Photo caption: Artwork for ‘They Cloned Tyrone’
His ‘Slick Charles’ in new film with Blaxploitation vibe is superb
“They Cloned Tyrone” is the latest film starring Jamie Foxx. It is a social commentary on the Black community and how its members are so easily affected by consumer goods—and those consumer goods being tainted with mind-controlling substances.
The film follows a series of eerie events that thrusts an unlikely trio (John Boyega, Teyonah Parris and Jamie Foxx) onto the trail of a nefarious government conspiracy in this pulpy mystery caper. The film was released on Netflix on July 21.
But first I’ll speak on Foxx’s health report, as voiced by the man himself in a video posted to his Instagram account over the weekend. If you’re unaware back in April, Foxx’s daughter Corinne announced through social media that he had “experienced a medical complication” and was rushed to the hospital.
In subsequent months, very little was reported about his condition, and social media fans or non-fans started speculating about Foxx’s condition—even to the point of him suffering a stroke or being deceased.
ABC7 News reported at one point that it was believed that Foxx was in a rehab facility in Chicago. I surmised that it was the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, because from personal experience, I know that it is the best physical rehab facility in the country—situated right in downtown Chicago.
Photos a few weeks later seemed to show his daughter and others in Chicago during that time. Recently Foxx was shown on a boat traveling past the ICON movie theater in the South Loop, and he was photographed, as well, at a sporting venue in Naperville.
On July 22, Foxx released a video in which he in part credited his sister Deidra Dixon and his daughter, as well as “a lot of great medical people,” with “saving (his) life.”
He continued: “I went through something that I thought I would never, ever go through. I know a lot of people were waiting, you know, wanting to hear updates, but to be honest with you, I just didn’t want you to see me … with tubes running out of me and trying to figure out if I was going to make it through.”
Foxx debunked rumors about his health that were swirling around with posts from people who felt they were entitled to know about his condition. It seems that Black Twitter hasn’t learned anything from when they criticized the late Chadwick Boseman’s appearance, only to learn later that he was dealing with colon cancer, to which he succumbed in August, 2020.
“By being quiet, sometimes things get out of hand. … Some people said I was blind, but as you can see the eyes are working, the eyes are working just fine. Said I was paralyzed, I’m not paralyzed, but I did go through – I went to hell and back,” Foxx said, adding that his “road to recovery had some potholes as well.”
“But I’m coming back, and I’m able to work, so I want to thank people who let me work,” Foxx added, as his eyes swelled up with tears. “And I just want to say that I love everybody, and I love all the love that I got.”
He even did a funny cross-eyed trick with his eyes mimicking his character Wanda, as shown in the series “In Living Color.” I guess given the title of his latest film, this eye movement re-assured his many fans that it was really him—and he wasn’t a clone.
“They didn’t clone me, but THEY CLONED TYRONE. See you July 21, only on @netflix.,” Foxx tweeted on July 12.
Actor IceT tweeted on July 23: “People would rather believe that Jamie is now a Clone or AI, than the man was just seriously sick and damn near died… Cause he doesn’t look EXACTLY the same??? YOU look different after a bad cold! Smh weirdos..”
The film unveils a conspiracy that Foxx, as a pimp named Slick Charles, and his co-stars, Parris, as a prostitute named Yo-Yo, and Boyega, as a drug dealer named Fontaine, are committed to proving and exposing.
Fontaine has been gunned down and murdered in the streets—as evidenced by at least six bullet holes, but he shows back up in the ‘hood. But at the time, nobody knows that he is a clone.
A scene in the fried chicken restaurant provides the first clue to a conspiracy—in that the Black patrons all start laughing hysterically. Then there’s the perm used in the beauty salon and the “grape drink” used as communion wine in church. In both of these latter locations, community members seem to all mimic one another—especially in the church, where they are all overcome with the spirit in funky unison.
The trio discover the conspiracy and the so-called clones that are being let back into the community in an effort to control the minds of people in mysterious ways.
The film speaks to saving the community from the bad guys, in that Yo-Yo, Slick Charles and Fontaine are relentless in taking down the infiltrators and destroying their laboratory.
As we know, they have been scandals and conspiracies facing the Black community throughout history. So, it’s not far fetched that using perm, drinking grape drink or eating fried chicken, which are daily habits within the community, could be the basis for mind control. This film is also a cautionary tale that someone is always watching or probing—be it via social media accounts or cell phone data that may be collected for a variety of reasons, without the user’s consent.
With the music, the vehicles and the costumes in “They Cloned Tyrone,” this film is a spectacle to enjoy. Foxx’s one-liners are golden, as is the chemistry between himself, Parris and Boyega. It has a total 80s vibe to it, with a soundtrack backed up with some songs from the period.
“They Cloned Tyrone” also stars David Alan Grier, Brian Tyree Henry, Keifer Sutherland and J. Alphonse Nicholson and is the directorial debut of Juel Taylor, the writer behind Creed II. It is co-written by Taylor and Tony Rettenmaier, with Foxx named as producer.
It’s worth a viewing or two, when you can go back and catch all the crazy dialogue.