Will Smith is one of the most iconic action stars of the 90’s. Movies like Independence Day, Men in Black, and Bad Boys have cemented themselves as iconic action franchises. That is mostly on the back of Will Smith. Fast forward 20 years later and Smith isn’t quite the star he once was. Gemini Man is an attempt at capturing that magic that once was by not only having Will Smith, but by having him fight himself.
Gemini Man is directed by Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Hulk) and three (credited) writers. It is the story of Henry Brogan, an aging government assassin who is finally ready to hang it up. In typical spy action movie fashion however, Brogan gets betrayed by his own government. He soon becomes the target of a mysterious hitman who knows his every move. As everyone has seen from the posters and trailers, this mysterious operative is actually a younger, faster, cloned version of Brogan. This revelation sets the movie into a high speed action/sci-fi thrill ride.
“When I saw him, it was like seeing a ghost.”
The action in this movie is by far the high point. Fights scenes are well choreographed and we don’t get the unwatchable shaky cam that has plagued action films for years. Ang Lee has some amazing long single takes and brilliant camerawork throughout the film but specifically during the action scenes. There is a great shot of Smith’s character riding a motorcycle followed by a great chase scene involving Brogan and his clone. You even get to see Will Smith fight Will Smith using a motorcycle as a weapon. If that isn’t a selling point for you than you just might want to skip this one.
Another aspect the film did well for the most part was the CGI of the younger version of Brogan. De-aging technology has been on the rise in the last couple years but for Gemini Man, they decided to use solely CGI. While it doesn’t look perfect, it isn’t so bad to the point of being distracting. They haven’t quite figured out the mouth and teeth which can look a little strange at times and there is one scene in particular where it looks like you are watching the cut-scene of a video game instead of a huge studio movie. Overall though the visuals were quite impressive.
“I’m not you old man, I’M NOT YOU!”
Now this film is by no means perfect or even great for that matter. First off there is a waste of side characters that don’t really get any time to develop. Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, Sky High) plays the main female role as another agent who ends up trying to aid Brogan. She does fine with her role but isn’t given a ton to work with. There is one action scene where she is literally only there to light the scene with a flashlight and it just makes the scene feel super awkward. Along with her is Benedict Wong (Dr. Strange) who is hilarious with his limited time but could have been fleshed out more.
The biggest issue that really hurt Gemini Man was the writing. Written by David Benioff, who many people know as one of the head writers on Game of Thrones, this movie finds a way to use every trope and cliche there is out there in the genre. Clive Owen (King Arthur, Children of Men) is your generic, maniacal laughter type villain who enjoys monologuing a little bit too much. The movie is also predictable at every turn. There was never a point of shock or surprise throughout its entire run-time.
While it does have it’s high points, Gemini Man just doesn’t land the mark. The writing may bother some people just for how bland it is. If you are looking for some great action and are just a huge fan of Will Smith, I’d still say it’s worth checking out.
Overall Score 2.5/5
The Shameless Plugs
Check out the Back Lot 605 Podcast Network on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, and YouTube. Follow us on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Check out our movie friends Fat Dude Digs Flicks and Somewhat Random Movie Collection for some awesome reviews and movie insights! Check out every episode of the Back Lot 605 Podcast and the Killer Countdown!