In between John Wick movies and torturing his fans by pretending Bill & Ted 3 is coming soon (it’s been “coming soon” for 15 years), Keanu Reeves has made quite the little side-career out of starring in low-key thrillers that are usually released straight to Redbox or streaming. Not even “straight to streaming” as in Netflix or Amazon Prime, but “straight to streaming” as in YouTube Premium and PopcornFlix. Yep, they’re those types of movies. Unfortunately, one of those movies somehow managed to snag itself a theatrical release.
Replicas follows Bill Foster (Keanu), a desperate neurobiologist who attempts to make perfect copies of his family after they’re killed in one of the unintentionally funnier car accidents to ever snuff out a wife and kids. The plan? Download their memories into clones. The science? Words like “algorithms,” “concur,” and “results” are thrown around, so you know it’s legit. The 17 days it takes Foster to grow the clones? Somehow condensing 17 days into 100 minutes of movie makes it feel like you’re trapped in the theater 15 years. Replicas is boring. However many words I write in this review, it simply boils down to that. Boring. I have a feeling that Replicas knows it’s boring because the third act of this movie comes out of nowhere.
The first 80 minutes of Replicas make an actual attempt to “cleverly” explain how Keanu could get away with growing a new family while nobody notices his old family is missing for over two weeks. We get scene after scene of Keanu posing as his daughter on social media, posing as his son on gaming sites, and posing as his wife on—you know what, I’m still not sure how he covered up his wife’s disappearance. The movie doesn’t really mention it. The fake family eventually wakes up, everything seems fine, and the trajectory of the movie seems clear when the clones start to show symptoms of Pet Semetary-itis. But nope! With 15 minutes to go, Replicas turns into a chase movie after the most awkwardly inserted twist since The Village (2004). The Pet Semetary stuff is dropped immediately, never to be mentioned again. It feels less like a twist, and more like an admission of guilt by a movie that knows it’s a trudge.
However—and oh my God, is this a huge “However”—as boring and forgettable as the first 95 minutes are, I will remember those final moments of Replicas for the rest of my life. This is your fair spoiler warning. Spoilers be here from here on out! If you don’t want to know the ending of a movie you should never sit down and watch, then stop reading. Oddly enough, me spoiling the ending of this movie will probably convince you to go see it. Okay, here it goes…
Robot Keanu saves the day. Yes, you read that right. Human Keanu converses with Robot Keanu, and it’s as glorious as you imagine. If the unnecessary twist was a confession of wrongdoing, then the sudden appearance of a battle droid voiced by Keanu is an apology that I can’t quite accept just yet. Although it’s certainly the first step on the road to healing.
Grade = D+