The epic science fiction film The Matrix helped to make Keanu Reeves a household name, but that wasn’t the only futuristic film he ever starred in. One of Keanu Reeves’ most-overlooked sci-fi films is Replicas, and like The Matrix before it, this film explores crunchy topics such as neural interfacing and the dangers of playing God with the lives of others. And if you’d like to see just how far down this very different rabbit hole the man who played Neo goes, you can stream Replicas on Netflix today.
Keanu Reeves plays someone very different from the action hero that we all know and love in the movie Replicas. In this film, he plays a biomedical research scientist who knows how to map the brain’s neural pathways, and he has a friend and colleague who is a master of human cloning.
After Reeves’ character loses most of his family in a tragic accident, the two scientists combine their skills to bring the family back to life…but it doesn’t take too long before complications arise that threaten not only his body but his very soul.
If you’d like to see just how far down this very different rabbit hole the man who played Neo goes, you can stream Replicas on Netflix today.
The cast is lean in this movie, but like Keanu Reeves, each of them gives their all to Replicas. We enjoyed seeing Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middlemitch playing Reeves’ clone-savvy colleague, and John Ortiz (of Carlito’s Way) does a great job of playing the film’s central antagonist.
Alice Eve plays Reeves’ wife in the film, and her time in movies like Men In Black 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness means that she is right at home in this very unconventional sci-fi story.
And while Keanu Reeves does his usual excellent job as an actor, it’s worth noting that he believed in Replicas enough to be one of its producers. It serves as a reminder that the actor is more than the sum of his Hollywood career, which is largely spent headlining fan-favorite franchises such as John Wick.
He’s also someone who isn’t afraid to wear multiple hats when creating a film in order to help a good story see the light of day.
Of course, we can’t rule out the possibility that Keanu Reeves became so invested in Replicas because he wanted a change of scenery. The movie is set in Puerto Rico and filmed on-location, which led to one stunning vista after another. And let’s face it: if you watch enough sci-fi movies, it’s downright exciting to find one that isn’t the umpteenth film set in places like New York or Los Angeles.
Unfortunately, audiences at the time didn’t share Keanu Reeves’ passion for Replicas. It ended up earning only $9.3 million against a budget of $30 million, making it a box office flop. And while that box office disaster was not nearly as bad as what we saw recently with The Flash, the movie did end up having the worst wide release of Reeves’ entire career.
Critics weren’t much kinder to this Keanu Reeves sci-fi flop: on Rotten Tomatoes, Replicas currently has an 11 percent critical rating, with reviewers complaining about the film’s alleged plot holes and unintentionally funny moments. Fortunately, the movie has experienced something of a renaissance on streaming, with more audiences coming to appreciate its unique charms.
Replicas ended up having the worst wide release of Reeves’ entire career.
And while it’s not quite as “cult following” status yet, it’s fair to say that Replicas has more unabashed fans now than it ever did before.
Replicas’ Relevance Today
Aside from the ever-growing popularity of Keanu Reeves himself, one reason we imagine modern audiences are vibing to Replicas is that it speaks to some of our anxieties that weren’t quite as widespread back in 2019.
For example, the core ethical dilemma of the film is whether it is right for a grieving family man to use cutting-edge technology in order to resurrect his family. Considering that people are now using AI in order to create virtual avatars of dead loved ones in an attempt at digital resurrection, Replicas seems like a frighteningly-prescient glimpse of what our future may hold.
Sadly, we’re not likely to glimpse Keanu Reeves in a Replicas sequel because it was a commercial and critical flop, but we think this movie is definitely worth a watch. It’s got great actors and an ethical dilemma fueled by technology, and that’s always a winning formula for great science fiction. And if you’re ready to try to solve this dilemma from the comfort of your couch, you can stream Replicas on Netflix today.