REVIEW: Technically ambitious ‘Gemini Man’ fails in other areas

Young Will Smith returns in “Gemini Man” but unfortunately, he hasn’t made a rap song to compliment his latest movie like he used to.

The movie stars Smith as Henry Brogan, an aging government operative and assassin who’s looking to retire from his career in combat. His dreams of retirement are dashed, though, as he becomes a target by higher-ups just as he’s leaving the business. An attempt on his life forces him to go on the run, with the help of another government agent named Danny (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).

The problem though, is the person they sent after Brogan is exceptionally skilled and is also relentless. On top of being a force to be reckoned with, though, Brogan soon learns that the one hunting him is actually a younger clone of himself.

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Yes, this happens often.

Along with featuring one of America’s most well known movie stars, “Gemini Man” also benefited from having Academy Award winning Director Ang Lee. To his credit as a good filmmaker who pushes limits, Lee and his crew brought something different to the table technically.

The picture was shot with a frame rate of 120 frames per second, or fps, while most flicks are shot at 24 fps. Only few theaters are technologically capable of showing the movie at this level, but regardless of what equipment a cinema has, one can certainly tell there’s a crisper quality to the picture here.

However, this is somewhat of a double-edged sword. The film looks quite clear, yet this results in some moments where the “younger” Smith looking inauthentic. De-aging technology has certainly come a long way, but it’s still a work in progress and that is noticeable here.

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Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Skydance Media.

While the de-aging technology and the results of its fps have their ups and downs, though, there’s no doubt about the movie’s superb action. “Gemini Man” has a few action sequences that are full of adrenaline and very entertaining to watch.

A clear standout is a chase sequence along the way that is up there as one of the best in recent memory. It’s intense, fast and extremely well shot. The movie’s final battle is also quite good.

All of the technical marvel and engaging action can’t save “Gemini Man” from a well below average screenplay, though. The whole picture comes across like it was written in the 90s. Aside from modern slang and tech, there’s a dated feeling on this one.

The movie is significantly let down, whether it’s the story or the dialogue. Much of the film comes across as either generic or dull.

As usual, Smith is pretty good. The film is clearly carried in many instances by his natural charisma and screen presence. He also deserves credit for his efforts to portray a younger version of himself via the de-aging tech.

Winstead was a solid addition to the cast as well, in fact she arguably stole a few scenes from Smith at times. Clive Owen was a bit less memorable, though, as the picture’s stock villain.

“Gemini Man” had a good share of talent in front of and behind the camera, and the camera was pretty good to boot. However it never seems to rise above a rather average espionage/sci-fi thriller. It’s an alright watch thanks to its action and presentation, but the movie is dragged down by its writing. 2.85 out of 5.

 

 

Author: Matthew Liedke

I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, and I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2009 graduate of Rainy River College and a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University in Moorhead. At MSU, I studied journalism and film. Outside of movies, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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