Gemini Man

  • 19 Oct - 25 Oct, 2019
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

Technical wizardry provides the centerpiece of Gemini Man, a movie whose most kinetic moments approximate a first-person videogame, while giving Will Smith the opportunity to battle himself. Those flourishes, however, come at the expense of story, yielding a movie that emphasises its experiential and 3D qualities but lacks depth on every other front.

Conceptually, Gemini Man is basically just another variation on the Jason Bourne formula, casting Smith as Henry Brogan, a government operative/assassin who – after dozens of missions and assignments – decides to hang up his guns.

Alas, Henry inadvertently becomes privy to some information he shouldn't know, putting him in the crosshairs of his one-time handlers, under the stewardship of the ruthless Clay Verris (Clive Owen). His secretive Gemini project will eventually be employed to neutralise Henry, who is forced to go on the run with allies played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Benedict Wong.

Verris boasts that he has "the perfect asset" for the job, which is, of course, a younger version of Henry. While the process has improved from, say, Tron: Legacy days, there's still a slightly distracting aspect to the rendering that makes this prince look not so fresh, but rather sporadically vacant.

Like the Bourne franchise, there's a fair amount of globetrotting and an emphasis on visceral action. That includes, at its best, a motorcycle chase and fight, which frequently puts the audience squarely in the midst of the encounter.

There is, obviously, an established genre of check-your-brain-at-the-door action movies – one with which the film's producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, is well acquainted – as well as an ongoing process of exploring ways to create movie-going experiences capable of jogging audiences out of their complacency about waiting to watch films on TV.

Gemini Man succeeds mildly on that latter score, but has seemingly embraced those qualities while giving short shrift to more conventional ones. In that regard, a movie distinguished by its 3D and FPS format is, otherwise, pretty one-dimensional.