Gemini Man stumbles as its half-baked story and poor dialogue hinders solid performances and strong visuals.
Directed by Ang Lee and written by David Benioff, Billy Ray, and Darren Lemke, Gemini Man is a film that has been in development purgatory for decades. Multiple actors and directors were tapped for the project as the film bounced around different studios and productions. By the time, the film finally had its final lead man in Will Smith, the film was already a shell of what it could have been. Rounding out the cast is Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, and Benedict Wong.
Gemini Man follows a renowned hitman that has been working for the U.S. government for many years. Will Smith does the most he can with the script and carries much of the film on his back as he is chased around the world by a younger clone of himself. To say the overall plot is weak would be an understatement. Gemini Man does not know what it is trying to say or do most of the time. Partly being a John Wick impersonator, and equally trying to pull a Mission Impossible feel, Gemini Man feels stuck between genres and tones. Because of this, the dialogue and character interactions suffer most of all. Most characters feel extremely one dimensional, being forced to just talk exposition and leading the audience from scene to scene. By the time the film finally gets to the climax, it force feeds you the point it wants to make, without ever truly earning it.
If there is one thing Gemini Man does get right. It is the visuals. The film brought something new to the table as it was shot at 120 frames per second. Sadly, only a handful of theatres in the world are technologically capable of showing the film at that rate. Sadly, most audiences did not get to see Ang Lee’s vision for the film as intended. Still, even at a reduced framerate, the film has impressive visuals and effects. For those who were lucky enough to see the film in all its glory, they were treated to some strong action sequences and moments. The primary sell for the film was the concept of a younger and older version of the same actor interacting. Will Smith got to interact with his Fresh Prince of Bell-Air era self. At first, this seemed to be a pretty strong plot to run with. Having both versions of Smith talk, fight and interact made for the stronger moments of the film. While even these interactions would serve better when seen in its original 120 frame intention, the visuals do not decrease too much during these moments.
Gemini Man had the potential to be special. In a time where original blockbusters are few and far between, the film could have carved a place for itself. Despite Will Smith trying his best, the film’s script and the plot were too thin to give him anything concrete to work with. Overall, Gemini Man feels half-backed in its message, tone, dialogue, and plot, making it one of the weaker films of the year.