Title – Gemini Man (2019)
Director – Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain)
Cast – Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong
Plot – Recently retired government super-assassin Henry Brogan (Smith) faces the ultimate test of his abilities when he must face off against a younger cloned version of himself (also Smith) who has been sent to kill him.
“When I saw him, it was like I was seeing a ghost. Like every trigger I’ve ever pulled”
Review by Eddie on 15/10/2019
Disclaimer – this review is based on the 2D standard screening of the film
Heralded as a new technological advancement for filmmaking thanks to its shooting in 4K, 3D and 120FPS and its de-aging effects works on its leading man Will Smith, Academy Award winning director Ang Lee’s newest Hollywood film Gemini Man may be technically intriguing but that’s where the buck stops with a film that had no chance of overcoming any of its narrative or delivery failures in what’s a dull, badly written and downright dumb sci-fi thriller that will likely go down as one of 2019’s greatest box office duds.
Hovering around Hollywood in various forms since the 90’s, with the likes of Nicolas Cage attached to star and Tony Scott and Curtis Hanson in talks to direct, Gemini Man quite clearly had some issues it needed to overcome before seeing the light of day, meaning it’s quite sad that Lee, wonder producer Jerry Bruckheimer and the films writers David Benioff, Billy Ray and Darren Lemke didn’t manage to overcome them in what is a final product that is barely deserving of public consumption, let alone a big cinematic release.
With only a handful of cinemas around the world even capable of showcasing Gemini Man in its true format, there’s wonder the much talked about wizardry of the film matters at all as when you strip this film back to the form and manner in which many (including myself) had and will see it, all that’s left is a badly constructed sci-fi thriller that gives leading man Will Smith and his tired looking co-stars a plethora of bad dialogue and a bunch of generic characters that offer nothing to a story that doesn’t even feel at all original or noteworthy.
Everything in Lee’s film feels stale and devoid of spark, there’s some nice but fairly forgettable action sequences to be found, highlights of which is a motorbike chase that eventuates into a laughably bad CGI fest as two Will Smith’s battle it out and start using their bikes as missiles but overall everything in Lee’s film feels peculiar and unnatural, never more so evident than creepy young CGI Will Smith.
In what’s supposed to be the films big selling point as a spectacle, two Will Smith’s for the price of one, the younger version of Smith’s super-hitman Henry Brogan known as Junior is a creation that you can never warm to and despite the sprinkling’s of moments that Junior comes off as a realistic creation, there are far too many occurrences where the films CGI wizardry on Junior takes you right out of the moment, more likely to induce laughter rather than awe-inspiring reactions.
It’s sad to see Smith continue to struggle in lead roles as he does here, a problem that has been more frequent than ever the last decade and while his not so much outright bad, he fails to get Gemini Man into any extra gear while Lee continues to be a baffling player behind the camera with his films genuine pot luck propositions as he struggles to reach the highs of his early to mid-2000’s outputs.
Another hugely detrimental aspect to Gemini Man’s enjoyment levels is that once we become aware of what a cloned Brogan means and the reasoning behind why this dastardly creation exists, you wonder why we should be against it, making the whole point of Brogan’s mission rather pointless as we end up curiously siding with Clive Owen’s hammy “bad guy” Clay Verris who really truly does kind of have a point.
Final Say –
With all his focus on the technical that doesn’t even end up being all that amazing, Lee has forgot to make a good film in the meantime. A film that is equal amounts dumb, bland and uninspired, Gemini Man is the very worst kind of Hollywood blockbuster that is more likely to encourage sleep rather than encourage viewers to have a fun time with an enjoyable piece of escapist entertainment.
1 ½ perfectly placed piece of product placement out of 5