<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>


Directed by Ang Lee. Starring Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong, Ralph Brown, Douglas Hodge

Running time: 2 hours


While I love the thought of having two Will Smith’s around to entertain me, having a digital de-aged Will Smith face – with no soul – killing like a zombie and then crying to his daddy for lying to him isn’t exactly my idea of a good time.

Henry Brogan (the real Will Smith) is a professional hit man for the US Government and he can take out a target with the precision of a guided missile. He is in fact, as one Russian character in the film says, a guided missile. The misguided government agency Gemini, headed by the bland Clay Verris (Clive Owen) decides to end Brogan’s life when he learns a disturbing secret that shakes his already uneasy conscience. So, he’s like, after 72 kills, he can’t look at himself in the mirror. Hmm… really? It took him 72 deaths to realise he had a conscience. He didn’t think perhaps after the 10thperson he killed that this was wrong or it weighed on him. Not after the 20th, the 30th, the 40th, the 50th, the 60th!


There is no build up to us wanting to care about Henry Brogan or for that matter his clone Junior (the younger, CGI version of him) who was raised by Verris as his adopted kid. Brogan won’t kill his doppelganger, and soon the two unite to face the bad guys in some terrible face off scenes. In fact, the high frame rate (120 fps) that this film has been shot in makes some of the scenes look tacky and weird (I didn’t watch it in 3D). Like a Spider-Man video game even.

Clive Owen is so drab as the bad guy and so incoherent at points (subtitles will be necessary) that you wonder what on earth he’s on about. His little speech at the end about emotionless super soldiers without families being a saviour comes far too late for us to care about his cause. Will Smith is his usual self, except a tad older. That devil-may-care attitude is gone though, and one would hope he’d use this new maturity for roles that aren’t so cliched and tired. The young CGI Junior is worthy of sympathy but his lifelessness at points is apparent. And why on earth is he crying so much when they said they were eliminating conscience in these clones?


The wit, soul, character, adrenalin-pumping action, hard-hitting dialogue and fun that movies like Enemy of the State, I, Robot, Independence Day and many more had, are just missing in these new movies. Bringing back Smith, or Harrison Ford or Tom Cruise (which is why I worry about the new Top Gun Maverick film) won’t help if the feel, the narrative, the truly human aspect of each character aren’t a focus.

Gemini Man uses bad CGI (the young Will Smith looks good, but there’s nothing behind those eyes) and a formula format without any charm or love of the genre.

PS: Yes, Will Smith did the motion capture for his younger CGI character. 

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