Action / Sci-Fi / Thriller


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September 01, 2015 at 10:50 PM



Jean-Claude Van Damme as Replicant / Edward Garrotte
Michael Rooker as Det. Jake Riley
Paul McGillion as Captain
April Telek as Downtown Mother Victim
802.73 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 40 min
P/S 5 / 21

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by David 5 / 10

Van Damme's comeback..........

I have to admit that "Replicant" succeeded in surprising me quite a few times, which is surprising itself since I wasn't ready for any surprise in a direct-to-video-van Damme-movie. But this movie is not like your average van Damme-stupidity. In some way this is good, in another way it is not.

What I was hoping for was 90 minutes of fun that makes me laugh very loud the way "Double Team" or "Streetfighter" managed to do. I was afraid of seeing 90 minutes of boring stupid action with only few unintentional laughs, like "The Quest" or "Knock Off". "Replicant" walks on a thin line between those extremes.

Well, it is the third movie in which van Damme appears in two roles at the same time and it is a strange record for an action star. At first we see the bad guy, a serial killer with long hair who kills mothers by killing and then burning them. He does this because his mother used to call him "bad boy" and once almost burned him alive. Michael Rooker plays the cop who tries to catch the killer and the movie sometimes suggests that the killer also plays the typical "serial killer-movie game", in which the killer seems to kill just for the cop who chases him. But this is just a sidenote in the film whereas it is a major point that Rooker is very obsessed in finding the killer. Where this obsession comes from is never explained and this contributes to a lot of the weird aspects of the film.

One day after Rooker again managed NOT to catch the killer some government guys approach him and make an interesting offer. They want to clone the killer and try to catch him with the memories of the real killer in the clone's brain (that's what I think is their plan). The way the "clone"-thing is introduced must be seen to be believed. We never get the feeling that the movie plays in the future and neither the science guys nor Rooker as the cop make a big deal of simply cloning another person for an investigation. When Rooker is told about the clone idea his reaction does not exist. He simply accepts not questioning for a mili-second what is going on. Even more strange is the fact that the government guys even think of trusting Rooker to take care of the clone. And for no reason at all Rooker uses this trust by deceiving them time after time, by refusing to cooperate but these "National Security" guys never mind at all. Neither do Rooker's relatives and partners who very very rarely wonder why he has a new pet and why it looks like the serial killer everyone's looking for?

It may seem strange to go into such deep plot discussions but the movie plays so seriously that it's hard not to do. That's the weird thing here: the film only scarcely tries to go for cheap effects and shortcuts. For a van Damme movie the action is very rare and except maybe two scenes not very spectacular.

And then there is van Damme's performance as the clone. The clone, who is never referred to with any name, seems like a mixture between a retard and Jackie Chan. He hardly speaks, looks bewildered and confused but can also swing himself around pipes a dozen times, jump around like a monkey and fight like a karate dog. I'm not quite sure where he has the fighting abilities from and why they developed so much better than his thinking abilities. To say the least, it is an interesting performance but it also produces some laughs especially because of the way Rooker treats him.

Rooker has the strangest character here, being obsessed with a case for no reason, cruel to the only person who can help him and sometimes very stupid. For example when he first hunts the killer and simply lets him drive away while dozens of policemen in police cars arrive and he simply doesn't mind telling them that the killer has just been around the corner one second ago.

There are a lot of strange things in this movie but most of them work somehow and make it actually very entertaining. An action scene with an ambulance is both ridiculous and effective. A scene with the clone spending time with a prostitute is not working at all and feels contrived and unnecessary. Some things are simply unexpected, for example the cruelty of the killer when he is not actually killing. He shoots innocent bystanders for no reason and in a scene in a hospital his violence becomes comic-like when he kicks nurses and hits wheelchair patients with the ambulance. In one scene Rooker has to throw his weapon away because he is threatened to get killed and for no reason he throws it in a bucket of blood. Later the clone has to fetch it out of there. And there is a scene in the killer's apartment that questions his motivation, the logic of computers and plot and the the abilities of the clone.

