Conceptually at least, Replicas has a really intriguing premise and some morally sound questions at its core. When it comes to its execution however, this sci-fi flick falls apart. Between questionable acting and a script that careers off track very early on, Replicas is a B movie wrapped in a blockbuster facade that fails to really establish itself.
The story gravitates around a brilliant scientist called Will Foster. Working at a company specialising in synthetic biology, Will is tasked with fronting an operation to putting a conscious brain in a synthetic body. After a failed attempt very early on in the story, Will decides to go on a family holiday and recharge. On the way, they suffer a tragic accident and what follows is an unhealthy obsession as Will decides to bring his family back from the dead as human clones. All the while trying to hide his intentions from his boss and get the synthetic test subject 345 to work back at the lab.
While many sci-fi stories have done well to defy belief, Replicas struggles with a script rife with plot holes and questionable character logic. Between corporate espionage, lying to the police and brushing over important thematic questions, Replicas really struggles to establish itself. It’s a shame too as some of the questions around morality are really interesting and could have done with being more fleshed out. Instead of leaning toward a more thought provoking title like Ex Machina, we get something that can’t quite make up its mind what it wants to do.
The biggest problem with Replicas though is Keanu Reeves himself. I’ve said many times that in an action role with limited dialogue he excels. In Replicas however, the film requires a nuance and level of moral confliction that he unfortunately just doesn’t hit. It’s a shame but ultimately the script and acting really hold this one back from being a better title.
Given the budget this film had to play with and the slick camera work throughout, Replicas is a real disappointment. Between the acting and poorly written script, this is one sci-fi film that’s unlikely to be remembered for very long. With a little more nuance and a polished story, Replicas could be a really interesting, thought provoking film but what we’re left with is a real missed opportunity.