Gemini Man review
How many times have you told yourself, "I wish I could told my younger version about "blank""? There's something about either revisiting your youth or even somehow getting something to the past, like a warning that could have avoided before. The idea is nothing new to the world of cinema as stories about people getting to their younger selves have been done before. Star Trek has done thing, video games like Metal Gear did it, and there was even an interesting movie called Looper that dealt with an assassin confronting himself. A part of it is a part of an idea of "what if you could communicate with another you?".
The gimmick of Gemini Man is Will Smith going against a younger clone of him. To be fair, this isn't a bad idea, especially that Will Smith is one of the few actors whose managed to maintain his fame and popularity even after all these years. I've even joked that Smith seems like an immortal person, has his charisma and charm has remained as timeless as he was on Fresh Prince of Bel Air. It even had director Ang Lee taking a crack at the story and the complication of having a de-aged actor throughout the majority. Does Gemini Man work?
An aging assassin Henry Brogan (played by Will Smith) makes a successful kill before declaring his retirement. Like a lot of action movies, he expects retirement to stick, but already grows suspicious of a young woman working at the docks. This woman Dani (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) claims that she's a grad student, but he suspects her as a set spy for the CIA. At the same time, an old friend comes to tell him that the man he killed had been innocent. Henry seeks proof, but finds him home ambushed by other agents.
When he escapes with Dani to South America, he gets attacked again by an agent that seems to know all of his moves. He manages to get the would be attacker's motorcycle helmet off, revealing a face similar to his. Dani at first thinks that the other guy must be a son of Henry's, only to see through a DNA test that their identical; their the same man. It's revealed that the younger clone called Junior (also played by Will Smith) is the adopted son of Clay (played by Clive Owen) who runs Gemini, a black opts security company who've managed to make this human clone.
Gemini Man suffers from a major problem; it's boring. For a movie that has the charm of Will Smith and even an occasional exciting action scene, it's a movie that only seems to have a gimmick, but is unsure with what to do with it. I've heard that the script for this has been going around from studio to studio for thirty years and it shows. What it does have (retiring agent, an agency getting him back in, attackers at night, goofy sidekicks, etc…) all seem tired and dated.
Compare this to the more recent John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum which was light on story, but was still an entertaining movie. Unlike that one, Gemini Man happens to take too long to have the main character realize that he has a younger clone. Why? It was all over the trailers and advertising that this was going to be the full movie. In fact all this tactic does is slow everything way down for something the audience already knows. In fact, it's even frustrating that once things do come together and the characters figure things out, we have no idea what the endgame for the villain is. Is the clone for assassinations? Making their company bigger? Giving the villain more political power? None it of it ever answered.
Another problem is that the movie can be impressive…but only when it wants to be. The special effects to give us a younger Will Smith do look cool and does showcase what this can do for a lot of older actors. But the movie has a dreary look that looks more boring that anything. There's even a scene where an obvious day-for-night is used. That's a trick that only make it look lazy.
I'll give this one blood sample out of five. Gemini Man feels like a movie that was made by committee, but scraped for being too obvious and hidden for twenty years until someone at Paramount thought they could still make a buck out of this. This is another Will Smith misfire that I can put alongside Collateral Beauty and After Earth. Even a hundred Will Smiths couldn't have saved this boring trash.