First of all, Thank you very much to the people at Skydance and Paramount for making this happen. I had the privilege of seeing a preview screening of Gemini Man which stars Will Smith and… Will Smith.
Gemini Man follows Henry Brogan who is a highly skilled and deadly assassin. After retiring, Brogan is hunted by a mysterious organisation who send out their most valuable asset who can predict Brogan’s every move. His world is turned upside down when he discovers that the man hunting him is a younger version of himself.
I had pretty high hopes for Gemini Man. That’s not to say that I hated it, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. The trailers seemingly promised quite a serious action film that had very interesting ramifications concerning cloning. However, I don’t think we go that.
The overall tone of the film was incredibly light thanks to Will Smith and Benedict Wong. While some dialogue got a few laughs here and there, I felt that the actual script appeared very unpolished. There were opportunities to expand on characters and even dive deep into the science of cloning. But instead they threw a clone at the audience and hoped they wouldn’t ask how it was made.
Even if the science wasn’t necessarily accurate, the whole process of creating a Will Smith clone was very undeveloped, it’s almost a throw away line that goes a little bit like: “they got your DNA and cloned you”. There’s no process, there’s no exploration and there is no evidence. We could have had some really cool scenes that incorporated failed test subjects and what Brogan’s clone meant for the future. While a motive is clearly established, they’re just words. It appeared as though successfully cloning Brogan wasn’t a huge deal, which it should have been.
One of my biggest problems with the film was that it was very jarring. This could have been caused by a mixture of both IMAX and 3D. With such a large screen there is obviously a lot to focus on and in terms of 3D… I didn’t really see the point. It felt unnecessary. If anything, it actually highlighted other issues.
Now, de-aging actors can work really well or it can go very wrong. Gemini Man couldn’t decide whether it wanted to look great or bad. It was a constant change between the two. On his own, young Will Smith looked pretty great but as the film progressed, the visuals somehow worsened. On a normal screen I don’t think it would be as noticeable but with the 3D technology, it emphasized particular layers. So, if something looked bad it stood out and if something looked good, then it looked good.
What I think happened was that a lot of the budget focused on making Will Smith look younger which unfortunately had an impact on the overall look of the film. Particular action sequences look very dated and it just looked very cheap. When full characters were CGI, you could tell just by how they moved. Something felt off with their movement and this is particularly noticeable during the Bike chase.
However, one particular scene stood out. I am a very big fan of hand-to-hand combat and despite its flaws… this one scene was executed brilliantly. Many films tend to choreograph fights like a dance but this fight felt very heavy, almost as though they were actually fighting. While it can’t redeem the entire film, I was pleasantly surprised by the stunt work and choreography. This scene had some spectacular stunts and it was emotionally weighted.
Unfortunately that’s all I can say about Ang Lee’s Gemini Man. There is an fun twist in there which worked very pretty well. But overall, the film didn’t do a lot to amaze or wow the audience. While some of the action is fairly impressive, the actual story is pretty underwhelming as it avoids dwelling on some potentially fascinating plot points that could have enhanced the film. In addition to that, while the film promises to be a visual spectacle, it fails to remain consistent. As a result, you get a pretty jarring flick that looks particularly dated.
Do you agree with us? Let us know when you go and see it!
Gemini Man stars Will Smith as Henry Brogen/Junior, Clive Owen as Clay Varris, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Danny, Benedict Wong as Baron, Linda Emond as Lassiter and Theodora Miranne as Kitty.
The movie arrives in cinemas on October 11, 2019.