Gemini Man

At the Movies Blog

I turned 50 over the weekend, and so I chuckled when Will Smith’s character was retiring at the age of 50 (or, “51” as his buddy points out, ribbing him playfully). And why would he retire? The first of many cliches. A hit gone wrong. No, he didn’t take out the innocent 6-year-old girl standing next to the mark, but he almost did. That was enough to rattle him, and enough to show the audience — oh, how sweet. He’s a hit man with a heart.

So it’s off to fishing in Georgia (where so many movies are filmed these days to save money), and enjoying the retired life. Now, this movie has so many cliches, you’d think when his boss shows up it would be to ask him to do that “one last job.”

Since we know from the commercials that his character has been cloned and the younger one is going to kill him — we think DNA is being taken off that beer he’s gulping. I also thought of the same problem I had with Looper. Why was Joseph Gordon-Levitt the one that had to kill (or “close the loop”) his older self? 

[side note: While reviewing this movie on KOGO 600 AM, I also noted it was similar to “Looker” (James Coburn, Albert Finney), in which Supermodels were killed, because they could just be used/created digitally, which saved money. That’s what happened in real life with this movie, as the younger Will Smith is entirely CGI]

The logic of what they did wasn’t that horribly bad. It was the script and bad special effects.

It’s strange because, I’ve now seen Clive Owen (who it was nice to see again on screen) on two different interviews, talking about how they’ve wanted to make this movie for over a decade but the technology wasn’t there. Something I heard James Cameron say when I was at a party at his house two weeks before Avatar came out (I apologize for that name drop). Yet if this is the movie they gave us, they probably should’ve let it sit on the shelf another 10 years; or have a screenwriter do something with the utterly horrid dialogue.

Director Ang Lee (Hulk, Life of Pi, Sense and Sensibility, Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger) shot the film in 4K digital 3D at 120 frames per second (most movies are 24 frames per second). Yet reports are now, most theatres won’t be able to show it that way. I’m guessing it wasn’t at the Edwards in Mira Mesa where the screening took place. Yet I’ve always been someone that, no matter how good the stunts and effects are, I want a decent story. This wasn’t.

A few of the stunts were fun. I was on the edge of my seat during the motorcycle chase.

The government is running a division called Gemini, run by Clay Verris (Clive Owen). You know he’s evil, because he has an accent. He realizes he can use DNA to make the ultimate soldiers/assassins, without the emotional baggage humans have. Good plan. I just don’t know why that means they have to take out Brogan (Will Smith). Just let him retire and enjoy his pre-golden years fishing, while other versions of him are off killing people in Yemen or wherever.

Brogan flirts with the new woman working at the pier named Dannie (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and of course, she ends up on the run with him. A fight scene she is involved in worked surprisingly well.

The picturesque locals of Cartagena made the scenes a bit more fun when the two Brogans go after each other. They also end up in Budapest because…when don’t they end up in Budapest in films like this?

It was nice that they made the younger soldier vulnerable, and that enabled the older hitman to have the upper hand. Yet there wasn’t enough that worked in this story. Especially when everything looked so artificial and…just when I’m enjoying elements of the younger assassin (and you can guess where it’s going to go with that character), in comes a Terminator-like assassin that can’t be stopped. Sigh.

There was also an annoying, and manipulative score to go along with all this.

Oh, Brogan is also allergic to bee venom, just like his Hitch character. Yet who cares if you’re thinking of other Will Smith things. When a movie has top agents saying things like “Clean up your mess” or “We have a team of agents on their way”…you just give up.

It was cool that Smith was representing Philly, with his Phillies cap. It’s just a shame that when the younger version of himself showed up we didn’t see DJ Jazzy Jeff.

Critics just don’t understand.

2 stars out of 5.


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