Cast: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong
Director: Ang Lee
There are really only two types of Ang Lee movies. There are the ones like Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi that capture the attention and imagination of audiences as Lee shows us how gifted he as a storyteller and as an artist. Then there are movies like Hulk and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk where he gets a little too creative for his own good and starts to go off the rails and ends up falling short. Gemini Man is an example of the latter. I can see what Lee was trying to do with this movie, but the special effects and de-aging mechanics don’t make up for the underwhelming and foreseeable story that accompanies them.
The film follows Henry Brogan (Smith), a former Marine sniper who now works for the government and goes on covert operations for the sake of American safety. When Henry decides to put this life behind him, the agency he dedicated his career towards sends a younger cloned version of Henry out to assassinate him and tie up any loose ends that he may have on their operations both domestic and abroad. The main issue that this film has is that it’s nearly impossible to watch this movie in the way that Lee intended it to be seen. With a frame rate of 120 fps and filmed with high-frame cameras, there’s only a handful of theaters in the country that can show this movie in a way that captures the essence of what was supposed to be seen. I understand the point of trying to do something different and experimental, but it’s kind of pointless to undergo this endeavor when the technology doesn’t exist on a wide-scale level. If you saw this movie in a normal theater like I did, you will notice the movie looks choppy and unorganized because we weren’t ready for something like this yet. Moving onto the de-aging, it doesn’t look terrible, but at times it’s pretty obvious that Will Smith is looking at nothing and that it’s still obviously a 51-year-old instead of someone in their early 20s. Outside of those things, the plot is very straightforward and isn’t exactly anything new or exciting. Smith is still a decent action hero, so his fight and shootout scenes would look good if it wasn’t for the technical interference brought onto him by Lee. There’s absolutely still a future for Smith as a box office draw, but it’s truly just a matter of picking the right projects to attach his name to. From Lee’s perspective, I know he doesn’t write his own movies, but I’m curious what would happen if he put pen to paper and wrote his own script. With the amount of talent and vision he has as a director, I’m sure he can think of something to write that will put him back in the limelight as a critically-acclaimed director. While that project may come out someday, Gemini Man isn’t going to catapult Lee back to where he belongs and ends up being one of his biggest duds yet.
Overall, I know what Lee was going for when he made Gemini Man, but when the resources to make this movie successful don’t exist on a wide-spread scale yet it’s impossible to accomplish this goal. Lee is known as an experimental and creative director, and maybe in the future this technology will become more mainstream, but as of right now Lee won’t be able to accomplish this goal. If you removed the de-aging and high frame rate, Gemini Man would be your typical, average action movie, but these risks hamper the movie and prevent it from really excelling in any way.
Overall Score: 3.5/10