Gemini Man is directed by Ang Lee. The film stars Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, and Benedict Wong.
Henry Brogan is a top assassin; but in his older age, is ready to retire; following years of the best service his employers have ever had. But when he wants out, the government organizations he once served so loyally sent out their top hit squads; including a man who looks identical to a younger Henry. Who is the so-called “Gemini Man,” and is there more to things than meets the eye?
Gemini Man tries to be about 10 different movies; and sadly, doesn’t quite succeed at any of them. The film assembles a talented cast and has its share of exciting action sequences; but the muddled plot, inconsistent tone, weak writing, overemphasis of its central gimmick, and lack of direction keep it from going anywhere.
I’ll give the movie credit for some solid casting. Will Smith is especially impressive in his dual role, and I do appreciate that the filmmakers at least tried to humanize the “younger clone” version of him here. The supporting cast fares nearly as well, with a superb performance from the always entertaining Benedict Wong as an old fellow operative of Brogan’s, who steals every scene he’s in.
Sadly, aside from casting and some exciting action sequences, the film feels flat in every other area. Gemini Man is a movie about there being two of a person; and that’s ironic given that this movie faces its own identity crisis. Is it supposed to be a conspiracy thriller? A buddy cop movie? A character study about an ex-soldier on the cusp of retirement? The movie never manages to be anything deeper than what meets the eye; with its screenplay at time being cartoonishly bad. It’s a jack of all trades and a master of none.
The movie revolves around a de-aged version of Will Smith's character being a major component in the film; but the gimmick quickly wears out its welcome. Technology in the film industry these days is amazing, but having an entire film built around the gimmick is an iffy prospect; and the end result never quite lives up to the potential. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story employed a similar gimmick, but it was used in only two scenes of that film and quite sparingly.
Ang Lee has one of the most eclectic mixtures of films in his repertoire of any director working today; and it’s a shame Gemini Man can’t rise above its own identity crisis despite the presence of solid casting and action sequences. It’s muddled down and unable to impress audiences with its many shortcomings. If you’re curious, wait for the home release.
Rating: One-and-a-half out of four stars.
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