Ang Lee’s ambitious Gemini Man is a fantastic step forward in filmmaking technology, but it doesn’t manage to stick the landing, with an underwhelming script, ironically inconsistent visual effects, and a sloppy third-act.
That’s not to say the film isn’t enjoyable. The premise of Will Smith’s Henry Brogan being hunted by a younger clone of himself is a captivating hook, but the concept isn’t fully realised, as it doesn’t capitalise on either character’s past or future knowledge or weaknesses; while also throwing them into unexciting head-to-heads, barring one motorcycle chase sequence.
This extends to the cinematography also, where some shots are spectacular and in line with Ang Lee’s brilliant work in the past; juxtaposed with extremely dark, often convoluted action scenes where you can’t make out who’s who. The quality seems to vary so drastically from one moment to the next, that it’s hard to not wonder if there were some creative indecisions on how scenes would play out.
The third and final act featuring a climactic action sequence feels somewhat out of place and B-grade in comparison to the rest of the film. While the recreated, younger version of Smith’s character is jarringly uncanny to his Fresh Prince days, some other visual effects are unavoidably rubbery and unpolished. It’s unfortunate given that there’s a really good concept beneath the ham-fisted second-half.
It’s not all bad though – Smith does put in a great performance, and does a great job at channeling his mannerisms and speech patterns of his younger-self, while Mary Elizabeth Winstead delivers is an interesting supporting character to mix up the Smith-overdose. It’s hard not to like the ambitious nature of the movie, but the story itself plays it way too safe to do anything memorable.
Gemini Man hits cinemas on 11 October 2019.