Replicas (2019)

Usually when my friends in Movie Night gather to watch our annual “The Worst of 20XX,” there’s one movie that we think, “oh, this is not good, but there are certainly worse movies.” I thought this was going to be one of those movies. But this is not. This movie is bad and it should feel bad.

Mr. Keanu Reeves’ character William Foster (not to be confused with Goliath from Marvel Comics) makes the absolute worst decisions all throughout this, which suuuuuuucks since he’s our protagonist. He works at this super secret facility that’s not at all evil, trying to download dead soldier’s brains into a robot body for unknown, not at all evil reasons. Then his wife and three kids die in a car accident (he was driving, of course), so he uses the technobabble to download their brains and put them in new, cloned bodies. Wait, what happened to their actual bodies? And the car that crashed? The movie answers with a heartfelt, “Fuck you.”

He doesn’t have enough “pods” to clone his entire family so he has to choose one of his kids not to revive, and goes a step further and wipes any memory of her from his family’s brainfiles. They show a montage of him removing any evidence of his youngest from the house (he waits until his family is about to wake up because he makes the worst decisions), but did he delete any pictures of her from the family’s various devices? The movie, once again, tells me to go fuck myself, but at least has the decency to show me that HE FUCKING FORGOT TO CALL HIS KIDS’ SCHOOL, OR HIS WIFE’S WORK, OR COME UP WITH AN EXCUSE AS TO WHY HIS ENTIRE FAMILY HAS SUDDENLY DISAPPEARED!! Christ, I know it’s minor in comparison, but he doesn’t even know where the aluminum foil is in his kitchen…

Surprise, surprise, the company Foster works for is evil, and he and his family have to go on the run. It’s here that we find out–for the first time–that all clones the company makes have trackers in them. There’s no buildup, it’s just… a new problem. That gets solved very quickly. The nerdy friend dies (RIP Thomas Middleditch, at least you have The Final Girls and Godzilla: King of the Monsters), Foster successfully downloads his brain into the robot, the bad guy is beaten to death, and then the most infuriating part of the movie happens.

It has a happy ending.

Am I being petty? Absolutely, but this was a movie about man playing God, with the very foundations of life and who we are, doing everything out of selfishness, and Foster gets a happy ending. The robot (who would’ve looked great back in 2004’s I, Robot) is now running the still evil company, the bad guy is cloned and now… is… good? They never explain anything about that, other than they cloned him. And Foster gets to clone the daughter he couldn’t before, reuniting her with a family that only remembers ghosts of memories of her. Presumably she has all of her memories intact, making the situation super awkward, BUT WHO CARES HAPPY ENDING LA LA LA LA LA!!

Few movies make me this upset, and this one does because it had fucking potential! Imagine a movie about a normal family, but something’s wrong. A name written in the closet in crayon causes the father to freak out, swearing up and down nothing’s wrong. And didn’t the daughter have a bunkbed? And who is the little girl the mother keeps seeing in the corner of her eye? But no, instead of a tense, psychological movie we get this sci-fi schlock! Ugh.

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