how you enjoy it.