They Cloned Tyrone is a Netflix original film written and directed by Juel Taylor. It stars John Boyega as Fontaine, a cocaine dealer, Jamie Foxx as a pimp known as Slick Charles, and Teyonah Parris as Yo-Yo, a sex worker. The film follows the three protagonists investigating the strange happenings in their small community. What follows is a twisty spiral into something much greater than any of them could have predicted.

Similarly to the protagonists of our story, this film led me down some unpredictable paths. For those with no interest or no knowledge on They Cloned Tyrone, I highly recommend giving this a viewing. There will probably be some spoilers ahead so proceed with caution.

They Cloned Tyrone Negatives: Pacing

Going into this film I had no idea what it was about. This did not hurt my experience, but for a portion of the beginning of the film it felt as though things were moving rather slowly. None of it was bad nor was it boring, but the rate at which things unraveled took some time. The movie can be separated into three sections. Once everything picks up from the second act onward it does not let up. However as things unraveled and progressed I could not help but want things to just go faster.

On both my first and second watches, I could not wait to get through the first ten/ fifteen-ish minutes. Granted, it is all entertaining and necessary to establish everything, but personally I just wanted it all to move a bit quicker.

Tyrone’s Motivations: The Ending

One final major-ish issue I have with the film is the ending. Everything is going great and all they need to stick this landing is some solid enough reasoning. Overall it amounts to the real Fontaine being behind all of the cloning and experiments. Great! The memories he planted of his younger brother Ronnie getting shot by the police are planted memories and none of them are real to these younger Fontaine clones. Awesome! This is Fontaine’s plot to turn black people into white people to create an all white society, free from instances like racial police shootings. All while the government also benefits from Black erasure. I am still watching, but that feels like a huge stretch. 

Jamie Foxx as Slick Charles in Juel Taylor’s 2023 film They Cloned Tyrone. Image provided courtesy of Netflix Studios.

Maybe this is the point and that is why Font-old and the government need to be stopped, but structurally it does not make a whole lot of sense to me. Logic is not something I am focused too much on with this film since it is best to just let it go where it needs. Old-taine’s reasoning is the only thing that feels like a huge jump with some mental gymnastics to me.

There is only one more scene that I still feel a bit unsure of. A government car pulls up and takes in a guy riddled with bullets to their headquarters. This lets Fontaine see the car and piece things together later, but I am still super curious who that was. It is probably not too relevant but I think there could have been something a bit tighter with this moment. 

Tyrone’s Friends & Allies: The Cast- Good

I am so glad we have John Boyega. He is cool, he knows how to play each character, and he has good chemistry with his co-stars. As both a testament to the writing and Boyega’s performance, everything he does feels right. Putting a coke dealer in an X-Files episode sounds like a difficult task, but Boyega makes it work and fun. Yo-Yo is a wonderful character. Teyonah Parris’ sweet and silly, yet completely motivated performance is the heart and driving soul of this movie. Out of the three, I feel that Yo-Yo is the most developed. Lastly and most certainly not least is the winner of the 1995 Pimp of the Year- Jamie Foxx AKA Slick Charles.

While, yes, he is definitely the comic relief character, he is also a pretty integral part of the trio. I found that most of his jokes and quips were genuinely funny and not so much distractions. Shout out to the incredible talent that Jamie Fox is. You know this already though. Fontaine is the brawn, Yo-Yo is the brains, and Slick Charles is…well… slick. The dynamic between the three is great and I am all in on this group.

John Boyega as Fontaine in Juel Taylor’s 2023 film They Cloned Tyrone. Image provided courtesy of Netflix Studios.

The rest of the supporting cast is great too. I had absolutely no idea there would be a Kiefer Sutherland appearance and I friggin’ loved him here. He was rough, rude, mean, intense, scary and a great addition to this movie. Also, huge shout out to David Alan Grier as the church preacher. This movie is funny, but the brief scene he was on screen was so damn funny, that after both watches I feel comfortable saying his scene is my favorite. 

Funny Business: The Comedy and Plot

Like I said, this movie is funny. One thing I admire about this movie’s flavor is how none of the jokes feel like interruptions. Sure a joke may change the tone of the scene a bit or it will lighten the mood, but nothing felt like a distraction. I do not think this would be an insanely tense movie without the jokes, but having light characters makes everything feel easier to swallow.

As silly, goofy, and twisty as this story is, there are a lot of heavy themes, scenes and implications here. The overarching themes of Black erasure, appropriations, the government tampering with Black neighborhoods, and unity in community give this movie some nice depth. Including those few aforementioned plot issues I mentioned, this film has a super entertaining story. The interweaving of each lively location with the underlying racial experimentation going on is great stuff. 

Greatness in Places: Other Random Notes

 I do not have any more complaints, but there could have been a bit more of Junebug. He talks about SpongeBob SquarePants in two different scenes then bounces. Give us more of him! The neon lighting in many scenes is a nice touch and ties in very well with the funky synth score. Speaking of the score- it is very good and helped keep the tone throughout.

Jamie Foxx as Slick Charles in Juel Taylor’s 2023 film They Cloned Tyrone. Image provided courtesy of Netflix Studios.

The Isaac partnership may have taken a while to evolve, but I have no complaints about the pacing of that subplot. When it all comes together it all feels earned and the plan to execute it was fun. The time frame of this movie is really interesting how there is a blend of every decade. There is modern technology, but everything feels expansive across multiple eras.


The final moments of the film reveal a version of John Boyega in LA with an almost identical routine. He and his group are watching the news when the clones are freed. One of them says “ain’t that you, Tyrone?” This finally reveals the Tyrone from the title and it is a big and fun surprise moment. Before that, the trio teases going to Memphis to do more investigations like this. 

I am unsure on the final scene. Do I want more of this group? Absolutely, I one hundred percent do! However I only want it if it will be done correctly, of course. There is definitely more in this story to investigate and more to unravel, but how much can be worked into the story properly? I do not want this to be a mystery of the week kind of deal, but to be honest I am not sure where to go from here. 

Jamie Foxx (Left) as Slick Charles, Teyonah Parris (Center) as Yo-Yo, and John Boyega (Right) as Fontaine in Juel Taylor’s 2023 film They Cloned Tyrone. Image provided courtesy of Netflix Studios.

Again, there is definitely more to explore and more to this world. In my opinion Juel Taylor should take all the time he needs if he were to make a sequel. There is something here that is really interesting for a few more films. If this is a one of one film then I am perfectly fine with that too. Not everything needs a sequel, of course, and if this is it then I think it is a terrific adventure.

They Cloned Tyrone By Juel Taylor

With Barbie and Oppenheimer dueling it out in theaters, there was no way anything else was grabbing anyone’s attention. Now that the dust has settled and the glitter glue has dried, I think you should really check They Cloned Tyrone. It is definitely the sleeper hit of this summer and I fear it will be a sleeper hit for the rest of the year. Do not miss this one. It is so much fun and I can not recommend this enough. If you are looking for more strangely wonderful films written and directed by an independent African American creator, then this is your jam. They Cloned Tyrone is available on Netflix and is a solid 8/10. I want some of the Got Damn! chicken, it looked delicious.

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