Genuinely when an actor like Will Smith is the big star in a huge sci-fi blockbuster, that’s usually a guarantee that it’s going to exciting (except After Earth for many reasons). Those two combinations are enough for me to pay to see it. The biggest catch with Gemini Man, the least to come from director Ang Lee and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, that we get two Will Smiths instead of one? Well, this easily should’ve come out in the ’90s where all the dumbest action movies came out.
What’s the Story: Henry Brogan (Smith) is a skilled assassin that’s trying hard to retire after 72 kills. But it doesn’t seem likely when he is being hunted by a younger clone version of himself named Junior from this program called “Gemini”, where he acquires the same skills.
This has been a project that has been in development for a very long time when people like Harrison Ford to Nicolas Cage were supposed to star in it. Lee is truly a visual director that can jump from different genres that pleases him to do whatever he wants. Though the trailers didn’t leave me all that impressed, there’s a possibility that this could be something in the same vein as Rian Johnson’s Looper or The One with Jet Li. And that would be an insult to throwing Looper‘s name to describe Gemini Man since it honestly blows.
I’m not going out and say the performances from talented actors are great, but the perfect word to describe what they gave to this is fine. You’re going to get a good performance from Smith, which doesn’t become a surprise, even in dual roles. He manages to play his age and a 23-year-old version of himself in a way that makes him able to still be who he is. The supporting cast like Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Benedict Wong are what some of the movie needed to not make it entirely bad for side characters. Although Clive Owen just looked like he was bored the entire time, and I didn’t think he made for a good villain any time he shows up.
This is the third movie Lee does something game-changing, whether it’s visually or how his film is presented. In this, he utilizes the de-aging technology and experiments, once again, with extra-high frame rates (the first being the very underwhelming Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk). The thing that hooks everybody’s attention to the movie was the de-aged Smith. The de-aging effects hinge on being a somewhat mixed bag since it looks believable in some parts and just too unrealistic during the action. Sometimes it’s not easy to make certain actors look younger, and in this case, it’s about similar to Jeff Bridges’ rubbery face in Tron: Legacy.
The direction looks beautiful, which coming from Lee doesn’t surprise anyone. But as a movie that falls under the action genre, I wouldn’t say the action sequences were good since they didn’t come off as thrilling. But there was one motorcycle chase that was mildly cool and then turned stupid when it was reaching its end. Just in general, Lee didn’t do a good job at handling some of the fight scenes or shootouts when it didn’t feel like an Oscar-winning director is behind them.
But here’s what ultimately makes Gemini Man lame: The script. You would think a screenplay written by Game of Thrones co-creator David Benioff, Billy Ray (Captain Phillips) and Darren Lemke (Shazam!) will instantly make this awesome on its own, but it doesn’t take the chance to become exciting or make it unpredictable, which ends up becoming disappointing, to say the least. Kind of shows that this story has been on the shelves for 20 years. It’s that kind of concept that sounds cool, but that’s been played out before, and it doesn’t surprise anyone. A lot of it is due to scenes of boring exposition dumps that are so clumsily written and try to throw in some humor that didn’t work. Even when it’s trying to make us care for the characters, especially Junior, not a single part of my body didn’t.
In the end, Gemini Man is neither interesting or captivating when it’s supported by a very weak script and Ang Lee’s unimpressed directing that ultimately made this sci-fi the least bit fun. Smith and everybody else was fine, but this was just dull to sit through, and it’s going to leave my mind a few days after I saw it. Wanna watch a good sci-fi flick with the “Fresh Prince?” My recommendation would be I, Robot because it’s 10x better than what we got here.
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