Gemini Man from Ang Lee is a movie that would have been immensely satisfying if the story could explore the headspace of its central characters in a deeply affecting way. But the movie just can’t achieve that. The predictability is the main villain here and Lee is struggling to find the right balance between the action and drama in this sci-fi action film.
Henry Brogan is like the number one trained assassin out there. He works for the government and has done some 70+ killings in his career. Now he wants to retire and at that moment he gets one vital information that sort of changes a lot of things for him. He becomes a threat to the system and they want to eliminate him. Brogan’s attempt to run away from the radar is what basically Gemini Man showing us.
From the trailer, we all know this conflict of real versus clone is happening in the story. And we also know that it will be that action-packed Will Smith against Will Smith thing on a visual level. What I was looking forward to in the movie was to see how they are going to pitch the emotional side of both characters. In one scene the antagonist Clay says how men are overly enthusiastic at a young age and how they evolve after an age. The problem is that, even though the script is saying Brogan has insomnia, mental strain, fear of drowning etc, there isn’t much on the movie to make us feel for that character. When the veteran Brogan talks to his 20+ version called Junior, we can’t feel the trauma Henry has gone through in his life.
As Henry Brogan, Will Smith is playing his age and you can see how convincingly he becomes the character who no longer has any excitement in life. But the de-aged version was really clumsy. Even Bollywood has done de-aging in a pretty effective way in a movie like Fan and it was so shocking to see a badly rendered CG face in a really costly movie like Gemini Man. Mary Elizabeth Winstead was fine as Danny. Benedict Wong and Clive Owen are the other major names here.
Ang Lee was the man who made Life of Pi which a lot of people considered as unfilmable. Gemini Man was also a script that was in development hell for a long time and Lee coming on board had made things exciting. But here, one can clearly see him struggling to give the emotional dimension the right space it requires. And things looked far too compromised and hasty. Towards the end, there is a Terminator-like showdown sequence and the cluttered edits weren’t respecting the continuity of the space. And one big thing that bothered me was the CGI. The frame rates have been increased in scenes that featured the younger Will Smith and that decision made the visuals look weird. In the climax scene when we finally see Junior in flat open light, it was almost like watching a rendered CJ from GTA San Andreas pasted near Will Smith. The background score was impressive by the way.
Gemini Man is highly predictable and mostly dull. It was an idea that had the potential to be very political about hyper-nationalism, war cry, PTSD, etc. But the content here is more focused on the show-off stuff like the stunts and the double role. And because of mediocre visual effects (compared to Hollywood standards), even that target is not achieved.
The content here is more focused on the show-off stuff like the stunts and the double role. And because of mediocre visual effects (compared to Hollywood standards), even that target is not achieved.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended