They Cloned Tyrone15
Contrary to the many rumours that have circulated recently over social media, Jamie Foxx is very much alive. That’s not to say that it wasn’t touch and go for a minute, when the Oscar-winning actor was hospitalised in April, from an unspecified medical emergency.
And obviously due to the vagueness of the comment, that even now hasn’t been expanded upon, it fuelled the flames on social media making wild statements that he was blind, or paralysed, close to death. And although it seems that the last was true enough, from the actor’s mouth himself, he seems to be thankfully on the road to recovery.
Which must be great news for Netflix, who have been seemingly sitting on the film’s release until positive news broke of one of its stars. It turns out it was worth waiting for too.
Hustling in the black community of the Glen is Fontaine (John Boyega). He’s a drug dealer, and he likes to keep his operation tight. So when he finds out that Slick (Foxx), a pimp who uses his services, comes up short in his repayments, Fontaine pays him a visit.
He gets some of his money back, but not all of it, but he’s satisfied enough to walk out of his motel room. Unfortunately for him, he quickly gets shot at by a rival drug dealer waiting for him outside.
Luckily for Fontaine, he wakes up the following day, surprised that he’s still alive. So he returns to the scene of the crime, the motel, where Slick is even more surprised to see him. Along with inquisitive ho Yo-Yo (Teyonah Parris), they try to piece the puzzle together, only to discover they reveal a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream, that will leave them seeing double – in fact a whole lot more than that.
Once in a while a cinematic curiosity will come along, that revels in doing its own thing. And They Cloned Tyrone is one such film.
It’s a startling directorial debut by Juel Taylor, who also co-wrote the script, that’s a multi-layered proposition. Stylistically it takes on the appearance of a seventies blaxploitation flick, with its grainy visuals and groovy soundtrack.
Enwrapped in the middle of all that is a conspiracy, that sees members of the black community being subjected to various forms of mind control, forced to do the bidding of a higher power. As if that wasn’t enough, they have various underground facilities where they also clone them.
Even though it embraces a futuristic theme, it does so with a seventies mentality, so all of the tech looks ancient by modern standards, but could be seen as high tech for the period the film is set.
Thankfully it doesn’t get bogged down in the science, as the film never really takes itself that seriously. That said, the film’s narrative is a little on the woolly side, as it’s never really brought to light what the end game is, and what the use of all these clones are for exactly.
The one reliable constant throughout are the three central characters and their interaction with one another, such as Slick and Yo-Yo’s referencing of 2000’s The Hollow Man, which are obviously outside of the film’s visual setting, but as it isn’t ever referred to as to what decade they’re even in, the film can get away with it.
And it’s the performances from all three, especially Foxx who is in highly entertaining form, that are the heartbeat of the film.
There’s also the film’s social commentary, which although it doesn’t shove it down your throat, it’s difficult to ignore, as it clearly highlights the continuing oppression of the black community by its governing bodies in the US.
It’s a quirky title, reminiscent of 20111’s The Cabin in the Woods, that is unlikely to grab a massive audience due to being a uniquely funky sci-fi experience, but will no doubt go on to gain a well deserved cult following or two, or three, or five...