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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Dan's Review: "Gemini Man" Unable to Clone Cinematic Quality

Oct 10, 2019 06:41PM ● By Dan Metcalf

Will Smith in Gemini Man - © 2019 Paramount Pictures.

Gemini Man (Paramount)

Rated PG-13 for violence and action throughout, and brief strong language.

Starring Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong, Linda Emond, Theodora Miranne, Douglas Hodge, Ilia Volok, E.J. Bonilla, Björn Freiberg.

Written by David Benioff, Billy Ray, and Darren Lemke.

Directed by Ang Lee.



Poor Will Smith. That guy used to be such a huge star, but now he’s been relegated to pseudo-science action flicks, like this week’s release of Gemini Man.

It’s the story of Henry Brogan, a DIA (not CIA) agent/assassin who feels somewhat conflicted over his years of killing on behalf of the U.S. Government. After “one last” contract on an apparent bioterrorist, Henry moves to retirement, hoping to live out his days on the quiet coast of Georgia. When his old military pals start turning up dead, Henry realizes his own government is trying to tie up loose ends surrounding his last kill. The DIA sends “Danny” (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a spy to monitor him, but Henry catches on to her ruse rather quickly. When agents show up at his home to take him out, Henry realizes that Danny is also a loose end and he takes her along as he seeks refuge with another former U.S. Marine pal Baron (Benedict Wong), a talented pilot. The trio travels to a Colombia safe house but is soon pursued by a very talented and younger (cloned) version of Henry (also played by Smith, with the use of de-aging special effects). The younger clone is named “Junior” after being raised by Clay Varris (Clive Owen), a former U.S. operative who now operates a “bio-division” of the DIA where he uses cloning and genetic engineering to build “perfect” soldiers. Henry, Danny, and Baron eventually capture Junior in hope of convincing him that he’s being used by Varris via unethical means to pursue an evil plan for world domination. Junior escapes but is left to decide whether to stay with Varris or break away from the torment of being a trained killer (like Henry).

Gemini Man has a few moments of exciting action and interesting scenarios, but it relies mostly on junk science and highly coincidental escapes, while suffering from a lack of character development. There are a few chuckle-worthy lines of dialogue, but the premise might have played out a little better if not for the tedious, exposition-laden final confrontation between the main characters.

Will Smith still has the chops to be a serviceable action star, but this kind of material isn’t cutting it. I liked Winstead as his tough sidekick and Wong providing comic relief, but Clive Owen’s brooding rage was really annoying throughout most of the film.

The special effects, especially the de-aging process that made Smith look 25 years younger mostly worked throughout the movie, but fall apart in the epilogue, making the character seem like a painted-on cartoon.

Gemini Man isn’t all bad, but it isn’t that good, either. Let’s hope no one tries to clone it.

"Gemini Man" Trailer