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.