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The numerous Nancy Drew references are an all too telling omen in Netflix failure They Cloned Tyrone, an odd match between a naïve kid’s adventure and adult sci-fi that bores you throughout.

Despite some very fine original movies on the streamer in recent years, Netflix has always been more interested in piquing interest than in producing movies that can go the distance quality-wise. Anyone thinking that focus has shifted, will get a rude awakening with They Cloned Tyrone.

The premise of the film is strong: in a suburban town disposable black people are cloned by a nefarious corporation in the hopes that the mind-controlled duplicates will bring an end to violence in America. But a movie should be more than a premise. It should have stakes, characters, twists and turns, and mostly: heart. They Cloned Tyrone has none of those.

And that's not where the bad news ends. The opening act of the film sets up the plot and characters in a very clunky fashion, the middle part frustratingly drags its feet and the finale fails to make a coherent point, apart from the desire to produce a sequel. Worse still is the naïve kid's adventure narrative, which badly clashes with the adult themes and characters.

There are some glimmers of a better movie, hiding amid the rubble of this roundly disappointing flick. Jamie Foxx and Teyonah Parris have excellent chemistry as a pimp and a prostitute, the cinematography is suitably gloomy and the underlying harsh satire of disenfranchised people in the USA shows promise, but the filmmakers never follow through on those small bright spots.

And thus They Cloned Tyrone ends up as yet another movie-by-algorithm, as easily disposable as the clones in the movie itself.

release: 2023

director: Juel Taylor

starring: John Boyega, Jamie Foxx, Teyonah Parris, Kiefer Sutherland


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