Verdict: Will Smith doubles down on his performance that comes through with well-executed CGI.
Director Ang Lee can be considered a visionary in his style of filmmaking, having worked on films like Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi. Now teaming up with the legendary Will Smith, he has set out to put the actor in a double role, facing off against himself. He takes Hollywood’s recent technological novelty of de-aging software and makes it the focus of his latest film Gemini Man.
What’s Gemini Man About:
Henry Brogan (Will Smith) is an experienced and accurate sniper who works for the United States’ DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency). With over a dozen kills under his belt, he decides to retire and soon finds out that it won’t come easy. Henry comes across some information that he shouldn’t know and his former boss Clay Verris (Clive Owen) then sends his finest fighter to take him down. As the two assassins fight it out, they realize that the other can seemingly predict their every move. That’s when Henry finds out that the assassin Clay sent for him is actually his own clone, only 25-year-younger. Joined by another agent (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), he must win the fight against none other than himself.
Gemini Man mainly wins in two aspects – Will Smith’s fine performance and director Ang Lee’s ability to make it shine despite the elaborate use of technologically enhanced visuals. With his previous film Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Lee chose to shoot at 120 frames per second (compared to the traditional 24 FPS) which he replicates in this film. The result of this multiplied frame rate is action sequences that are smoother, sharp and more agile, reminiscent of first-person video games. One especially memorable sequence is a visceral motorcycle chase on the streets of Colombia where Lee puts you smack dab in the middle of the fight. That scene brings us to the reality of what makes Gemini Man worth the watch. The idea of engaging in a face-to-face battle with your own younger self is intriguing enough and, when the Fresh-Prince-turned-Hollywood-icon is put in that position, it is understandably entertaining.
What Could’ve Been Better:
The film’s plot, unlike the visuals, tends to be pretty one-dimensional. It doesn’t lend itself to too much suspense or big reveals and surprises but is thrilling enough to give context to what we’re really watching the film for – Will Smith in a face-off with his own younger self.
Why You Should Watch:
Gemini Man introduces us to the novel concept of Will Smith putting on two similar yet warring faces in a fight against each other. Paired with Ang Lee’s crisp visuals, it makes for an amusing watch.