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They Cloned Tyrone Review

September 11, 2023 | Posted by Rob Stewart
THEY CLONED TYRONE Image Credit: Parrish Lewis/Netflix
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They Cloned Tyrone Review  

The last time I watched a Netflix Original Movie starring Jamie Foxx, I got 2020’s Project Power, a superhero-esque genre film about pills that give folks short-lived metahuman abilities. It was… fine. Adequate and forgettable, I had to look it up just now to remember Joseph Gordon Levitt was even in it. And this is a movie I didn’t just watch… I covered it on a now-defunct podcast called The NOMcast! So that goes to show just how noteworthy it was.

(It probably also says something about me, but do you know how many films I’ve seen since 2020? Like… a LOT)

But I’d heard several good things about Foxx’ latest Netflix outing, They Cloned Tyrone. Then a buddy of mine personally recommended it, and I moved it to the top of my To Watch list since I’m powering through 2023 new releases to try to hit 100 of them by year’s end anyway. Especially when I saw the new Little Mermaid is almost two and a half hours long, so I can hold off on that.

(For the record, TCT was #77 out of 100, so I’m on the pace I want to be, even if the strikes in Hollywood got me a bit concerned. It will be fine; there’s a lot of crap on Tubi from this year!)

They Cloned Tyrone is the story of John Boyega’s Fontaine (NOT Tyrone, surprisingly!), a drug dealer in a neighborhood called The Glen. At the end of a rather eventful day, he finds himself shot to death outside of the motel room of Slick (Jamie Foxx).

And then he wakes up and lives a very similar day.

So you start thinking you are about to get a time-loop, Groundhog Day movie, but TCT does not go in that direction at all. Fontaine’s day is similar in what he goes about doing, but he’s not living the same day. So when he meets back up with Slick and a prostitute named Yo-Yo, they are shocked to see the man they saw die yesterday up walking about.

This leads the three of them down a rabbit hole of mysteries in The Glen as Fontaine becomes obsessed with figuring out how he is still alive after having been definitively killed the night before. And a story about a cloned drug dealer ends up taking some strange turns as Fontaine finds out he’s actually a central figure in America’s racial culture wars… and the death off his younger brother has a bigger role in it than he would ever have imagined…


+ Teyona Parris is a plus all by herself. Don’t get me wrong, the central trinity of herself, Jamie Foxx, and John Boyega are each amazing in their own way. Boyega is unrecognizable and intense. Foxx is hilarious and frenetic. This could easily be an Up spread amongst all three of them. But I had to call out Parris in particular because she is able to stand alongside both of these big stars from huge movies and often outshine them.

She is the perfect reasoned mixture of Foxx’s frantic fun and Boyega’s intensity here as she gets caught up in Fontaine’s crazy situation. I actually did not recognize her at all as our current MCU Monica Rambeau because she creates a real disguise of a character here. So now I’m even MORE excited for The Marvels, and she is going on my “Why isn’t this actor in pretty much everything?” mental list.

+ They Cloned Tyrone shifts mood relatively seamlessly in the third act from being a silly and enjoyable riot to a much more serious tone as Fontaine, Yo-Yo, and Slick find themselves in a more dire circumstance than they they initially thought. This shift is marked with the introduction of Kiefer Sutherland’s character and what he reveals about what is going on in their world. A dire scene follows, and everything changes in its wake.

It’s a credit to TCT that the tonal shift doesn’t feel jarring because the pace at which the characters started discovering the goings-on ultimately felt very natural when it got to this point. Every little clue they discovered put them on the track of something bigger, so when Kiefer changes everything, it is wholly earned.

After having just credited the pace of the first two acts, let’s talk about the third, which drags on a bit and extends a runtime past where the flick should have ended. This just shouldn’t break two hours as a movie, and the climactic act just keeps going for a bit. Getting the entirety of The Glen involved in the final confrontation works thematically for the movie, but it bogs down the pace of the resolution and takes the focus off of our stars.

The movie concludes on a final scene that shows a character identical in both physical appearance and daily routine to Fontaine called Tyrone. He ends up seeing a news report of Fontaine’s misadventures and realizes he himself is a clone. It’s a fun enough scene that keeps you turned in for five minutes after the film’s rightful ending, but it feels like it exists just to give the flick it’s rhyming title. Absolutely nothing is lost if you remove this bit, and the comedy that came before it works much better.

The final score: review Good
The 411
A wild blending of Blaxploitation, science fiction, and comedy, They Cloned Tyrone is clever and entertaining for much of its runtime. Even as it falters just a hair in an over-extended third act, you barely care because Parris, Boyega, and Foxx are all giving elite performances. It has something to say about culture and racial tension in America, too, so it gives you something to think about after it’s over, too.

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They Cloned Tyrone, Rob Stewart