Gemini Man may be a visual FX and technological achievement but the film falls short on using its talented cast effectively because of a weak narrative. The visual effects are what manages to keep the film from falling apart completely with a poor script and flawed story.
Will Smith co-stars opposite himself in Gemini Man, a unique action-thriller from Life of Pi director Ang Lee. Playing an elite assassin drawn into a battle with his younger clone. This film has been in development for many years, originally, being a Disney feature with stars like Harrison Ford, Clint Eastwood and Sean Connery being attached to the project. Now, after many rewrites, the project has been completed with Will Smith at the helm as the action hero.
Gemini Man is a significant leap forward for visual effects but a step in the wrong direction for action thrillers. The premise is underdeveloped and unoriginal when compared to the likes of John Wick and other similar films. Government assassins going rouge is an idea, too often portrayed on screen and in this case boringly. This gives the film an amateur and uninteresting feel that is noticeable to audiences.
Gemini Man feels like a film to just please fans of Will Smith as a popular, high grossing actor, worldwide who has loyal fans evident through recent films which aren’t critically successful but certainly commercially successful. Smith plays Henry Brogan, the best-of-the-best as an assassin for the Defence Intelligence Agency. Brogan now plans to retire and spend his years fishing off the Georgia coast. Chief among Brogan’s shadowy enemies is his former Army buddy Clay Varris, now a military-industrial biotech tycoon, working on a secret unit of genetically engineered warriors which kill without remorse. His personal favourite is Junior (de-aged Will Smith), who is a 25-year-old clone of Brogan whom Varris has raised as his son.
Arguing that Brogan knows too much to be permitted to retire peacefully, Varris sends Junior to kill him on the grounds that only a younger, faster version of the agency’s top assassin can outthink and outgun his lethal older self. Sensing imminent danger, Brogan goes on the run with fellow rogue DIA officer Danny Zakarweski (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and wise-cracking pilot sidekick Baron (Benedict Wong). Inevitably, sparks fly and loyalties shift as Brogan finally comes face to face with his younger self in picturesque locations.
Smith’s younger performances and old photos were used to create a de-aged version of Smith digitally. The de-aged version is a spectacle to watch and an interesting dynamic is created when Smith and his younger self come face to face. There are many action sequences which engage the audience but this is only a proportion of the film and what’s in between lacks coherence. The film is disappointing but still creates a landmark in technical achievements in cinema.
Gemini Man is a technical FX marvel that unfortunately falls short of creating a gripping action thriller because of an undeveloped narrative that is too familiar.