by Kevin Muller
How would you define a movie star? Personally, it is an actor whose charisma shines through and levitates the best and worst of films. Will Smith has a giant personality that has given him a successful career that has spanned through television, music, film, and two Academy Award nominations. He can bring the funny as well as he can bring the tears. He can be sensitive, loving, and caring, but also witty, fun, and bad ass. Those are the very traits that make this very mediocre film semi-enjoyable instead of the train wreck it could’ve been.
Gemini Man has been on the shelf for over 20 years. Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Clint Eastwood, and Mel Gibson, were once attached to star. Unfortunately, the de-aging technology had not been perfected, so the project had to be put on hold. Now that the technology has caught up, Smith has jumped on the project to play Henry Brogan. He’s a government assassin, with over 70 career kills, who is also on his way out. During his first days of retirement, he finds out that his final kill was of an innocent man. When the higher ups find out he knows the classified information, they hook up with Clay Varris, who not only has a past with Brogan, but is also the head of a new program called, GEMINI. Varris offers to finish the job of eliminating our hero by tapping into his personal resources. Instead of sending soldiers, who’s a skilled soldier like Brogan will easily take out, he sends the younger version of Brogan to finish the job. Junior, as he calls himself, was created by Varris to become the ultimate soldier like his older self. Despite being the ultimate killing machine, he can’t kill Brogan, since he knows all his moves. While Junior is on a mission to kill his target, Brogan tries to get to Varris.
Director Ang Lee, who is a two time Academy Award winner, has always been an advocate of advancing the technology of films. Before Marvel became a franchise, he was the first to make a live action version of the Hulk, he created a poetic martial art movie with incredible wiring techniques with 2000’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and adapted a thought to be impossible book, 2012’s Life of Pi, with photo realistic versions of the animal characters. Over the last 8 years, he has also been a big proponent of High-Def Resolution. While most movies operate in 24 frames per second, this resolution plays out in 120 frames per second. This makes everything crystal clear and there is little to no blur during points when the camera is moving in and out of action scenes. In turn, it makes everything so real that the magic of cinema starts to get exposed. You can tell if a certain scene was filmed on location or on a sound stage.
The filming technique is far more interesting than the actual plot and story. This is basically a standard 90’s action film made with a lot of money. There isn’t anything wrong with that but if you are familiar with any film from that era, you will see most of the story plots coming from a mile away. The movie starts off pretty well, but as the clone aspect becomes more central to the plot, the movie starts to lose steam. The mystery of the film isn’t that interesting or well executed. Clive Owen plays Junior’s father. While Owen always brings a good energy to films, his antagonist role just seems one dimensional to be fully interesting. One of the bigger offenses the film commits is the final scene of the movie. First off, the tone of that scene seems off. There is nothing wrong with a happy ending, but it feels like it was a reshoot. This may explain why the beautiful CGI effects of the younger Smith go out the window. In the final minutes, Junior’s face seems too rubbery and stiff at points. It negates the work that went on in the rest of the film.
Gemini Man isn’t a bad film. It is enjoyable in parts as a film that you just turn off your brain and enjoy. Even if Eastwood, Ford, or the others had gotten the part, the movie’s screenplay would’ve done the same disservice to those stars as it has done to Smith. In the coming years, expect Lee to deliver something that will revolutionize this technology that he is trying to perfect. Until then, films like this are just mere experiments for him to fickle with the technology that he is truly passionate wanting to make happen.
I am giving Gemini Man a 3 out of 5 Hairpieces!