THEY CLONED TYRONE (NETFLIX) (2023)
SYNOPSIS: A series of eerie events thrusts an unlikely trio (John Boyega, Teyonah Parris, and Jamie Foxx) onto the trail of a nefarious government experience conspiracy in this pulpy mystery caper.
Not any movie can call themselves witty, offbeat and funny. But They Cloned Tyrone so happens to fall into this category.
As the movie opens, we follow Fontaine (John Boyega), a small-time drug dealer going about his business including visiting a pimp named Slick Charles (Jamie Foxx) and one of his sex workers, Yo-Yo (Teyonah Parris). Shortly after, Fontaine is fatally shot in his car by a competing drug dealer, Isaac. The next minute, we see Fontaine waking up the next morning, good as new and going about his business as usual.
Before we go on, let’s pause for a moment. So is this a déjà vu, groundhog day kind of thing going on for Fontaine? Or is there some sort of sinister conspiracy happening in the neighbourhood?
If you can endure the first 15 minutes or so, you will find much to like about They Cloned Tyrone. First, it pokes fun at the Black communities but also cleverly create a convincing narrative about the unfairness and mistreatment of the race. Director and writer Juel Taylor makes good use of social commentary and pop cultural references to create an accessible, entertaining commercial flick.
Nothing associated with the Black communities are spared including fried chicken, perm cream, churches and even names liked Michael Jackson and President Obama are thrown into the dialogue. Be warned, you probably need to rewind to catch some of the jokes mouthed by Slick Charles though. Talking about the character, Foxx is so ridiculously funny as the pimp character that it deserved his own spin-off.
As for the story, it certainly turns wilder and funnier as the trio go further down the rabbit hole. We shall not spoil it for you but a certain reputable actor from 24 also appears as one of the movie’s antagonists. The production design is sort of a live-action, classic Scooby Doo episode given the almost retro costume and sets. For that matter, you don’t even spot a contemporary smart phone, a modern car or a computer on screen.
Boyega, Parris and Foxx generates so much chemistry together that it’s always a delight to watch whenever the trio is together. All in all, They Cloned Tyrone is an unexpected surprise treat given Netflix’s atrocious record of producing middling to subpar originals.
Review by Linus Tee