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Netflix's 'They Cloned Tyrone' Takes Cues from 'Get Out'

"They Cloned Tyrone" is a sci-fi comedy with social commentary. John Boyega stars as a drug dealer who wakes up in a time loop after being shot, and uncovers a larger conspiracy with two others. The film has a unique visual style and balances comedy with bleak commentary. Boyega gives a standout performance, and the entire cast shines. While it sometimes loses focus, the movie is a delightful and watchable romp with social satire. It will be available on Netflix starting July 21, 2021.

Get Out did not create the concept of Black horror or horror as a form of social commentary, but its immense success paved the way for numerous projects attempting to replicate its formula. Many films emerged with the premise of "Get Out, but for this group" or "Get Out, but set in a different time period," all carrying the essence of Peele's groundbreaking work. Now, there is They Cloned Tyrone, a science fiction comedy that cleverly combines elements of Blaxploitation with a fresh social commentary.

The film stars John Boyega as Fontaine, a scruffy drug dealer who spends his time loitering near the liquor store, collecting drug money, and grieving for his deceased brother. One night, Fontaine is shot after failing to collect his money from Slick, played by Jamie Foxx. However, he miraculously wakes up and attempts to collect his money again, only to find that everyone insists he has already experienced this day before. Convinced that he witnessed Fontaine's death, Slick takes him on a journey with Yo-Yo, portrayed by Teyonah Parris, and the trio accidentally stumbles upon a much larger conspiracy than anything Nancy Drew ever uncovered. Outnumbered but not outmatched, they embark on a quest to uncover the truth and protect their community.

They Cloned Tyrone marks the full feature directorial debut of Juel Taylor, known for his work on Creed II, who co-wrote the script with Tony Rettenmaier. The film presents a vibrant yet occasionally somber tale of the Black experience, shaped by the influence of white creators. While there may be a few too many twists and turns that complicate the film's message, it remains engaging due to its tone and visually captivating style.

The film employs texture and technique to establish a visually striking aesthetic. The hints of Blaxploitation in its appearance are further enhanced by a grainy quality and the use of magenta and blue neons reminiscent of Lovecraftian imagery. While the film's visual style is not its sole defining aspect, its tone is crucial. By skillfully balancing comedy, science fiction, and thought-provoking commentary, They Cloned Tyrone not only creates an enjoyable viewing experience but also establishes its own unique identity, separate from its stylistic influences.

Although it is tempting to compare the film to the aforementioned features, it also shares similarities with stories like Mega Time Squad and The World's End. These narratives revolve around ordinary individuals facing extraordinary circumstances and finding humor in their attempts to confront formidable entities armed only with mundane objects like handguns or beer bottles. Ultimately, these stories celebrate the ingenuity and resilience of everyday people, which adds to their charm.

While the entire cast delivers exceptional performances, the standout is undoubtedly John Boyega. Known for his breakout role in Attack the Block, Boyega showcases a more restrained yet heroic portrayal in They Cloned Tyrone. This role marks a shift while also serving as a return to his roots. Despite taking on more flamboyant characters in recent years, Boyega shines as the relatable hero whose subtle expressions convey a world of emotions. Teyonah Parris brings a fluttering and comedic energy to her role, providing a refreshing contrast to her previous work in the Marvel universe. Additionally, Jamie Foxx reminds audiences of his talent for delivering cheesy yet captivating performances.

While They Cloned Tyrone occasionally delves too deeply into its own narrative complexities, it remains a delightful and enjoyable science fiction comedy infused with social satire. It may draw inspiration from modern Black horror, but it forges its own distinctive path. By fearlessly addressing racial injustice and societal issues in America, the film effectively communicates its intended messages. Although it occasionally becomes overly focused on driving its points home, They Cloned Tyrone transforms important real-life conversations into a hilarious and thrilling adventure that boldly challenges established norms.

They Cloned Tyrone will be available on Netflix starting July 21, 2021.

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