May 29, 2024

They Cloned Tyrone 2023 Movie Review

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They Cloned Tyrone 2023 Movie Review

“They Cloned Tyrone” is a contemporary science fiction, Blaxploitation film about a pimp, a ho, and a drug dealer uncovering the biggest conspiracy against ethnic groups. The film stars John Boyega as Fontaine, Jamie Foxx as Slick Charles, and Teyonah Parris as Yo-Yo. This is the fea’ure directorial debut of Juel Taylor. “They Cloned Tyrone” stands out as an engaging dark comedy that unearths some harsh truths through social commentary.

The main cast is the heart and soul of this movie. Boyega, Foxx, and Parris have great on-screen chemistry. Boyega delivers a raw and jarring performance in his portrayal of Fontaine. The character is a drug dealer in perpetual mourning. Fontaine trusts no one – and he has no one. He has a heart of ice throughout most of the film. Fontaine is an intelligent man who operates through fear and heartbreak. Boyega showcases the character using stoic mannerisms. Coupled with a rugged accent, Fontaine is the film’s champion. He grounds the movie – and makes the conflict feel ripped from reality. Jamie Foxx counterbalances Boyega’s performance as Slick Charles. As a pimp, Foxx lends the film comedic relief. Slick Charles is a well-portrayed parody of the procurers of the 70’s. He’s fast talking and quick witted. He’s naturally curious if it serves to his benefit. To say Slick Charles is hilarious is an understatement. It’s another great performance from Foxx. He never steps on Boyega’s toes. He never overstays his welcome. Slick Charles is a bright spot in the movie. Another crucial piece of the film is Yo-Yo, portrayed by Teyonah Parris. Yo-Yo is one of Slick Charles’ hoes. However, her occupation takes the back seat for her true calling – being an intellect. Yo-Yo is the soul of the movie. She provides a much needed feminine perspective. At moments, she supersedes Boyega as the film’s true lead. While Fontaine and Slick are both broken men, failed by their lack of human compassion, Yo-Yo picks up the pieces. Together, all three present the notion that good people can be found in the worst of circumstances and the strangest of places.

The film is well-written. The jokes are well-placed. The dialogue has great flow. Juel Taylor crafted a world worth exploring. ‘The Glen’ is a great setting that has its’ own character and depth. The dialogue between the three protagonist feels natural. Again, the cast’s chemistry is a bright spot of the film – and it’s carried by their dialogue. At certain moments, the dialogue does feel forced and it breaks the immersion. For example, when the antagonist (Kiefer Sutherland’s character) is introduced, their exposition is cartoonish and undercooked. This particular character sticks out like a sore thumb in the film, perhaps intentionally as an homage to classic Blaxploitation – regardless, they throw off the flow. The movie has a great theme and a great message. The exploration of assimilation – as well as race is controversial, yet unique and authentic. The film has a great pace. Characters, their conflicts, and their motives are set up subtly. Everything ties together well.

Visual cues are taken from Blaxploitation and science fiction b-movies of the 70’s. It is shot on film. The lighting enhances the film’s drama – adding weight to the surrealism. Additionally, the film grain adds a sense of authenticity and rawness. The use of color is lush and rich. For example, in a scene in the Babylon Motel parking lot, the neon lights are incredibly vibrant. The entire scene is visually appealing, despite containing one of the film’s most jarring moments. Some shots feel ripped out of a TV Movie, but for a majority of the movie the cinematography is solid.

Overall, “They Cloned Tyrone” is a breath of fresh air for Black cinema. It’s a movie that is critical toward race relations. It unearths a lot of harsh and uncomfortable truths. The film has so much personality – and a lot to say. While not a perfect film, it is a well-crafted, charismatic reinvention of Blaxploitation – a genre that lost its’ footing in cinema.

They Cloned Tyrone 2023 Movie Review