They Cloned Tyrone Review: A Surprising Sci-Fi Social Satire

If you were to take Jordan Peele’s doppelgänger horror, Boots Riley’s sharp political satire, add a sprinkling of Blaxploitation, and serve it all with a side of a Scooby-Doo mystery, you’d be close to capturing the audacious flavor of “They Cloned Tyrone.” The brainchild of Juel Taylor, this Netflix feature is a genre cocktail that merges comedy, thriller, and sci-fi to deliver a high-stakes adventure rooted deeply in the reality of systemic social issues.

“They Cloned Tyrone” sets its pace with an engaging narrative, introducing us to the steely-eyed Fontaine (John Boyega), a drug dealer eking out a living in the hard-knocked neighborhood of the Glen. A routine day takes a mysterious twist when Fontaine, after being apparently killed, wakes up unscathed and with no recollection of his fatal encounter. It is from this spine-chilling point that the movie unfurls its engrossing plot, with Fontaine, alongside the charismatic hustler Slick Charles (Jamie Foxx) and the pragmatic dreamer Yo-Yo (Teyonah Parris), uncovering a macabre government conspiracy.

They Cloned Tyrone Review

Taylor brings an air of originality to the table, blending the supernatural with the social in a style reminiscent of a Scooby-Doo adventure. But this approach truly shines in its utilization of comedy as a platform to broach serious themes such as gentrification and exploitation of minorities. However, at times, the surrealism of the sci-fi elements can overshadow these underlying themes, leading to a slight mismatch in the film’s tone that threatens to dilute its overall impact.

The performances of the lead trio are a tour de force that anchors the film. Foxx’s flamboyant Slick Charles provides comic relief with a swagger, while Parris as Yo-Yo adds depth and compassion. Boyega deserves special applause for his nuanced portrayal of Fontaine, a character undergoing a tumultuous emotional journey. His performance lends an air of authenticity to the otherwise fantastical narrative. The emotive power of his character arc, coupled with the dynamic interplay between the three protagonists, evokes a whirlwind of emotions ranging from humor to trepidation to pathos.

“They Cloned Tyrone,” while brimming with creativity, occasionally stumbles with its execution. While innovative, the storytelling meanders, and the ambitious genre-blending, sometimes leaves the narrative feeling disjointed. These minor blemishes, however, are far outweighed by the movie’s thematic depth, evocative performances, and audacious originality.

In the end, “They Cloned Tyrone” is a film that reminds us that a thought-provoking narrative can exist amidst the most unconventional of storylines. Despite its few misses, it stands as an impressive feat of genre fusion that illuminates pressing social issues, all while keeping audiences on the edge of their seats. Juel Taylor might just be the next auteur to keep an eye on, capable of seamlessly marrying the fantastical with the sobering real-world issues.

RATING: 4.0 out of 5.

They Cloned Tyrone is now streaming on Netflix.

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