Sometimes, it’s good to take risks in your life and career. Although it features a plot that’s been done more than a few times, Gemini Man somewhat represents that for Will Smith. Sure, he’s done action movies, but I don’t recall him ever playing two roles in the same film. That’s mostly where the risks lie for him as he’s forced to play someone who’s different from the usual for him. I can respect that when looking at it from his position, but it doesn’t quite pay off like he wanted it to.
Will Smith stars as Henry Brogan, an elite assassin who’s looking at retiring from his violent profession. His desire to leave this life behind with the hopes of finding peace is understandable. However, he’s about to find out that walking away gracefully won’t be an easy thing to do. Instead of making his exit in a serene manner, he’s greeted with an attempt on his life as he’s suddenly targeted by a mysterious young operative who looks and moves exactly like him.
As you might expect, Will Smith is obviously asked to carry a significant portion of this movie on his back. He’s the only real name here and is also the lead. He’s also starring in more than one role, so that probably means he has more camera time than usual. However, before we truly focus on him, we’re going to look at some other aspects of the movie.
The first thing I’ll touch on is the action. A lot of what you get in Gemini Man is fine, but some of it simply isn’t. The main problem that I have with the action is that it tends to get a little quirky and jumpy at times. It mostly has these issues due to the obvious CGI. There are times when it’s acceptable, but there are other times where it’s clearly below average for today’s standards.
You’ll notice it in some of the movements of both the vehicles and the characters. When it comes across the screen, you’ll know because it looks painfully fake and is impossible to miss. Having to watch these effects may take viewers out of what’s going on. And this even occurs when they’re giving you something that might actually be well crafted otherwise.
Because of what the movie is, sometimes it’s easy to give these issues a bit of a pass. If you’re like me, you might be okay with some of this as long as it’s effective enough and gets the movie to where it needs to be. If you’re extremely meticulous about this sort of thing, it will be virtually impossible to overlook it. There are also those who simply want a good time. If you fall into that category, all of this may be easy to disregard because there is some value here.
The horrible CGI doesn’t just stop at the action though. It also pops up in the form of the de-aged version of Will Smith. At first, it’s just kind of weird, but as it moves along, it all gets progressively worse. While watching it all unfold before my eyes, there was a part of me wondering if they had to hire a new team midway through production.
I also wondered about the possibility of them maybe just running out of money in their budget. Either way, it ended up looking shockingly horrendous by the end. I’m usually not one to focus on CGI that much. To me, story and character (and the ability to entertain) are more important than just about anything else you can put on-screen. In fact, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed movies without excellent CGI in the past, but you can’t ignore it in Gemini Man.
As distracting as the CGI is in Gemini Man, the movie isn’t all bad as it actually reminds me of the types of action movies that used to get released back in the early 1990s. These movies weren’t great, but they did manage to amuse you in plenty of instances. To be specific, this movie mostly reminds me of some of those Jean Claude Van Damme movies. That’s actually one thing that helps it in my opinion.
Action movies released back then weren’t taken as seriously as they are now. For the most part, I see that as a positive change in the film industry, but there’s always room for action flicks that aren’t of the highest quality as well. I guess that’s why I can’t hate Gemini Man. I don’t think there are too many people who will watch this and tell you that it’s a fantastic picture, but you might be able to get some satisfaction out of it during certain points.
While the CGI damages Gemini Man, what undermines it the most is Will Smith himself. He’s always been a good actor to include in big-budget action movies, but he falters here whenever he’s on-screen as the younger operative trying to eliminate Henry Brogan. You can point to his line delivery or his facial expressions or even the use of the CGI, but regardless, he’s usually bad in this particular role.
As Brogan, the older assassin that he plays, Smith gives us the kind of solid performance that you may be hoping for. He accomplishes this by essentially playing the type of character we’re used to seeing from him. The only difference is that he’s not as comedic as usual. Some of that is definitely still here, but he’s a bit more serious and composed than we’re used to.
As I said, Gemini Man represents a bit of a risk for Will Smith. That’s something that he hasn’t really done much of throughout his career, so I can appreciate him trying something that’s somewhat new. Granted, he didn’t accomplish what he wanted mostly due to his poor performance as the younger assassin, but he tried, and that’s what matters sometimes.
As for the movie itself, I didn’t hate it completely, but it’s also not something I would suggest you spend your money on. Overall, Gemini Man is a weird movie that had the potential to be significantly better than it actually is. The positives are obvious, but the negatives stand out even more. If you’re going to see it sooner or later, I would recommend doing it at a later date when you can watch it at home.
Director: Ang Lee
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Film Length: 117 Minutes
Release Date: October 11th, 2019
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
- Score - 4/104/10