‘Gemini Man’ Can’t Be Saved By Fancy Tech

Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein/Ben Rothstein - © 2019 Paramount Pictures.
Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein/Ben Rothstein – © 2019 Paramount Pictures.

Gemini Man has always been one of those movies this year that we knew was going to have problems. The plot seemed light and not thoroughly thought out. Reports about the filmmaking technology and speculation as to what it actually meant were leaking out. And what we saw visually in the trailer just didn’t sit right. This is a story that has been floating around since the 1990s, never able to fully gain momentum and having several directors and lead actors attached to it. Until now.

Gemini Man, the latest from Ang Lee (Life of Pi, Brokeback Mountain), stars Will Smith as Henry Brogan, a newly retired hitman who has become a target by his own government. The only problem is that he is the best at what he does and nobody can touch him. A classified operation goes into effect with the only person who can rival him. Himself.

It’s soon revealed, and as we see in the trailer, that Brogan has been cloned without his knowledge. This clone, named Junior, grew up learning to fight and kill. With Brogan out of the picture, Junior can take his place. The first part of the film is Brogan and Junior going head-to-head against each other, neither one quite being able to the best the other. After they start talking and putting the puzzle pieces together, however, their plans begin to shift.

The most notable element of this film is the technology being used. First and foremost, the CGI used to create Junior and make him look like a younger Will Smith is terrible. It looks like bad computer animation. It only appears remotely good in some of the darkest scenes, when you can’t see the character’s face.

After the CGI, the film was also shot in a high frame rate at 120 FPS (frames per second). This is five times faster than the standard 24 FPS for most movies. For many viewers, higher frame rates can make for a disconcerting and uncomfortable experience. Its use in Gemini Man has generated some positive buzz, however minimal, but it’s clear that this was more of a gimmick and experimentation. Ang Lee was playing around with the tech, and, unfortunately, this got in the way of fine-tuning the story. It doesn’t matter how good a movie looks if it can’t effectively tell a story.

Gemini Man is a half-written story with a script that doesn’t make a lot of sense. The problems within the plot are glaring. While Will Smith does fine on his own, it’s simply not enough for him to hold the rest of the film up. The sight of Junior is laughably bad, especially in the very last scene of the film, where any effort apparently went out the window.

There is no reason to watch this movie.

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