Fantasy sci-fi thriller from Jeffrey Nachmanoff (Traitor) starring Keanu Reeves (whose career has had the ups and downs of his middle-age counterpart Nicolas Cage) is quite daffy and exasperating, not to mention listless. In between the ‘John Wick’ films (the third outing arrives in May) it’s been pretty rough going for the Canadian star (you probably haven’t seen Siberia or Knock Knock), and here’s another case of the absurd emanating from a meager budget. If you’re expecting a kind of redeeming visual panache to say the least in an anorexic Replicas.
His Will Foster appears to be a protagonist not dissimilar to those in Transcendence, Splice or Rise of the Planet of the Apes who confronts an ethical dilemma in servicing professional instincts. The accomplished neuroscientist, it appears, works out of Puerto Rico utilizing Alzheimer’s disease research to instill impressions into artificial brains for an automaton. Will’s labor of love has had its obstacles with a recent trial manifesting the coordinating center at odds with its flesh and bones. A cost-conscious manager in Jones (John Ortiz of Bumblebee, Kong: Skull Island) isn’t helping matters.
A heavy rainstorm is calamitous for Will, admonishing wife (about his work) Mona (Alice Eve of She’s Out Of My League and Star Trek Into Darkness), and their three children en route to a weekend sailing getaway. Somehow the physically unscathed Will has a risky brainstorm abetted by hesitant co-worker Ed (Thomas Middleditch) for his family. Well, all isn’t lost because memories can be tweaked where a loved one is concerned.
The flimsy script from Chad St. John (Peppermint, London Has Fallen) isn’t something Nachmanoff or the cast, for that manner, can overcome. Replicas is unable to support its feature-length run-time. A broad-minded, humanitarian God-complex isn’t probably expected to be plumbed as a dark quick-witted film in the quandaries that occur. Reeves is served better with the more laconic types as there’s more than a whiff of desperation in how he tackles a role ensconced by the correctness of science. Indeed, to reproduce this kind of cinematic DNA (probably best suited for those trapped in a muddled, middling process) isn’t really as far-out as the resolution which stretches out the risible like connective tissue.