they cloned tyrone netflix review

They Cloned Tyrone/Netflix

Netflix’s blaxploitation satire ‘They Cloned Tyrone’ deserved better than Barbenheimer weekend

Starring John Boyega and Jamie Foxx, this stylish sci-fi mystery is well worth checking out.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Jul 25, 2023

Barbenheimer is being hailed as a triumph of counter-programming. But amid all the hype, another crowd-pleasing movie slipped through the cracks: Juel Taylor’s directorial debut They Cloned Tyrone, starring John Boyega, Jamie Foxx, and Teyonah Parris.

While not as scandalously under-promoted as some other Netflix releases, this stylish sci-fi satire was inevitably overshadowed by the weekend’s A-list blockbusters. However, it’s definitely worth checking out, combining vintage blaxploitation pastiche with a dark, self-aware mystery echoing Get Out, They Live, and The Twilight Zone.

Boyega plays a low-level drug dealer opposite Teyonah Parris as a sex worker, and Jamie Foxx as a flashy, fast-talking pimp. In other words, a classic trifecta of blaxploitation characters.

Complete with a grainy aesthetic and 1970s-inspired costumes, They Cloned Tyrone starts out like a straightforward contemporary homage to the genre. Then Boyega’s character gets shot to death in the first act, and we’re launched into a Coen-esque mystery involving (obviously) cloning—and a bizarre series of twists that are best left unspoiled.

Based on a script featured on the 2019 Black List, They Cloned Tyrone draws connections between zany, X-Files-style conspiracy theories and the very real conspiracies fueling anti-Black racism in America. It’s also precisely the kind of original mid-budget movie that used to thrive on theatrical release.

At this point, we’re used to perceiving “Netflix movies” as light, low-commitment nonsense. Films where you can check your phone or do chores in the background. They Cloned Tyrone deserves better than that. Not just because its zany dialogue and deceptively dark themes warrant more attention, but because where else can we see John Boyega and Jamie Foxx share the screen?

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*First Published: Jul 25, 2023, 11:08 am CDT