Gemini Man movie review: Will Smith proves yet again why he's a fading movie star in a tepid Ang Lee action film
There is something to be said about Will Smith and his choice of films – every one of his projects seems to have an interesting idea, a seemingly high-concept treatment, a whole lot of footage of himself, but stunningly little amount of narrative intelligence. Gemini Man joins the long line of movies that seem to indicate that Smith is a fast fading star, not quite up to date with what audiences look for in movies.
If you have seen the trailers, you would be aware of the setup – Smith plays a super secret government assassin, who faces the threat of his lifetime when a younger clone of himself is out there trying to kill him. If that sounds like a movie that belongs in the '90s, it’s because it is – the screenplay has been floating around the corridors of Hollywood since then.
Unfortunately, the age of the story shows here, despite the direction of Ang Lee, and his flair for elevating mediocre material with his kinetic visual energy. In the last 30 years, we have already seen more than half a dozen movies about a protagonist with a younger clone, and every cliché you expect shows itself like a clumsy bull knocking over dishes in a China shop. The veneer of slickness the film employs only leads to unintentional hilarity. Smith tries his level best to add some seriousness but with lines like ‘they made a person from another person’, said with a ton of artificial grit, have all the sophisticated texture of a wet rag.
Then there is the issue of Lee’s application of high frame rates for filming – I do not think we are ready for a film that is not 24 FPS because Gemini Man, much like other films with HFR, looks like a muddy documentary instead of the cinematic renaissance it attempts to be. The action, while there is plenty of it, has an ugly smoothness to it that does not succeed in suspending your disbelief – at no point are you convinced there is a real world operating within the construct of the movie. It does seem like a theme park ride that rattles and shakes until it is over in a final belly flop. When a filmmaker like Lee cannot accomplish making High Frame Rates acceptable, it is simply time to accept that they sabotage the best interests of a film.
There is a simple unwritten rule about cinema – when you cannot make a smart movie, at least make a fun one. Gemini Man is neither, as it inelegantly rumbles along from one daft plot point to another. Smith has not appeared in anything worthwhile since I Am Legend back in 2007. These tired hero roles he specialises in are rapidly becoming unwatchable. Maybe, there will be a day when we see a movie about a character with agency in a story, and not about the big star persona of Smith himself, but today is not that day. Lee has no business being stuck in a hollow vanity project like this one, and neither does the audience.
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Updated Date: Oct 11, 2019 10:38:39 IST