Gemini Man (2019) – Film Review
Director: Ang Lee
Cast: Will Smith, Clive Owen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
by Roger Crow / @RogerCrow
When I first heard Will Smith was making a movie called Gemini Man, I hoped it would involve him turning invisible with the aid of a digital watch. Anyone who grew up with Ben Murphy’s namesake Invisible Man revamp will know the reference. Everyone else will be non the wiser
But no. Instead it’s more a case of Attack of the Clones, both in style and substance.
Will plays Henry Brogan, an elite 51-year-old assassin who’s ready to call it quits after completing his latest job. His plans are scuppered when he becomes the target of a mysterious operative who can seemingly predict his every move. To his amazement, Brogan discovers that the man who’s trying to kill him is a younger, faster, cloned version of himself.”
It’s a one-gag movie that is ramped up by excellent action set pieces, including a breathtaking motorbike chase and some great fight scenes.
Will is as charismatic as ever, while the CG jockeys who created him Fresh Prince-era deserve a round of applause, even if there are times it’s so “uncanny valley” you’re dragged out of the story to wonder how they did it.
I’ll happily watch Will read the phone book for an hour, he’s so engaging, but it’s the glorious backdrops that almost steal the movie, whether it’s Colombia, Budapest or Savannah, Georgia.
And then there’s the rest of the cast, some of my favourite thesps of recent years. Clive Owen, aka the best 007 we never had); the ever brilliant Ralph (Withnail and I) Brown; wonderful Benedict Wong, and the luminous Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who adds glamour, kick-ass thrills and exposition where needed.
“Worth a look”
And the fact it’s shot in ultra HD at 120 frames per second means there’s a sharpness to the action scenes. Less motion blur between punches essentially.
So all the ingredients are there, but why wasn’t I more engaged? Ang Lee is a terrific director, who knows how to craft great movies. Maybe it was the script by David Benioff (Game of Thrones), Darren Lemke (Shrek Forever After) and Billy Ray (Terminator: Dark Fate), which had been knocking around for decades and was just waiting for the tech to be able to sell the tall story. (Clint Eastwood, Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp and Tony Scott all circled the project at one point).
Or maybe it was just that old truism that it doesn’t matter how great your ingredients, sometime (cinematic) meringues fall flat.
It’s well worth a look, but it’s not the sort of film that stands up to repeated viewing alas.