Gemini Man is Oscar-winner Ang Lee’s (Brokeback Mountain, Life Of Pi) new film, and not only is it his first action thriller, but it is also his first film to be shot in high-resolution 3D plus (with a high frame rate of between 60 and 120 frames). This is a film that aims at offering audiences a new immersive experience.
In the plot of Gemini Man, a 51 year old, high ranking assassin Henry Brogan (Will Smith) considers retirement after he fails to execute a clean killing of a terrorist target on a silver bullet train (and was later informed that his target was innocent). An evil game of deception involving the sinister Clay Varris (Clive Owen) evolves, where the head of a top-secret ops unit (code-named Gemini) has secretly cloned a younger version of Brogan. Brogan thus starts on a mission across continents to track down his doppelganger (played by a computer enhanced much younger Will Smith – think the Leia Organa in Rogue One approach).
Will Smith is no stranger to the action film genre and, in an attempt to resolve his character’s identity issues, the story arc instigates personal sentiments that leads to cheesy one-liners that border on the ridiculous. His female offsider Danny (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is played with spunk and conviction, which triggers a dabbling love interest but resolves very early in the film the issue of reminding each other (and the audience) that operatives do not have normal lives.
Thrill seeking scenarios include an exciting motorcycle rundown with Brogan’s young self in Cartagena, Colombia. There are also nail-biting moments down in the catacombs in Budapest that remind the audience of Raiders Of the Lost Ark, and the Szechenyi Thermal Baths in Hungary is a gratuitous visual panorama that plays like a James Bond movie. Clearly this film draws on many great inspirations for its visual elements.
But not even exciting locations or Will Smith’s expertise can lift this lackluster film. Despite the startling new 3D plus film technology, Gemini Man is similar to an eighties tele-movie, caught between wobbly spatial dimensions and muted color saturation.