Entertainment Studios is primed to position itself as the go-to studio for cinematic delightmares.
Definition of a delightmare: a movie so bad it’s good, intentionality optional (and it can sometimes be a hindrance; looking like you’re trying to be funny is a great way not to be funny). Entertainment Studios churns out cheap knockoffs of yesteryear’s mid-budget spectacles that Disney’s all but cannibalized, leaning into genres whose guarantees of juicy premises and reliable thrills can hopefully move tickets.
Though they’ve flirted with quality goods — Hostiles, for one (Chappaquiddick was another attempt, but it ended up as more of a delightmare than expected) — their claim-to-fames, the movies that should be their brand, are fare like 47 Meters Down (a sequel’s on the way!) and The Hurricane Heist. They’re wonderfully-goofy, but played straight — which just makes them that much goofier — takes on shark attacks and natural disasters. In other words: TAKE MY MONEY!!!
Thus, I had high hopes for Replicas; Keanu Reeves in a sci-fi clone plot — TAKE MY MONEY!!!
Unfortunately, it’s the epitome of meh — more like epitomeh, amirite?! — with scant traces of the ridiculousness of Entertainment Studio’s aforementioned highlights.
There are some memorably-silly moments here; every time Keanu tries to speak scientist, and the last shot (highlight the following white text to read the spoiler), in which a Keanu robot — not to be confused with robot Keanu, a fairly accurate description of his performance style — lookalike inexplicably wears a suit and tie!
Replicas flirts with superior routes it could’ve gone down: as a Frankenstein-esque Blade Runner origin story shot through with I, Robot (right on down to their conspicuously-similar robot designs) meets Tom King’s run on the comic book The Vision, treating robots living their everyday lives in suburbia as a commentary on the robotic, rote social machinations of the suburban lifestyle.
By the way, Tom King’s arc on The Vision desperately needs to be adapted to the big screen. I promise that I will stop complaining about Marvel’s endlessly-monotonous — and monotonously-endless — output if they start dabbling in some much-needed diversity OF SUBSTANCE, not merely of superficial style. If the budget’s kept low, why couldn’t we get a Marvel drama about how superheroes live quotidian lives — not as a respite from the primary action scenes, but as an exploration of ordinary existence through the prism of the extraordinary? Heck, Marvel already has a perfect Vision for the job; Paul Bettany can do anything. Why must all of their movies revolve around explosions? Need every movie worry about how they fit in and thus expand the MCU’s greater narrative?
Shit, that was a tangent.
Can you tell that I don’t have much more to say about the shit that is Replicas? For once, an Entertainment Studio offering doesn’t live up to that name — a fairly low bar to clear, all things considered.