"They Cloned Tyrone" Film Review

They Cloned Tyrone (2023) - IMDb

"They Cloned Tyrone" Film Review

Rating: 4/5

By: Nathaniel Simpson

    Films that premiere on streaming services nowadays are a hit or a miss. Many times, the highly-publicized films usually end up to be very disappointing, seeming like a waste of both time and money to make these unoriginal motion pictures. However, towards the end of July, Netflix subtly released a motion picture titled "They Cloned Tyrone", which is the directorial debut of screenwriter Juel Taylor and stars John Boyega, Jamie Foxx, and Teyonah Parris. The movie not only contains an original and intriguing story that serves as social commentary for how Black people are unjustly treated in America, but is a hilariously good time that has fantastic performances from its three leads. Quentin Tarantino and Spike Lee are getting up there in age, and Tarantino has said for years now this next film of his is his last. I truly think Taylor has what it takes to be the next inspiration visionary for this next generation. 

    The film opens with Fontaine (Boyega), a drug dealer who makes sure buyers come to his part of the town, which is known as the Glen, which is a modern-day, 1970's setting that is inspired by numerous blaxploitation films from the '60s and '70s. When he goes one night to confront one of his buyers named Slick Charles (Foxx), trying to find the money he owes him, Fontaine is gunned down by a rival drug dealer in the parking lot. However, Fontaine wakes up the next morning with no recollection of what happened the previous day and perfectly fine.    

    This makes Fontaine and Charles think something is seriously wrong, and they team up with prostitute Yo-Yo (Parris) to find out what is going on. What they don't expect is to stumble across a government conspiracy that clones people in their neighborhood. They are now tasked with trying to bring down the project, even though they are the only three who know about this secret project going on underneath their town. 

    The first fifteen minutes of this film are very interesting; I don't think I enjoyed it much. Taylor kickstarts the movie right from the first second, practically throwing us into this story with no idea where we are or who we are following as our main character. Because of this, this first part before Tyrone is gunned down in the motel parking lot is simply confusing and bland. Then, Tyrone wakes up, and it seems like the movie did as well. 

    From there, what ensues is a hilarious film that plays on all of the inspirations Taylor took from films growing up. This movie oozes style and charm; consider the outfits Charles wears and how Foxx portrays this character. Not only does he take inspiration from films that star the likes of Pam Grier and Jim Brown, but also of those that were made by Lee and Tarantino. There are numerous instances where I felt like this movie channeled "Do the Right Thing" and "Pulp Fiction". It's honestly a joy to see a filmmaker craft a project that shows he is very passionate about this art craft. 

    When it comes to the story, I think this movie does a great job of telling its tale and immersing the viewer into this world. Taylor, alongside co-writer Tony Rettenmaier, tell a story that is so off-the-wall crazy and bizarre that it simply works. I definitely had a lot of fun with everything the two did, and I enjoyed the crazy tongue-in-cheek humor they used throughout the film. At the same time, it does a wonderful job of painting a picture for the audience on why this story is important and relates to society today. We unfortunately live in a world where cops kill innocent people and we have to remind them that Black Lives Matter, and this film just shows how everyone in this world need to remember their humanity and change their ways. I won't get into spoilers, but they really do a great job here and you need to see for yourself. 

    Boyega, Parris, and Foxx are fantastic here, especially Foxx. They have wonderful on-screen chemistry with one another, and can easily play off one another. When I mention that this is reminiscent of a Tarantino film, it is in terms of the dialogue and the way the actors deliver their lines; it is so natural and doesn't seem like a script at all. The three do such a wonderful job really immersing themselves into their roles, and are easily able to entertain the audiences for the almost two-hour runtime. 

    I find it interesting why this movie wasn't promoted as much as others on streaming services as this is easily one of the best movies Netflix has released in the past couple years. It does everything it needs to to be a successful and engaging film, and it's tons of fun as well. I certainly enjoyed myself and had a great time, and I think audiences all over the world will as well.