They Cloned Tyrone (2023)

They Cloned Tyrone (2023)

This sci-fi social satire about the Deep State is smart, funny, and incredibly stylish



United States of America
Action, Comedy, Mystery, Science Fiction
Adam Cronan, Al-Teron, David Alan Grier
122 min


This is like if Black Mirror actually slayed.

What it's about

When Fontaine (John Boyega) mysteriously comes back from the dead, he investigates other eerie goings-on in their town with two unwitting partners in tow.

The take

They Cloned Tyrone is a genre-bending gem. It combines Deep State conspiracy theories with sci-fi and social commentary, all while looking like a futuristic 1970s Blaxploitation film. It’s outrageous good fun and pleasing to look at (here is a film that knows how to properly light Black actors), but there are times when it feels too far fetched. The science can get wonky and its commentary on gentrification lacking, but all is forgiven when you have such a strong trio of leads. One of the smartest things They Cloned Tyrone does is pair Boyega with Teyonah Parris, who plays the call girl Yo-yo, and Jamie Foxx, who plays the pimp Slick Charles. They have a fun-loving no-nonsense chemistry about them that makes them easy to attach to and root for. They’re also just very funny, which might be expected of Foxx but it comes as a pleasant surprise for Parris, whose popular turns in Mad Men and WandaVision prove that she’s been severely underutilized as a comic.

What stands out

The retrofuturistic look, which is never really explained in the movie. There could be multiple reasons why some characters look like they were fished straight out of the 1970s while some look more modern, but I want to believe it’s a reclamation of a contested era. Blaxploitation movies in the ‘70s were credited for centering Black characters, but they also doled out stereotype after stereotype as they still catered to a white-paying audience. But times have changed, and it seems that They Cloned Tyrone’s vibrant design is a nod to the movies that came before it, while its punchy plot and ambitious premise give us a taste of what’s to come.


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