Recommendation: A lot more fun than the reviews would suggest. But ultimately possible to skip. 6/10.
IMDB Synopsis: An over-the-hill hitman faces off against a younger clone of himself.
The elevator pitch for Gemini Man is simple: You’re a soldier with a haunted past; a DIA hitman whose second to none. But you know too much and your government wants you gone. But what if the hitman they send is a clone of your?? While the structure and plot are that of an action film, there’s more underneath the action veneer of Gemini Man to offer audiences than pure popcorn. Additionally, following in the footsteps of his prior film, director Ang Lee shot Gemini Man in 120 frames per second to more closely mirror the human eye, with varying success. Unfortunately, most theaters in the world do not project in 120 FPS, with most major cities barely having any theaters that project in 60 FPS (HFR).
Henry Brogan (Will Smith) is solider and Defense Intelligence Agency assassin, with a flawless 25 year history that’s left him with a head full of bad memories. Stumbling upon information he shouldn’t, Henry becomes the target of the DIA and soon the plot unravels into a game of chase from Georgia to Columbia to Europe and back. Helping him is Danny (Mary Elizabeth-Winstedt), an agent who was originally tasked with surveilling him, and Baron (Benedict Wong), a happy-go-lucky pilot and solider friend of Henry’s. But after dispatching a couple DIA wet teams, generic bad guy Clay Verris (Clive Owen) unleashes Gemini’s secret weapon, a close of Henry (played by a de-aged Will Smith).
As the two Wills battle one another, they form a bond—a father/son link that neither had previously—and ultimately team up to take down Verris and his Genesis operation. The first two-thirds of the film is a fairly rote action flick (albeit with some stunning sequences thanks to the 120 FPS). But in the final act, you can feel director Ang Lee’s soft touch, having the Wills team up and utilize familial (and exact genetic match) bonds rather than slug it out in a winner take all (a la Terminator: Dark Fate).
Is Gemini Man the best action flick of 2019? By no means. But it’s certainly better than the scores on RT & MetaCritic would suggest. With a genuine swing for the fences with the 120 FPS, solid dual-acting roles from Will Smith, and a strong supporting case, Gemini Man should be a hit on VoD.
MVP: Will Smith alternates between older and tired solider with a head full of bad memories, and younger, robotic, energetic roles. The movie is a showcase for the aging actor, and he mostly delivers.
Highlights: Benedict Wong delightfully chews every scene he’s in. More Mary Elizabeth Winstedt, please.
Directors: Ang Lee
Studio: Paramount Pictures // Original release date: October 11, 2019