"Replicant" is a B-movie, that is for sure, but in an unexpected way it is a good one, entertaining, not too much over the top and somehow still convincing. Nevertheless the final scene gets a big laugh for its unbelievable silliness both in plot logic and music choice. And why we see that picture during the end credits is beyond me. Don't expect another "Double Team" but don't expect anything else.

Reviewed by Comeuppance Reviews 8 / 10

A Better Quality DTV Product

Unlike Seagal's crop of DTV crud, Van Damme has been making a very strong effort to make his releases better. "Replicant" is one of them. This is the fourth movie that Van Damme has been in where he plays two people. (See also: "Double Impact", "Maximum Risk", and "Timecop") I wonder if that's in his contract. The plot is: A serial killer named "The Torch" (Van Damme) is on the loose. Rogue cop Jake Riley (Rooker) has to stop him. When "Torch" leaves one of his strands of hair at the crime scene, the idea is to clone him and stop him.

Van Damme plays the clone like a baby. He has to learn to speak, walk and fight. It's a very good performance. Michael Rooker puts in his usual gruff performance. Ringo Lam directs the action scenes with a lot of style and energy. The climatic fight between both clones is fun but we've seen it before.

"Replicant" is definitely worth seeing. The fans will enjoy it and non-fans I think will be surprised by Van Damme's performance.

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Reviewed by Grann-Bach ([email protected]) 5 / 10

Encountering Self

Jake(Rooker, enjoyable to watch as usual) is a cop, obsessed with a serial killer(Van Damme, who, like we see in The Expendables 2, is a much better villain than hero), Torch(so named because of his MO... he uses a knife. ...OK, yeah, it's fire, obviously), who in turn stalks him, because films like Se7en made money. Government agents have the latter cloned(no, no, wait! It... it gets even better!), since they were going to hunt down terrorists like that(!), and, as we all know, "genetics carry memories"(I *told* you! Didn't I?). The best part about the latter is that it's just... slung out there(accompanied by the words "science has proved", which I think is one of those sayings that people use when they know that it just ain't so, like "no offense"). It's like they have it said out loud just to see if it gets any stupider like that, if it gets worse than it looks on the page of the screenplay. How is this going to help? ...who said it would, they just wanted two of him, like in Double Impact(it took a decade to forget why it was so wrong the first time). No, I'm kidding. There's a psychic link between the two. Duh! At this point in reading this, I can only imagine you're bleeding from the ear from the concentrated idiocy of the core concept, so let's not dwell on that any longer. The titular Replicant(yes, yes, that's... very cute, you watched Blade Runner, we get it) is like a child(or possibly even less mentally adept... perhaps that's just JCVD's vacant expression... to be fair, he does well in this role, as well, and the shift between the two is seamless), and our other lead has to take care of him, and this is where it gets interesting, as there is a mirroring, and the nature vs. nurture debate is handled, without being preachy(not that it's entirely subtle, either). Acting is decent. The action is OK, though it barely really needed to be the Belgian Karate champ in the dual role - he gets to do some of those kicks we like to see, sure, but that seems like the afterthought, as he mostly doesn't go up against anyone skillful(he's mostly taking on regular people... and for some reason, he at one point uses a vacuum cleaner as a weapon... no, really). Who looks at him and thinks "mass murderer"? At best, it is quite tense and fast-paced, such as the climax and at least one of the chases. It goes for usual genre clichés(even the relatively recent one of "unmotivated personal endangerment by supposedly professional protagonist"), and we get a one-liner or two that are as dumb as they are uninspired. Ringo Lam, who also helmed Maximum Risk, directs this(and gets us into it, at times, using excitement to distract from... well, scroll back up and see it again, if you've regained your senses and blocked it out), presumably because he was disappointed that his last "two of Jean-Claude" flick didn't have them both featured, and alive, at the same time(on that, while the majority of the tricks to make it look like there's two of him are as unconvincing as his usual performance, there are several effective bits). There is some moderate to strong language, bloody violence and disturbing content as well as a little sexuality(no nudity, and mostly audio) in this. I recommend this to fans of its stars. 5/10

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