Monday, April 30, 2012

Replicant (2001)

A serial killer is on the loose torching all his victims who happen to be mothers.  Detective Jake Riley is on the case to stop this obsessive man until his own retirement prevents him before he can finish the job.  A clone of the killer is created to aid in the catching of the killer himself.  Jake gets taunted to come back and solve the case he’s worked on for the last three years.

                I liked this movie for the story along with Jean-Claude Van Damme giving a stronger performance than usual, as he portrayed two characters.  It’s definitely my top Van Damme film as of now.  Michael Rooker (whom I’m not really a fan of) turns in a solid performance which helps the movie without a doubt.  The efficient character development and timely action sequences held the movie together from start to finish.  I’ll admit I thought it could unravel at any moment but to my surprise it didn’t.  How can a movie with Van Damme playing two roles be bad?  His favorite co-star has always been himself after all!

The shady glasses & long hair complete the bad guy look.
                Edward Garrotte (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is the serial killer who sets his victims ablaze while taking pictures of them in the act.  He already seems horrible doesn’t he?  Jake Riley (Michael Rooker) of the Seattle police has been after this guy for years.  He had a last chance to catch him but came up short as Garrotte eluded him.  I’ll state now that Garrotte is nasty bad, he is a downright evil man.  His character is incredibly consistent throughout the whole movie for being so despicable.  I love that in a movie as I hate to see such a character get flawed with charitable acts.  As he escapes from Jake, early in the movie, he uses hostages on a bus to cover his exit craftily out a window.  I was surprised at this unique simple enough escape that is quick but well executed.  He later runs down a street and kills a driver, by shooting rounds through the windshield, which stops short of hitting him with their car.  His character is bad but I truly appreciate how unflawed it is.

Witness the true birth of Jean-Claude Van Damme!
                Jake has a retirement party when Garrotte calls him up and taunts him to come out of it.  Jake gets pissed and shouts all sorts of obscenities to the listening ears of his guests.  Awkward moment Jake can you hold it together in front of everyone, think of the children!  Later on, a government agency hires Jake to help in the capturing of Garrotte deeming him a terrorist type threat.  They have cloned Garrotte and want Jake to investigate with a “replicant” to track down Garrotte.  A replicant is a clone they created from blood and hairs at a crime scene which is farfetched.  The explanation isn’t convincing enough for most viewers’ I’d imagine but for me it’s intriguing.  I like science fiction related content so this is right up my alley so to speak.  The replicant also has a telepathic bond with Garrotte, but doesn’t know many common everyday things.  His mind overall is like a small child as far as knowledge goes.  It’s like his brain needs to boot up and get simple input, from Jake in this case.

He's worse than a cat.
                The fear of this replicant turning on Jake leaves him on constant edge.  He has no idea when Garrotte’s possible tendencies could come out and attack.  It’s quite an understandable feeling Jake has, I mean this replicant is supposed to be Garrotte anyway.  From the view of the replicant though he is learning and trying to cope in a new world.  I enjoy his fascination with toilet paper.  He even learns to do the splits to keep Van Damme’s trademark in his films.  I can’t help but love that he always manages to squeeze that into all his movies.  He doesn’t quite understand this strange bond with Garrotte or why Jake treats him like dog doo.  Regardless of how badly Jake treats him I’m shocked as to how the replicant still attaches to him.  It’s possible because Jake was the first human he came in contact with.  The replicant progressively views Jake as family since the two spend so much time together even though it’s rocky at times.  What family isn’t that way though, right?  In one instance he beats the crap out of the replicant thinking he hurt a small boy in which he actually didn’t.  Jake at the beginning was trying to find a reason to inflict harm on the replicant.

Could you kill yourself face to face? It's so life changing!
                Jake closes in on Garrotte’s apartment while he’s away and stumbles upon pictures of dead women Garrotte has slain.  The replicant saves Jake and some others from a bomb Garrotte had rigged inside his computer.  You can see Jake trusting his new partner more and more from then on.  The replicant was able to know of the bomb through Garrotte.  The replicant sights Garrotte on the street and pursues him to a bar.  It’s a brutal engagement as Garrotte murders the bartender but can’t come to kill the replicant.  I’m guessing it’d be difficult to blow your own brains out even if it wasn’t you.  Not long after this first meeting they meet up again underneath a hotel.  Garrotte tries to mind play the replicant to come to his own aid by saying Jake can’t be trusted.  Jake catches up to them but Garrotte escapes with the replicant’s help.  It infuriates Jake but at least the replicant found out Garrotte’s true identity: Luc Sevard.  The replicant is clearly confused but not hostile luckily for Jake.

Does old & busted come to mind with this guy?
                Luc visits his dying mother in a hospital showing her all the women he has killed in photographs.  At first I thought how sick this man was to be doing this!  However you learn here that his mother locked him into a closet when he was a boy and set fire to their home.  His mother also abused him badly driving him to hate women later in life so much he sought out mothers he thought were mistreating their sons and killed them.  Now I’m not so sickened at just Luc but also his mommy.  It’s a good back story to explain why he is how he is, not just some wacko without a cause.  Luc didn’t die that one night since it rained and put out the fire.  Luckily the forecast was on his side but unlucky for all his victims, it’s really a tragedy either way when you think about it.  Should Luc burn alive because of an abusive mother or live to go on to kill numerous other women?  It’s interesting isn’t it?  Jake and the replicant also come to the hospital to visit the mother but discover she is dead.  They go to see the body when Luc shows up with the idea of killing them both.  It’s a great action sequence between the three as the replicant refuses to kill Jake.  The brotherhood Luc tried to create has not worked.

Can't I just burn him in peace? I always get in my way!
                Luc flees after fending the two off with superior fighting skills.  He also shoots the corpse of his mother; perhaps I should have not stated that part, it’s disturbing I know.  Jake follows him while the replicant is left a bit dazed and a decent ambulance chase occurs inside parking garage.  I’m not a fan of long drawn out finales but this one really does it in impressive, acceptable fashion.  As the ambulance eventually crashes, Luc escapes to the cremation area low in the hospital building.  He hits Jake with a shovel to the face!  I told you this guy was bad and I admire how twisted he continues to act. He prepares to set fire to Jake by placing him on the cremation roller.  Its Luc’s curse, he just loves to torch his prey!  The replicant returns to save Jake and have a final showdown with Luc.  The scene is done well in action again displaying Van Damme’s physical prowess in a much more pleasing manner.  The replicant locks Jake out, of the now on fire room, to apparently die with his “brother”.  Luc is already dead as Jake shot him previously and the room explodes leaving you to assume Luc and the replicant died.  The replicant seems torn on his entire existence and the longing for a family.  It’s possible that was Luc’s inner turmoil all along but only seen through the replicant.

                Jake is happy at home with the boy from earlier in the movie he was with when he sees the replicant leave a message in his mailbox.  He goes out to see him but the replicant is nowhere to be found.  The gift is an item that meant something special to the replicant that he now wants Jake to have.  I suppose it’s a sort of memento between the two of them.  The replicant decides to return to a hooker he previously helped earlier in the movie.  It seems he wants to have sex with her still as before he went in his pants prematurely!  Technically it’s his first time and he has much to discover in the world.  The two connected and who knows he might get a freebie!  He might also try to start a life with her, who knows?  Good luck to you man, she was alright.  It’s a neat solid film, but can’t the agency that created him still track him down?  Let’s hope not, let his man have a new life or follow in Garrotte’s footsteps and murder people.  It’s really unknown what will happen but I like it that way. 

                Rating: 7.5 of 10

I’ve used my own images for this review and hope you find them suitable.
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