REPLICAS – Review by Susan Granger

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When did Keanu Reeves’ name become synonymous with sleazy sci-fi?

Neuroscientist Will Foster (Reeves), along with his colleague/friend Ed Whittle (Thomas Middleditch), is conducting experiments on copying a recently-deceased person’s neural pathways – i.e. consciousness – and transferring them into a synthetic body – i.e. a robot.

They’re employed at Biodyne, headquartered in Puerto Rico, and their boss, Jones (John Ortiz), impatient at their disappointing lack of success, is threatening to cut their research funding.

So it’s not exactly the best time to go on vacation, but Will loads his vacuous blonde wife Mona (Alice Eve) and their three picture-perfect children into a SUV, heading for a boat trip. Caught In a rainstorm en route to the dock, they’re involved in an accident so horrific that only Will survives.

Grief-stricken, Will calls Ed to help him transport the dead bodies of his family back to his garage, where they set up a secret satellite laboratory with Biodyne equipment. Using Ed’s cloning technology, Will plans to regenerate three out of four family members. (There are not enough expensive incubation pods for the fourth.)

Does their bizarre experiment succeed? You bet!

“Hey, we made clones today!” Ed rejoices. But, of course, complications arise with their resurrection. In addition, Will discovers that Biodyne isn’t involved in healing veterans, as he thought. Instead, the company is allied with nefarious forces in the Middle East.

Based on a story by Stephen Hamel, it’s scripted by Chad St. John (“Peppermint”) and directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff (“Traitor”). The fast-paced nonsense includes an absurd scene in which Will performs a sensitive medical maneuver – plunging a needle into his eye – while perched on the toilet in the bathroom at Biodyne.

At least, Keanu Reeves can look ahead to the May release of “John Wick, Chapter 3” and, later in 2019, “Toy Story 4.”

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Replicas” is a predictably preposterous 3, pushing the campy ‘mad scientist’ concept ‘way over-the-edge.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.