They Cloned Tyrone (2023) Spoiler-Free Review

Prepare to be transported into a gripping world of Blaxploitation reborn in the modern era with They Cloned Tyrone. This daring film, blending dark comedy with sci-fi elements, takes audiences on a thought-provoking journey through sensitive themes and societal struggles. Join us as we delve into this standout cinematic experience and uncover the star power that has social media talking.

Blaxploitation Films: Rise and Decline in the 1970s

Blaxploitation is a term coined to describe a subgenre of films that rose to prominence in the 1970s. Films produced with low budgets and shown in Grindhouse theaters with fewer restrictions on content. Most contained a common theme of drugs, fighting white supremacy, and societal struggles Black people faced at the time. Movies such as Shaft, Dolemite, Ganja and Hess, and Blacula define the era. This quality of filmmaking eventually wore out its welcome. In 2023, the social-political climate wouldn’t allow such movies to thrive and would likely result in all parties involved being “canceled.”

They Cloned Tyrone: A Modern Sensibility

They Cloned Tyrone picks up the mantle, bringing its sensibilities to a modern audience. It’s written and directed by Juel Taylor, responsible for penning the sequels Creed II and Space Jam: A New Legacy. The Netflix original film follows three characters with unconventional occupations as they uncover a shady government operation. As the name implies, Taylor doesn’t shy away from recent conspiracies in pop culture. It explores sensitive topics from past and present—themes such as nonconsensual experiments on Black Americans, violation of human rights, and rapid technological growth.

The Talented Cast and Humor in They Cloned Tyrone

John Boyega plays a gangster named Fontaine, Jamie Foxx is an old-school pimp called Slick Charles, and Teyonah Parris portrays the eccentric sex worker Yo-Yo. As Juel Taylor describes it, the idea arose from a joke his writing partner, Tony Rettenmaier, shared, “A pimp, a prostitute, and a drug dealer walk into a bar.” They Cloned Tyrone is a risky, bombastic comedy with sci-fi elements. All the actors work so well together. The chemistry is simply familial. Boyega’s brooding nature and curiosity starkly contrast with Foxx’s foolish Slick character. Yo-Yo is the most educated of the two, with a well of ideas and random facts only a true bookworm could spout in moments of peril.

A Blend of Energy, Mystery, and Horror Tropes

I couldn’t help but think of Boyega’s breakout role in Attack the Block, where he battled otherworldly threats invading South London. They Cloned Tyrone has the same energy with a little flare of Mystery Inc. for good measure. Talented filmmakers with a deep understanding of humor also tend to wield horror tropes easily. Taylor keeps viewers on their toes by using suspense, action, and impeccable comedic timing. I’m a little bewildered why this didn’t get a theater release. Regarding quality, They Cloned Tyrone has all the makings of a blockbuster, especially when it comes to star power.

Laughs and Drama: The Pinball of Emotion

Yes, there are laughs galore. However, drama is present throughout the narrative. I daresay the whole story is a dark comedy (see what I did there?). Our heroic trio of Fontaine, Slick, and Yo-Yo experience quite the ordeal in their search for truth. The experience is best described as a pinball of emotion as they traverse the fictional community known as The Glen. Despair lurks around every corner, testing the resolve of everyone. External forces compound Fontaine’s existential crisis he can’t even begin to comprehend. Sure, some of the plot points can be seen a mile away, but it is successful in its execution.

A Thought-Provoking Reflection of Reality

One of the scariest things about They Cloned Tyrone is how the fictional world mirrors real life. In an age where UPOs (unidentified aerial phenomenon) and government secrets are being leaked, one questions whether human cloning is a credible threat. Blaxploitation films challenge the status quo by its mere existence. They screened primarily in Grindhouse theaters, alongside adult movies. With an R-rating and straight-to-streaming release, They Cloned Tyrone continues the legacy. The cinematographers did an amazing job creating a gritty, stylized look. Using a film grain filter makes it appear like a flick produced in the past.

Unraveling the Power of Diverse Voices

The whole thing feels like a live-action episode of The Boondocks animated series. It’s ridiculous, socially relevant, yet honest. They Cloned Tyrone is a standout among projects in the science fiction genre, an example of how diverse voices can expand the medium. Is it too much to ask for more stories that exist in the world Taylor created? Perhaps I’m just spoiled by connected narratives and extended universes. They Cloned Tyrone is a sensational cinematic experience worthy of a 9 out of 10.

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