Now I’d be the first to say that as far as I’m concerned astrology is complete and utter nonsense, but that’s me, typical Aries. So the thought of Gemini Man was that of some decrepit mystic sitting in a tent in a ropey funfair insisting on his palm being crossed with silver before reading out your horoscope from a week old copy of the Daily Star. As it is Gemini Man has Will Smith as Henry Brogan the worlds No.1 hitman. ‘How good is he?’, we hear no one ask. So good that, as a sniper, he assassinates a man in a high speed train from 2 miles away. So right from the start we’ve a taste of how daft this is going to get.
As Henry Brogan he decides it’s going to be his last hit for the secret government agency he works but his old boss and adversary is Clay Verris played by Clive Owen in a typical Clive Own bad guy role in that he’s in a senior position in a covert agency and he’s up to no good, a role that we saw him in in the recent The Informer and effectively he reprises here. Determined to put his feet up in his luxury house on the bay and fish from his boat Brogan quickly realizes that Danny Zakarweski (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), the new girl at the bay office, is not who she says she is and her cover is easily rumbled by the old pro. With her cover blown and then finding a squad of hitmen attempt to bump him off it’s no surprise that he suspects something’s up especially when a members of his old team get whacked too.
So far, so formulaic and his old department are determined to see him off this time sending another lone assassin, who is as good if not far better than Brogan, after him in a thrillingly shot sequence in Cuba. The twist here is that the assassin is actually a clone made by some shady covert department an part of a Gemini Man project that Verris has kept going for his own ends to develop a squad of super soldier assassins. This has all the makings of a summer blockbuster that’s been shunted into the Autumn season and understandably so because this would have struggled against the likes of Avengers Endgame, Captain Marvel, Toy Story 4 et al.
Directed by Ang Lee this is again shot in 4K at the higher frame rate of 120fps which gives it a remarkably crisp and sharp picture and that unfortunately is part of the films problem. With a digitally de-aged Smith playing his clone the film actions sequences do look great, although one sequence looks a like a lift from Streetfighter, with some lengthy single take action scenes that are impressive. However because of this, the sci-fi high concept, the quality of the picture and the immersive effect of the 3D that we watched it , it does make it look like a glorified video game. Add to this some less than subtle product placement for Coca Cola & Stella Artois and action sequences with a high yet blandly vanilla body count and it all becomes a little dull.
Smith has had a return to box office success this year with Aladdin and this has him back in action man mode as we will see in next year’s Bad Boys for Life but this high concept idea is something of a let down. Clive Owen is a great actor who deserves better than these generic bad guy roles he takes in Hollywood films and how good an actor he is, is only emphasized by an actress who plays opposite him who says her lines like it’s an open audition for the local amateur dramatics society. Winstead is fine in her role but Benedict Wong, who turns up half way through the film, is utterly wasted. Gemini Man, for fans of both Ang Lee and Will Smith, will be a disappointment.
Here’s the Gemini Man……..