HitFix

The Entire Plot Of Keanu Reeves’ ‘Replicas’ Recreated Using Quotes From The Reviews

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We’re always on the lookout for a good movie to recreate using only reviews, and Replicas seemed like the perfect candidate. The human clone thriller opened this weekend, and despite starring Keanu Reeves and Alice Eve, it wasn’t screened for critics, so most of the reviews dropped Friday, written by critics catching late Thursday screenings on their own dime.

Not screening for critics isn’t all that weird for a January-February sci-fi thriller — the traditional post-awards season dumping ground that last year gave us 12 Strong, The Commuter, and Den of Thieves, among others — but it doesn’t exactly scream “quality” either.

Replicas was directed by television writer-producer Jeffrey Nachmanoff, who only has a couple other feature directing credits, and was written by Chad St. John, a screenwriter who sounds like a porn star and whose apparent Twitter bio (not verified) describes him as a “male exotic thinker.” He previously wrote Peppermint, in which Jennifer Garner fights MS-13.

Long story short, all signs pointed to Replicas being the kind of movie that’s almost better to have described to you by exasperated critics than actually seen, and thus a perfect candidate for Plot Recreated With Reviews. That’s when we try to piece together the entire plot of a movie using nothing but expository quotes from movie reviews (no analysis!).

I think it turned out pretty well! Here we go…

ACT 1

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Keanu Reeves, whose line deliveries have slowed to the point where he sounds like a record being played on the wrong speed [Detroit News]

stars as a neuroscientist, Will Foster [AV Club]

whose work is conducted at Bionyne, a biomedical research company in Puerto Rico. [Detroit News]

Foster is first seen waiting for a donated brain that is being brought to him via helicopter, cross-cutting between Reeves anxiously staring at his watch and the brain being rushed into the facility. During an operation to place this brain into a robot body, Dr. Foster is asked, “Do you concur?” by a colleague and Reeves cries, “I concur!” [TheWrap]

[Foster] is working on bringing the dead back to life by transferring their neural pathways into synthetic lifeforms — basically, downloading human brains into robot bodies.

He does this by standing around in a room with futuristic headgear on saying things like “boot the mapping service” to his trusty assistant, Ed (“Silicon Valley’s” Thomas Middleditch). [Detroit News]

A male corpse is wheeled into a laboratory. Foster announces to those assembled that the body is dead and that they’re about to transplant his brain into a robot. [THR]

After the procedure is completed, and just before Will can scream “It’s alive!,” the newly revived [THR]

understandably loses its cool when it sees metal hands and legs [RogerEbert.com]

and begins to tear at its own body. [THR]

Lots of yelling and ripping at metal ensues. [RogerEbert.com]

Nevertheless, Foster is encouraged. “This one spoke!” he cries optimistically before going home to his picture-perfect blonde wife Mona (Alice Eve) and their three rambunctious children. [TheWrap]

Her reaction is one for the books. “You can’t just keep bringing people back from the dead until you have this stuff worked out,” she points out, with less urgency than a wife reminding her husband to remember to put the toilet seat down. [THR]

Mona has been given one line of dialogue here about being a doctor, but she looks and behaves like a personal trainer. [TheWrap]

She’s worried that he’s losing his ability to tell right from wrong. Playing God does that to a scientist — makes him a Mad Scientist. He insists we’re all just “chemistry” and “neural pathways.” She’s talking about “the soul.” [RogersMovieNation]

Every line she speaks sounds hastily redubbed, and her re-emergence as a clone [spoiler alert!] betrays no additional unease. [The Verge]

ACT 2

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Not long afterward, the couple embark on a road trip with their three young children, improbably heading toward their destination in the middle of a stormy night. [THR]

a tree quickly smashes through their windshield. [TheWrap]

cue the inevitable car crash, [THR]

on a conveniently secluded mountain road, [Variety]

with Will the only survivor. After carefully laying out the dead bodies on the side of the road, [THR]

it feels like he is just raking some leaves in his backyard. [TheWrap]

Will then calls not the police but rather his dedicated co-worker Ed (Thomas Middleditch). [THR]

When Ed sees the dead bodies he asks, “What the hell happened, man?” [TheWrap]

In no time at all, Reeves’ Foster is taking the corpses home and urging Ed to help him clone them. “I’m not a freakin’ genie here,” Ed says in his usual detached way while Reeves speaks of the “neurofibrillary tangles” of memory. [TheWrap]

