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They Cloned Tyrone 2023 Movie Review
Fontaine (John Boyega) is a drug pusher working out of the black neighborhood known as The Glen. During his rounds of collecting money, he faces pimp Slick Charles (Jamie Foxx) who tells Fontaine he was killed last night with his story corroborated by soon to be retired prostitute Yo-Yo (Teyonah Parris). As Fontaine searches for answers with Charles and Yo-Yo reluctantly in tow, the three unearth a vast conspiracy with Fontaine’s inexplicable reappearance only the tip of the iceberg.
They Cloned Tyrone is the newest film from Netflix and sees the streamer reteam with star Jamie Foxx having previously collaborated with him on Day Shift and Project Power. The film marks the feature directorial debut of Juel Taylor whose script co-written by Tony Rettenmainer was featured on the 2019 Black List of best unproduced screenplays and was acquired by Netflix for their streaming service. The movie has received critical acclaim and rightfully so because They Cloned Tyrone is an engaging sit featuring an unexpected mash-up of unique elements that collect together into a mostly satisfying whole.
What makes the film so engaging from the outset is definitely our three leads played by John Boyega, Jamie Foxx, and Teyonah Parris who are so good dramatically and comedically in the first 20 minutes that they could’ve served as full characters for a straight drama if the movie were so inclined. Once we get the shift into high concept with Fontaine getting shot, the movie creates a fantastic hook with a really unique mystery that I can’t go into full detail without spoiling. The filmmakers have cited films like They Live and Groundhog Day as influences upon the film and you can definitely see that from the mixture of social satire and genre thrills that does match the approach of They Live while also containing similar character dives like Groundhog Day. We also have a bit of a Cabin in the Woods type scenario with They Cloned Tyrone very much being a deconstruction of blaxsploitation in the same way that film was to horror films. The movie delivers some really exciting and thrilling moments, but I did feel like the film maybe began to stall a little in the third act where it felt like it lost momentum as well as that balance of humor and social satire. While the third act is still very enjoyable especially in regards to the climax, I did feel like the movie maybe revealed a major cameo a little sooner than it should’ve and made the momentum slightly less smooth.
They Cloned Tyrone is a fantastic debut film for Juel Taylor and with a clever script and a likable set of characters played by strong performances this is definitely one to see. I did feel like the film might’ve peaked a little too early with the third act losing the sharpness we saw earlier in the runtime, but this is still a movie that deserves your time and attention.