New on Netflix is They Cloned Tyrone starring John Boyega. It looked interesting so I thought I would give it a try. Here’s my review, which will have spoilers, but ultimately that won’t matter too much. You will see why. They Cloned Tyrone stars Boyega, Jamie Foxx, Teyonah Parris, David Alan Grier, J Alphonse Nicholson, Tamberla Perry, and Kiefer Sutherland. It is directed by Juel Taylor and written by Taylor and Tony Rettenmaier.
We arrive in Glen, which is described as a “retro-futuristic neighborhood”. This confused me off the bat as it seems like it was a 1980’s hood, but they all have mobile phones and, at one point, someone mentions 9/11, which was in 2001. I only discovered this was supposed to be a “retro-futuristic neighborhood” when reading up on the movie after watching it. Without clarity going in, it is confusing.
Fontaine, played by Boyega, is a low-level drug dealer but a good guy at heart. He goes to see Slick Charles, played by Foxx, about some money. While there we meet Yo-Yo, played by Paris, who is one of Slick’s “ladies of the night”.
After they meet up, Fontaine gets shot by another drug dealer and is killed. The next morning, Slick gets freaked out when Fontaine shows up again, asking about the money he’s owed. He doesn’t remember getting shot, but Slick and Yo-Yo confirm he died.
The rest of the first two acts are about the three of them in a Nancy Drew adventure, trying to figure out what’s going on.
It turns out that Glen is being watched from all angles by an underground government department who are trying to control the black population. You’ve guessed it, everyone that works there is white. All of the black-on-black crime, the violence, the drug dealing, could all be irradicated by mind control. They also seemed to have cloned a few of the people in Glen.
This did start out interesting but then got stupider as the story went on. There was no real reason why, when Fontaine got shot, they replaced him with a clone. In fact, if they hadn’t done that, none of the underground mind control would have been discovered. I guess it was just to make the movie happen.
It turns out that the main bad guy is Boyega, as an older professor, the original that Fotaine is a clone of. His brother was shot, and he wanted to stop the violence. What is the best way to do this? Join forces with the government and slowly use mind control and cloning to eradicate black people from the earth. They literally show how the clones will go from black to Aryan.
You find out at one point all of the black people are being fed drugs, how? Put it in fried chicken. The other way is to put the drug in hair dye. This seemed incredibly stereotypically racist to me. But I guess, if the movie is being done ironically, it’s apparently OK? Also, the N-word is used a lot, but it’s OK here, right?
End of Spoilers
If this was an ironic piece of work, it might be considered clever. However, it doesn’t manage to be ironic. Instead it is just patronising to the culture of today. Usual tropes are evident. PoC are great, white people are evil, mind-controlling slave owners etc.
It’s a shame, as They Cloned Tyrone could have a clever story at its core, although it is borrowed from Edge of Tomorrow, Stepford Wives, and every Blaxploitation movie from the 1970s.
There is a classic British sitcom over here called Only Fools and Horses. In it, there are two brothers from South London who talk in Old Cockney Rhyming Slang. To us Brits, it’s hilarious. I imagine anyone from outside the UK would have trouble understanding it. ‘Lovely jubbly’.
They Cloned Tyrone is the same, in that it is set in a hood in America somewhere and, at times, I could have used subtitles to understand what they were saying. I see the target audience for the movie, but it seems like a very limited market.
At first, I couldn’t decide if the movie was a clever take on how certain ethnic cultures are treated in the US, or if it was pandering to said communities. As the movie went on, and the story got sillier and sillier, I made up my mind it was just pandering. This was a shame as, with a better script, it might have been great.
It is also the little things that annoy. At the end of the movie, there are live broadcasts of the events that took place in the story. There are naked people walking around and, in the live coverage, the naughty bits are blurred out. When some of the people swear, it’s bleeped out, on live TV. Obviously, when we cut back to the actual movie, all the nude people disappear. The devil is in the detail.
The cast is very good, it was nice to see Boyega outside of Star Wars. I’ve always liked Foxx as an actor. I think he always puts in a good performance. Parris is a good actress, although I can’t say I liked her character.
I just had a look at the scores on IMDb and
Shill Central Rotten Tomatoes, and it’s getting rave reviews. I heard recently that IMDb has been deleting reviews of certain movies as they think they are being ‘review bombed’. That doesn’t happen here on the LMO! We speak our minds and leave it that way.
They Cloned Tyrone is the best movie I have ever seen in my life and I can now die happy. No, wait, that’s not true! Stop changing my words. Now that I hate this movie, I’m a racist? It’s not that, I just know a good movie from a bad movie. I think it was a Blaxploitation movie for the modern audience that missed its own point and forgot what made Blaxploitation so good.
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