It’s January, so that means a lot of weak movies. And what is my first 2019 release? Why, it’s the Keanu Reeves sci-fi drama Replicas! Is this going to be Keanu giving us something closer to The Matrix or the John Wick movies or will it be more like, well, let’s say most of the rest of his filmography?
Oh, this movie.
Keanu stars as one William Foster, a neuroscientist working on a project to revive the dead in artificial bodies. It hasn’t quite been working, and while his wife Mona (Alice Eve) takes a moment to argue the philosophical and moral implications of such a project, philosophical and moral implications aren’t much of a focus for this movie. And it isn’t long before an auto accident kills William’s entire family. William, getting help from his friend and co-worker Ed (Thomas Middleditch), gets to work on bringing back Mona and their kids. It’s not an instant process, and there are a lot of angles William needs to figure out, but if you’ve seen the trailers, you know how the revival portion turns out.
So, here’s the thing: this movie starts off rather plodding and dull. It’s really hard to get into William’s plight when it’s just Sad Keanu. Keanu Reeves is, from all indications, a hell of a nice guy and all-around decent human being. But except for a few action movies, I can’t say I’ve ever seen him in a movie I really liked because of him or that he has given a really emotional and compelling performance. That said, much of the cast here matches his ponderous flat delivery aside from Middleditch as, I am guessing, intended comic relief that isn’t given anything funny to do. The script and direction don’t really help much. Potential jokes are delivered in deadly seriousness. In fact, “deadly serious” is a good way to describe a movie that has such a surface ridiculous concept. It’s just so deadly serious without really showing why it should be…and then Act 3 starts and it goes from dull to stupid. This just wasn’t very good. That’s maybe not surprising. It is a January release, after all. 4 out of 10 crayon drawings of sadness on hard wood surfaces.