It’s Will Smith vs Will Smith in the action thriller – Gemini Man. The film, which is directed by the legendary Ang Lee, features Smith in a battle against a younger clone of himself.
Henry Brogran (Will Smith), a government assassin, decides to retire after completing his recent mission – assassinating a terrorist on a bullet train. Upon settling down on his retirement, he reunites with an old friend, Jack Willis (Douglas Hodge). Jack informs Henry that the man Henry killed on the train was an innocent man, not a terrorist. During the conversation, Henry’s former agency listens in on their conversation. After discovering that Henry knows their secret, Janet Lassiter (Linda Emond) and Clay Varris (Clive Owen), head of a top-secret black ops unit codenamed GEMINI, decide to murder Henry. Unbeknownst to Henry, GEMINI created a younger clone of himself – Junior – to assassinate him.
The film works best when Henry Brogran interacts with Junior, whether it’s the motorcycle chase, hand-to-hand combat, or verbal exchanges. Their on-screen presence captures our attention. Even in his 50s, Will Smith is still charismatic as ever.
Gemini Man also boasts a revolutionary new digital technology by Weta Digital, which allows us to experience a digital creation of a younger Will Smith. The result is just miraculous. It reminds us why he was such a force to reckon with in his earlier days.
Henry is older, wiser, and more sympathetic. In contrast, Junior is a killing machine in his prime. He is stronger and faster. Who would win in a fight? The person with the experience or the person with the better physique?
Unfortunately, nothing else works in the film. The story is bland from beginning to end. It’s Will Smith versus Will Smith, which is a promising premise, but after a few action sequences, the story becomes dull. The talents are all wasted. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, and Benedict Wong are all underutilized with nothing interesting to say or do.
It’s 2019, but it felt as if we were transported back to the early 2000s. The film was in development hell for nearly 20 years with several directors and actors attached. Perhaps Ang Lee and his team should have developed the story and characters and we could have seen a better film. Gemini Man is just shy of two hours, but you feel the clock slowly ticking.