WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Jeffrey Nachmanoff's Replicas, in theaters now.
Replicas is another sci-fi flick that deals with mankind's god complex. Taking pages from properties like Blade Runner, A.I., I, Robot and The 6th Day, the film mixes the tropes of clones and artificial intelligence as Keanu Reeves' Dr. William Foster, a scientist at Bionyne, combines both to bring his family back to life after a car crash.
However, director Jeffrey Nachmanoff, as ambitious as he gets, fails to plug a couple of big plot holes that really threaten to derail the film's ending.
The Problem with Ed
William's the expert on mind transplanting, but the ace on cloning is Ed (Thomas Middleditch). In fact, he's Bionyne's only cloning engineer and basically acts as a one-man department. This is why it's so easy for him to sneak out the company's only three cloning pods, as well as other equipment needed to regenerate Will's family, and cover up their scheme.
When their boss, Jones (John Ortiz), finds out and reveals his villainous hand, however, he demands the algorithm from Will that perfects the mind transplant process they've been having so much trouble with in humans. Knowing his employees have a working formula, he bargains the safety of Will's family for the software.
However, it makes no sense at all why he'd put a bullet in Ed's head to send a message. Killing the only cloning expert and the person who can help create soldiers for war (especially after Jones reveals Bionyne is actually a secret weapons company) is simply done to add drama.
What makes the situation worse is the fate of Jones himself. When Will uploads his own mind to Bionyne's robot, Subject 354 (which basically acts as an indestructible Will 2.0), he kills Jones. But in his dying breath he allows Will 2.0 to store his mind in exchange for letting the Fosters go free.
As the film ends, Jones is seen peddling this technology to millionaires abroad, indicating he was cloned and his mind transferred into this new body. But without Ed, that's impossible. Ed was the only one who dealt with cloning. Just like Will alone had the mind transfer algorithm, Ed alone had to cloning secrets in his mind.
The Daughter Who Never Was
Early on, Will couldn't bring his youngest daughter, Zoe, back as they didn't have enough pods. Thus, he manipulated his family's neural implants to erase all memory of her. As part of the deal with Jones in the finale, though, Bionyne clones Zoe, transfers her mind in from Will's archives and returns her to the family. Sadly, this is impossible for a few reasons.
Apart from needing Ed to achieve this, even if Jones were to find a replacement, this ending occurs two months later. Ed took years to perfect the cloning process, so even with Zoe's mind stored, Jones simply didn't have the genius and hardware needed to create her clone.
On top of that, Bionyne ran out of equipment and this time frame is way too short for the company to get new equipment (as Ed stated earlier on, this procurement process is sensitive and takes over four months). This is clearly done for plot convenience and to force-feed us a happy ending.
Also, cloning Zoe is impossible, as Will failed to take her DNA when she died. Knowing he couldn't bring her back, he had Ed dispose of the family's bodies without ever disclosing the location. Seeing as Ed died, there's also no way they could get to her body.
In addition, Will got rid of all Zoe's personal belongings to trick his family into thinking she never existed, so unless Jones got Bionyne to do a thorough sweep and find her genetic material at home, bringing Zoe back is out of the question. Most importantly, the fact remains that, by shooting Ed, the secrets to perfecting human cloning died with him.
Replicas, directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff from a script by Chad St. John, stars Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, Thomas Middleditch, John Ortiz, Emjay Anthony, Emily Alyn Lind, Aria Leabu and Nyasha Hatendi.