Gemini Man (2019) A Review

Will Smith is really beating himself up in this one.  OK, cheap joke let’s just carry on…



STARRING:  Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong

SCREENPLAY:  David Benioff and Billy Ray

GENRE:  Action/Sci Fi

RUNTIME:  117 mins

★★ 2.5 Stars  

Sadly, I went into this film not expecting a great deal.  I had seen all the chatter about how the CGI in the film was gorgeous, but the film itself was not that great,  And I also saw that Rotten Tomatoes had rated it at 28% (ouch).  So really my hopes were not high….And really that was…probably a good thing.

Gemini Man focuses on Henry, a middle aged assassin who has been on the US Governments payroll for the longest time and is the best in the world at what he does.  (Which is killing people if you hadn’t worked that out.)  But when he decides to retire, he finds out something about his government that make him a liability and an assassin is sent to kill him.  That assassin is a younger clone of himself.

Still with us? Good? OK then.  So lets start with the good stuff.  

Yes the CG in this film was ground breaking. For the majority of the time, the younger version of Will Smith truly did look like the real thing. Until the fighting happened, or the light hit him just a bit wrong, or anything happened with any kind of speed. Then this revolutionary technology just didn’t seem to be able to keep up and little discrepancies would happen in texture or colour that would give the game away.  Like when budget movies use a bad green screen and you can ALWAYS tell. And at the very end, at the university, it seemed like the CG just didn’t have the level of realism it had throughout the rest of the film.

The humour was excellent, even if times a little too much. Thanks in the most part to the superb comedic skills of Benedict Wong whose character was a much-needed injection of humour, in a film that otherwise lacked any believable emotion. (This being the downside of a film about emotionless assassins. It’s hard to empathise with characters that don’t feel anything)

It was a reliable Sci Fi flick.  You know what you are getting with these kinds of films and there is a certain degree of mindless entertainment in the action sequences and explosions, which are really the best parts of this film.  The action sets and fight scenes are wonderfully choreographed and filmed with a series of great shots which make them heart pounding to watch, but in this day and age, when action movies are a dime a dozen, you need to do something more than this to really stand out from the crowd.

The plot was…lets face it slow and empty.  Not a lot happens really, and the exciting stuff doesn’t really even get started for at least an hour in.  The pacing was definitely off for me.  And the resolution seemed to come too easily, with hard moral decisions being made in the blink of an eye.  It just cheapened the whole thing to make Henry’s redemption arc complete. His shady past, while alluded to a lot was never fully discussed or developed.  One or two proper flashback sequences to get the audience up to speed would have helped to make us understand him better.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead, while playing an interesting character and a powerful female one at that, feels underused.  A lot more could have been done to introduce that character, to give her a more fleshed out story/backstory.  As she was,  she could have been removed from the film and it would not have made that much difference. No character in a film should be thatreplaceable.

My biggest gripe of all however was that the trailer gave away the biggest plot device.  How much better would this film have been if we hadn’t have known that the assassin was a clone of Henry BEFOREgoing in.  It would have been a much more satisfying reveal in the film and great way to boost the action in the second act of the film. 

So in short, it was exactly what I expected it to be.  Just kind of OK.  A lot of things bugged me about it. But if you like films for explosions and action, then you won’t find this one lacking in that department.

What did you guys think of the film?  Did you think the technology involved lived up to the hype?


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