Will’s plan is to clone his family members and make identical replicas. [THR]

Foster feigns illness to stay at home and work on his clone family, even though his boss Jones (John Ortiz) is demanding results for their robot-brain project. “I have to watch the pods!” Foster exclaims on the phone to Ed. [TheWrap]

Because he has access to just three incubation pods, Will can only bring back his wife (Alice Eve) and two of his children, which means he also has to scrub away all their memories of the third kid—a pseudoscientific task that this pseudo-movie depicts as a simple click-and-delete process, like Eternal Sunshine by way of iMovie. [AV Club]

Foster sits down and processes the memories of his children and wife in a virtual-reality setting, but all we see are red veins flowing along while we hear innocuous meal-time-like shouts and murmurs. [The Wrap]

[Foster] constructs his homemade cloning station with the help of [Ed], projecting the put-upon indignation one might expect from a coworker sick of being asked to cover a shift. “Well, see you at work,” is his blithe farewell after the experiment succeeds. [AV Club]

The family is dead and gone within 15 minutes of screen time, but the actual clones don’t wake up for around an hour. [TheVerge]

Will asks Ed how the clones are progressing, since they take 17 days to incubate. “They’re a foot taller,” Ed informs him, looking vaguely annoyed at having to give a progress report. [THR]

The clone family is kept in water, and Ed warns Foster that they will age rapidly if they are not released soon. When clone Mona wakes up and things seem fine with her, Ed mutters, “We’re talkin’ Nobel Prize, right?” in his usual non-committed style. [TheWrap]

Will, on the other hand, comes across less like a bereaved mad scientist than a bumbling crook, stealing car batteries from his neighbors to power his basement lab and carrying out text-message conversations with his dead daughter’s friends. [AV Club]

The experiment is successful. Will soon has his family back; well, most of them, with the others’ memories of the youngest daughter conveniently deleted. The two men are naturally thrilled by the results. “Hey, we made clones today!” Ed exults, sounding like he’s finally perfected his recipe for bundt cake. [THR]

But as anyone who has seen mad scientist movies can guess, complications are likely to ensue. Especially since Will’s officious boss (John Ortiz), who [THR]

delivers his lines as if he’s memorized them phonetically [AV Club]

is clearly up to no good. [THR]

It actually comes as a relief when [Ortiz] pops up relatively late in “Replicas” to in effect ask, “Did you really think things would be that freakin’ easy?” [Variety]

Act 3

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[Replicas] eventually devolves into tedious thriller tropes, including Will and his family being pursued by bad guys, wearing identical black suits, who look like they’re auditioning for a road company of Reservoir Dogs. [THR]

“Replicas” is also the kind of movie that throws around words like algorithm as if they mean something significant. “We need to get the algorithm!” They might as well have just called it a “doohickey.” [RogerEbert.com]

There are two instances when a needle is plunged directly into an eye on screen [TheWrap]

a third-act reveal that brazenly acknowledges just how silly things have been up to that point. [Variety]

a brief shot of a forlorn Reeves hugging a stuffed pink unicorn that feels like it should be GIFed [RogerEbert.com]

the consistently silly delivery of lines like “Upload my neural map!” [TheWrap]

Okay, so I know I said no analysis, but…

Replicas comes off] like a “Twilight Zone” episode written by frat bros who were half-paying attention while “Minority Report” streamed in the background. [Detroit News]

…less like a science-fiction thriller than some malfunctioning computer’s unconvincing approximation of one. If you woke up in a glitching simulation, this janky garbage would be projected on every screen, possibly under the title Human Movie. [AV Club]

Rarely have characters in a sci-fi movie crossed boundaries of reality and ethics so casually, comically underreacting to every tragedy and miracle. [AV Club]

The script resembles what you might get if you plugged random lines of synopsis from a dozen experiment-gone-awry potboilers into a faulty algorithm. [AV Club]

After what may be one hundred hours, the film does not so much end as it stops, the score’s wrapping-up tone an evident substitute for closure or resolution. [The Guardian]

The climax’s bizarre left turns culminate in a final image so bewildering that were the film not so relentlessly dour it might have clarified Replicas as an absurdist comedy. [Slant]

Boy, that was fun. Is there any actor out there besides Keanu Reeves whose bad movies are almost as fun as his good ones? God bless Keanu.

Vince Mancini is on Twitter. You can find his archive of reviews here.

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