April 24, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Geek Review: Gemini Man

An experienced killer faces his ultimate challenge: a younger clone of himself.

Director Ang Lee’s movies often depict emotionally closed-off people and their problems.  Actor Will Smith often goes for movies that showcase his swagger and cinematic bravado.  Since those two seem to be diametrically opposed, what will take precedence in the new sci-fi action thriller Gemini Man?

Would you believe neither?

Smith stars as both Henry Brogan, a 51 year old assassin and sniper for the U.S. government.  He also stars as Brogan’s twentysomething year old clone Junior.  Henry learns a little too much about something, so his one time commanding officer Clayton Varris sends Junior to kill Henry.  Varris raised Junior as his own son, and one of the more clever things the movie does is show how immature Junior might be.  His eating habits seem to include bowls of cereal and ice cream.

So, who will win out in a battle like this: youth or experience?  That’s the whole point of Junior’s existence.  He’s got Henry’s gifts but none of his guilt or conscience.  Or does he?

So, was the movie more about Smith’s swagger or Lee’s repression?  The answer is, well, neither.  Smith does on occasion play other characters types and even gets the occasional Oscar nomination for it.  But neither Henry nor Junior possess the characteristic Smith swagger.  He seems subdued for most of the movie, and that doesn’t really work for him.  As for Lee, and I say this as someone who kinda liked his Hulk movie, he is just a poor fit for this movie.  There’s some beautiful shot composition here, and a running motif of reflections throughout the movie, often in water.  But the script has typical action movie one-liners that, given the deadly seriousness of much of the line delivery, just don’t work.

A movie like Gemini Man would probably work better with Smith doing his usual act or a director who recognizes the pulp craziness of the movie.  There are some pretty good action sequences here, particularly a motorcycle chase that occurs when Junior and Henry square off for the first time, but it just feels boring.

I will say this:  I opted to see this one in IMAX, and Lee’s excellent shot composition really shone there.  Much of the movie takes place in Budapest, and I really want to see that city right now.  It’s downright gorgeous in this movie.

You know, when a movie gets more praise from me for its real world settings than for the story itself, that’s not a good sign.  6.5 out of `10 unsurprising surprises.