Replikator: Cloned To Kill:
Maybe it's the virus talking, but as I lie in a delirious state on my couch, trying to comprehend Replikator: Cloned To Kill, I'm kind of charmed. Representing the next evolution of silly independent features from the mid-'80s, 1994's Replikator is on steroids: action sequences, helicopter battles, semi-decent production values and mysterious guest stars. Yes, the shot-on-video, straight-to-video hallmarks are missing, but the daft pedigree that fair shouts Sci-Fi channel (though it supposedly had an actual brief theatrical release) is attendant in grand fashion.
Ludovic Ludovic is an ex-con felon who has made the transition from forgery scams to engineering devices that can exactly duplicate anything, even living creatures. Yet, he's still the type of guy who'll go to a dance club to play video games, as in the pseudo-electrifying opening sequence. My kind of guy. His replication (or replikation) project is hounded by a mirror project run by a legitimate, albeit evil, corporation. Hey, this is 2014, evil corporations are more accepted. Unfortunately, Ludovic is accidentally replicated before the machine is quite ready, and convoluted insanity ensues as his replicant goes on a murderous rampage.
Replikator is highly derivative of Blade Runner, with a little bit of Cronenberg's The Fly thrown in for good measure. The atmosphere is very future-noir on a bargain budget, and that includes the star Michael St. Gerard, and affable, easy on the eyes gent possibly better suited to star on a sitcom like Blossom. St. Gerard's pouty lips and prominent eyebrows compete with those of improbable guest-star Ilona Staller (La Cicciolina to you Italian porno fans). Meanwhile an apparently cash-hungry Ned Beatty lends some grit as good-guy cop Victor Valiant. Mix it all together and you get a not-too-serious sci-fi potboiler with such a curious atmosphere that (especially if you're out of your mind on cough suppressants) you can't help but take it into your heart.
Even though the plot gets a little bogged down, Replikator plays cool and undemanding, with snappy editing that moves things along at a pleasant clip. Its future is advertising and television-heavy, with an emphasis on retro graphics that might actually be spot on for what will be popular seven years from now. The presence of constant TV announcer voices and mechanical respiration folds into the dim, cool-green color scheme to create an airport-of-the-future air that helps to detach you from critical appraisal and just enjoy the ride. Less than original, nonsensical, and low budget; it's a near perfect Saturday afternoon flick for the infirm.
I'm still not sure if this ever made it to the theaters, as this DVD presents Replikator in 1.33:1 fullscreen ratio. It's showing its age in a fairly grainy, soft transfer, not aided by a dark production design. Overall, it's not looking great, but somehow it adds to the charm.
Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is put to decent use through helicopter battles, gunfights, explosions and ubiquitous television announcers, but once again, the low-budget pedigree should tell you that it's not necessary to have a home theater system to enjoy this movie.
Very nearly a goose egg for extras; Scene Selections and a self-navigated Stills Gallery (19 images total) are all you get. Oh, and the movie is actually only about 95 minutes with credits, not the 105 minutes that the DVD cover claims.
So it's faint praise from a not in his right mind critic; a harmless, convoluted, derivative sci-fi schlock-fest with weird guest stars and an airless atmosphere that distances you from discerning thinking. But how often have you plopped down on that couch just begging for something like that? Even though it was a Worldfest Gold Award winner, it's not the type of movie that's going to win any awards, if you catch my drift. However, for those exhausted Friday nights, or TheraFlu Saturday afternoons, you may consider Replikator as a safe, no apologies Rent. Unless you can find it on TV, because that would be more appropriate - and cheaper.
- Kurt Dahlke
~ More of Dahlke's DVD Talk reviews here at DVD Talk I'm not just a writer, I paint colorful, modern abstracts, too! Check them out here KurtDahlke.com