Juel Taylor’s They Cloned Tyrone has finally been released on Netflix this week. The genre-bending blaxploitation satire stars John Boyega, Teyonah Parris, Jamie Foxx, and Kiefer Sutherland and is one of the must-watch films of 2023.
The film follows the story of Fontaine, a stereotypical drug dealer who stumbles upon a shocking government conspiracy that involves his entire neighbourhood. As Fontaine and his friends Yo-Yo and Slick delves deeper into the web of lies and secrets, they discover a disturbing truth about themselves and their community.
Before you dive in, be warned that this article is full of spoilers about clones, fried chicken and more! But if you want to know who the hell is Tyrone and what happens to him, read on.
What is They Cloned Tyrone about?
The film begins with Fontaine in conflict with another dealer in his neighbourhood, the Glen. He has a score to settle with his rising rival Issac, as well as Slick Charles, a pimp who owes him a substantial sum of money.
After an altercation with one of Issac’s men, Fontaine confronts Slick. This happens right after Slick argues with Yo-Yo, who leaves the motel room to be around the corner from where she witnesses Fontaine’s shootout.
Surprisingly, Fontaine wakes up the next day with no gunshot wounds or memory of the previous day’s events. However, his friends, Slick and Yo-Yo, remember everything and are shocked to see Fontaine alive.
Curious and perplexed by this inexplicable turn of events, Fontaine, Yo-Yo, and Slick go sleuthing around, which leads them to a mysterious black car and eventually to a hidden lab. Inside, they encounter a lab technician who appears to be experimenting with clones. To Fontaine’s horror, he discovers the lifeless body of a man who looks exactly like him, riddled with bullet wounds that should have been his own.
They Cloned Tyrone ending explained: What was the Experiment?
As the film progresses, Fontaine realises that he is also a clone, along with several others in the neighbourhood. He discovers that mind control experiments are also being carried out by a secret government organisation in select communities inhabited mainly by low-income people of colour. The experiments include songs with coded messages, spiked fried chicken and hair products that can manipulate people’s emotions and actions.
In the film’s climax sequence, Fontaine and his friends storm the lab and confront the mastermind behind the cloning project—an older man who resembles Fontaine. It turns out that this man is the original Fontaine, responsible for creating all the clones after mind control alone proved ineffective in bringing about the desired change.
It is part of a grand conspiracy led by the government to achieve unity in a divided country. Old Fontaine motivation stems from the traumatic death of his brother Ronnie, whose memory he has passed on to all his clones.
Old Fontaine’s idea to achieve world peace—at least in the United States of America—is to turn everyone white. He believes that eliminating racial differences is the way to eradicate racism.
Old Fontaine believes that he has cracked the formula to change people’s appearance, but the most stubborn obstacle remains their hair. Despite this, he believes that people of colour will eventually be assimilated into a unified society over generations.
After uncovering the disturbing truth about their neighbourhood and the widespread cloning experiments, Yo-Yo decides to expose the entire operation to the press.
With all the clones freed from the lab, the media swarms the scene, making it difficult for the organisation to continue their experiments in secrecy any longer.
Yo-Yo, Fontaine, and Slick decide to take matters into their own hands and embark on a road trip to locate and destroy other cloning labs scattered across the country.
Who is Tyrone?
The movie’s title, They Cloned Tyrone, becomes more apparent in the final scene, where we are introduced to another clone named Tyrone, who lives in Los Angeles. Unlike Fontaine and his friends, Tyrone is unaware of the cloning conspiracy and lives his usual life, exactly the same as Fontaine’s. However, Tyrone is blissfully unaware of his manipulated existence.
When the news of the clone conspiracy breaks, Tyrone is watching it all unfurl on TV, not taking it too seriously till he sees a clone, who looks like him, emerge from one of the labs, the shocking reality that he is a clone too dawns on him slowly.
The final scene hints at the beginning of Tyrone’s journey. Whether he will potentially join forces with Fontaine, Yo-Yo, and Slick in their crusade against the secret government project is left for us to deduce.