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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jan 27, 2019

Replicas Movie Review: Even Keanu Reeves Charisma Can't Save The Shortcomings Of This Cheap Thriller

WE’VE JUST SEEN the trailer of “John Wick 3, Parabellum”, and it looks quite exciting. But it will open in May yet as a summer movie in the U.S. Meantime, we have Keanu Reeves doing a sci-fi thriller, “Replicas”, and you’d wonder why he did it, just like you also wondered why, last year, he did “Destination Wedding”, a romantic comedy with Winona Ryder, and “Siberia”, a romantic thriller with an unknown, Ana Ularu.

Both movies had limited theatrical releases and for an action star of his stature, it seems Keanu is not that choosy with his projects, unlike his contemporary Tom Cruise, who is more careful in selecting the projects he does. In “Replicas”, Keanu plays a research scientist, William Foster, whose project in a specialized biotech laboratory has him tampering with life and death. He wants to be able to transfer the memories of dead people into am android body or robot, but his experiments are often a failure.

Then, on their way to a vacation, his family meets a tragic accident where he’s the only one who survives. His wife, two daughters and son, are killed in a car crash. With the help of a colleague, Ed (Thomas Middleditch), he retrieves their memories from their remains then clone their bodies to bring them back to life. But naturally, theirs resurrection leads to a lot of complications, especially when the deceased family members who come back to life realized that one of them is missing.

This is the youngest girl, who wasn’t cloned because Keanu and his friend didn’t have enough resources to revive four people. Then, while they’re doing the cloning, which takes some time, they have to make excuses to friends as to why his wife and kids are missing. It feels like those complications in thrillers where the characters have to cover up a murder.

As Keanu’s wife (played by Alice Eve of “Star Trek Into Darkness”) tells him later: “You can’t keep bringing people back from the dead until you’ve work this stuff out.”  Exactly. You can really feel there’s something basically stupid about the whole premise that was not ironed out convincingly, especially when the movie suddenly becomes an action-thriller toward the end, complete with car chases and shootouts turning it from sci-fi to a disappointing B movie with cheap thrills.

Honestly, we’ve seen many movies in Netflix that are much better made than this sleazy one. Also, there was that better made movie “Ex-Machina” with Oscar-winner Alicie Vikander as the robot with human attributes. Keanu plays his confused and conflicted character with the familiar straight face and detached hero persona with which he did Neo in “The Matrix” series.

But even his charisma cannot save the shortcomings of “Replicas”, with John Ortiz as his evil boss with his own ulterior nefarious agenda helping ruin the whole thing completely. Well, we just hope that Keanu will be able to redeem himself when “John Wick 3” is shown.