See It Instead: Replicas.
Keanu has a new Sci-Fi flick out about cloning his dead family. We bring three films back from the dead you should see instead. Whoa.
While Replicas made our most anticipated list (obviously for artistic merit and not because someone on staff has a man-crush on Mr. Reeves) we thought it was wise to take out an insurance policy. To make sure your movie watching experience is an excellent adventure instead of a bogus journey, here are three films that share a theme with Replicas. It was a touch harder to populate this list since a) we talk about Keanu so damn much, and b) we already have an excellent list of clones in cinema. As such, we had to get a little…creative. Enjoy.
A neuroscientist resurrects his family by recreating their neural signatures and plugging them into new bodies. The tech is not strictly legal, and his employers see the new creations as their property. Oh, and the newly undead family don’t exactly know they’re not on their first go around at existence.
The Serious Pick: The Island (2005)
In a communal bunker, generations of young people are raised on the hope of winning a lottery ticket to The Island: the last inhabitable place for humans outside of the facility. A young man (Ewan McGregor) chafes at the rules of the society, and despite the warnings of contamination sneaks away. He discovers that his fellow survivors are being groomed for a terrible purpose and that The Island is a one-way ticket. When his friend (Scarlett Johansson) is selected in the lottery, he decides to break them both out and to discover the truth about the world outside their bunker.
Well, well. A Michael Bay film I like. Blind squirrels do find acorns once in a while. This film has a neat dystopian Sci-Fi story welded onto an action-driven escape film, and it works out pretty well. The dystopia is a little well-worn by now, but it acquits itself nicely. It certainly has plenty of visual flair.
The action bit is classic Bay, before the giant robot tickle-fests took over his resumé. There’s cliffhangers and narrow escapes, bullets bombs and explosions, and a big finish. While the two parts aren’t stitched together in the most expert manner, the individual pieces are done entertainingly enough to make it immaterial.
The Lighthearted Pick: Surrogates (2009)
Technology has advanced to the point where everyone can have a perfect body. People get around by controlling a technological avatar who embodies their ideal attributes and functions for them in the real world, all while plugged into a VR machine. Now that these “surrogates” do all the hard work of living, murder is nonexistent. Until suddenly it’s not.
One detective (Bruce Willis) discovers the first murder of a real human since the surrogates became widespread. This one murder leads him down the rabbit hole of a complex conspiracy involving the surrogates and the company that makes them. To uncover the secret behind it requires him to ditch his surrogate, putting his actual fleshy and imperfect body in harm’s way.
This isn’t a comedy, but it is a fluffy Sci-Fi romp that works best if you don’t take it too seriously. Of all of the “we get to live inside the machine!” fantasy gimmicks, this one is probably the thinnest. Sure, we’d all love to be physically beautiful, but it doesn’t seem like a such a grand solution since you still have to go to your crummy job and the crummy grocery store. Anyhow, this potboiler is paced well and Willis is pretty good at scowling at the camera in a hard-boiled manner. Sometimes all you want is a competently made, unserious Sci-Fi detective flick to pass the time, and this film has got you covered in robotic Sam Spades.
The Unconventional Pick: Devil’s Advocate (1997)
A young attorney looks to make it big (Keanu Reeves) when he is scouted by a New York law firm. He’s wary of the firm’s charismatic and amoral senior partner (Al Pacino), but can’t turn down the money and prestige. This leads him to make a deal with the devil…literally as it turns out for the dismayed young man. When his wife (Charlize Theron) begins having hellish visions, the young man must find a way to break his Faustian bargain before everything he holds dear is destroyed.
This film was from the “squint and look pretty” Keanu phase, so despite what you’re thinking he’s not the reason this film is here. This film is all about watching Al Pacino just tear the living hell out of the scenery as the prince of darkness in a pinstripe suit. The rest of the film is entertaining, in a John Grisham meets Dan Brown kind of way. Charlize Theron gives a physically harrowing performance, though her character is under utilized outside of a few big scenes. It really comes down to seeing Pacino do that thing where he talks really fast and then STARTS SCREAMING in other people’s faces. In most films it’s incongruous; in this film, as the devil, it’s absolutely pitch perfect.