We see a clunky early model in the sleek home of the main couple in the story, Jordana Brewster (of the “Fast & Furious” movies) and Robbie Amell (of the streaming “Upload”), where he’s lately been having bad dreams of an accident he can’t remember. Turns out that’s because he’s a simulant as well — one of the new, ultra realistic ones with memories of the replicated human downloaded in him (except for the details of that accident).
The wife is starting to have second thoughts about this replacement spouse about the same time that some sims in the city are breaking out of their embedded restraints and breaking all the robots rules in an effort to be completely independent.
The genius doing this tinkering (no less than Simu Liu, star of Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings” and one of the Kens in the upcoming “Barbie”) is understandably on the lam. And Sam Worthington of the “Avatar” movies plays the grumbling, hard-bitten agent for an agency called Artificial Intelligence Compliance Enforcement. He’s got some nifty powers under his authority — like an electro magnetic pulse device that disables all electricity in a zone, in order to identify any sims (they freeze). But he’s also trapped into the cliches of the grizzled, loner law enforcement agent who somehow never has adequate backup other than a fleet of drones overhead.
“Simulant” is aided throughout by some languid, atmospheric cinematography by Russ De Jong, working well with the electronic music from the three member Blitz//Berlin, who previously scored “Blade Runner 2036: Nexus Dawn”). And it’s never a bad thing to end with a song from Lee Hazelwood.
Dark and well-paced, “Simulant” never overstays its welcome until the final big confrontation, which is followed by a couple of quiet twists at the end, portending a new future if not an extended franchise.
“Simulant” is available for rent or sale on Apple TV+, Prime Video, RedBox or Vudu.