The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Replicant (2001)

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I rented this film when I was home from college for a few days and wanted something cheap to do. I've always been a huge Van Damme fan, and was curious to dip into his burgeoning DTV career. It was an interesting experience.

Replicant is about a cop, played by Michael Rooker, who's tracking a serial killer, played by DTVC Hall of famer Jean-Claude Van Damme. He can't catch him, and eventually retires. That's when the NSA invites him try this experimental approach: replicate the serial killer using some of his DNA found at the scene of one of his crimes. The replicant will have some of his memories and a telepathic link to the baddie. It's quite a stretch, I know.

The basic crux of this film is some kind of Nature vs. Nurture debate: is someone born a serial killer or made one? I don't really get it. I don't get how the cloned Van Damme is telepathically linked to the real one, how he has his memories, or why he's like an infant sometimes, and not others-- essentially when it's convenient to the plot.

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I'm surprised Van Damme did this, considering he played two roles in the classic Double Impact. I think his career was sliding after the seven figure per picture numbers he was used to in the mid-nineties, and maybe he wasn't sure what to do. This movie is dumb, even for him.

I didn't get Michael Rooker either. He's a complete dick to the infantile Van Damme clone. He's actually abusive. Why do we want to watch that? Why don't you make a buddy picture with Rooker and a dog, and he can beat the dog with a rolled up newspaper? I guess the Van Damme clone is supposed to see him as a father, which just muddles up the Nature vs. Nurture debate, because anyone with Rooker's character for a dad would be lucky to just be a serial killer.

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I want to find something redeemable in this, but it's difficult. Van Damme flexes his martial arts muscles some, but it's mostly against under matched extras as cops, or the women he's killing, so it just sucks. When he fights himself it's kind of cool, but I couldn't figure out why the clone could beat him.

You need to avoid this. It's not like Desert Heat, Derailed, or The Order, where there's a lot of fun to be had in them. This one just doesn't feel right. Between the muddled moral, the fuzzy science, the abusive Rooker, and the lack of solid action, I just can't get behind this. Sorry Jean-Claude. If it makes you feel any better, I still have the GQ that you were on the cover of.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0238552/

2 comments:

  1. Just rented and watched Replicant, I can't think of a better word to describe it other than ridiculous. Especially the ending....wow. I also did not understand why the replicant Jean faked his own death? Any ideas?

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  2. I haven't seen this in a little while, but from what I remember, trying to make sense of anything that happened in it is an effort in futility. My guess: it was the film's paltry attempt at having the replicant Jean go through some kind of existentialist crisis. Or maybe he just loved John Rooker.

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