I’m arriving to the Replicas party late. The room is empty, the snacks have been picked over, and there’s an exhausted Keanu Reeves in the kitchen asking me if I could stick around and help with the dishes.
It’s to my understanding that Replicas wasn’t received well. A majority of the feedback was negative, and it was a financial flop in theatres (raking in a total gross of $8.1 million against a $30 million budget according to the-numbers.com). These stats don’t influence my take though. In fact, allow me to turn these poor reports around and suggest that Replicas is better suited for home viewing.
Replicas is goofy, but it’s a slab of ham that works decently within the sci-fi genre despite being far-fetched. It’s exactly the film you expect it to be upon learning that Reeves’ character, William Foster, is a mad scientist who is trying to blend artificial intelligence with the “afterlife”. When someone dies, Foster transfers the psychological consciousness into a robotic shell that resembles a human being, giving these fallen souls a second chance. While the technology is a little hinky, Foster puts his faith into it when his family is killed in a devastating car accident.
In Canada, Replicas is only available on Digital HD. While that sounds strange for such a mainstream flick, it’s actually the best platform for the movie to exist on. It’s rubbery camp that’s best discovered while scrolling through new releases, and then played in a living room as people yell at the screen. Is it flawed? Absolutely. But, it’s also entertaining. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes unintentional.
Replicas does have a problem with heightened ambition though, and figuring out what it’s actually capable of. For instance, those previously mentioned human bots look great when they’re stationary. But when they start moving or when they get hostile, the CGI can’t handle the frantic movements. These menacing robots start looking more like cartoons. I appreciate director Jeffrey Nachmanoff (Traitor) swinging for the fences. Now, he just needs to reign his ideas in.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie