Nerdlocker Movie Review: Gemini Man


Gemini Man feels a bit like the concept of cloning a famous actor was conceived and then out of necessity they pieced together some semblance of a story. The story unfortunately is one we’ve seen, heard, smelled, farted, and experienced time and time again. A story I might add that has never made sense to me – a secret agency breeds the greatest assassin the world has ever seen and then for whatever reason that same agency decides the assassin has to die. You decide the greatest assassin ever needs to be killed?! Really? Not even the second best, no the best. And then the evil agency acts surprised when it’s really difficult to kill their former best liquidator. Maybe you shouldn’t have tried to set up THE BEST ASSASSIN IN THE WORLD! Just a thought. But anyway, Gemini Man is empty headed, improbable from start to finish but regardless of its many shortcomings it still manages to be a good bit of fun. This isn’t a thinking man’s cinematic night out, this is a laid back date night, easily digestible actioner starring the Fresh Prince. And boy does his world get flipped turned upside down.

A seasoned hitman announces his retirement to the agency he works for hoping for peace to take over from the never ending body count he continues to accumulate. The ghosts of his past are beginning to haunt him at every turn leading him to try a life of quietude instead. Of course loose ends must be tied and who better to take out the best than himself? It isn’t long into this spy adventure that Smith’s character learns of the agency’s betrayal in ways previously thought impossible to him. As he faces a new breed of assassin he begins to notice something all too familiar about his hunter.

There is a scene in this film where the older version of Smith is pleading with his clone to think for himself, to no longer go blindly into danger out of some desire to please those who truly have no care for his well being. The clone has never known anything beyond the world of government sanctioned murder and the original Smith is trying to let him know there is more to this world. A very similar scene happens in The Bourne Ultimatum. Bourne is facing a younger assassin and says to him, “Look at what they make you give.” This is happening as an old gas bag pursues Bourne trying to kill him thus tying up loose ends. In Gemini Man Clive Owen is that old bag. Like I said before you’ve seen this movie. But it’s two Will Smiths for the price of one so we should all be excited I guess.

The entire allure behind the film lies simply with Will Smith facing off against his younger self. They try to touch on living with past mistakes and righting wrongs where you can. They touch on the subject of PTSD as old Smith struggles with nightmares but it never really amounts to anything beyond him telling others that he suffers from nightmares. He’s still extremely fast, self-assured, his skills still highly honed and manages to kill off everyone sent after him. He shows no signs of being a human and yet the entire premise is about losing one’s humanity to brutes with evil intent. He doesn’t want to lose what is left of himself but everything about him suggests he’s something far superior to mankind anyway.

What works here is mostly Smith being his usual charismatic self. I like him as an actor so I’m naturally inclined to be in his corner from the beginning. He does his best with a predictable storyline and lackluster story progression. His supporting cast is passable as cardboard cutouts of character archetypes prominent in any run-of-the-mill spy thriller such as this. The action, particularly the hand-to-hand combat is a definite highlight if not to some degree hindered by occasional shotty camera work making things blur together into indiscernible shapes. When it is in focus though it’s visually stimulating.

Gemini Man works if you like Will Smith. The story surrounding the beautiful computer generated imagery is a dime a dozen and offers little beyond a vehicle to get from point a to b. It’s the kind of movie to take in and forget about ten minutes after the credits have rolled. If you expected more then I don’t know exactly what you saw in the trailers to suggest something better. It’s fine, it functions when it needs to and it gives Smith a place to be his likeable Will Smith self.

Rated PG-13 For: violence and action throughout, and brief strong language
Runtime: 117 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
Starring: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong
Directed By: Ang Lee

Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 2/ Acting: 3.5/ Directing: 3.5/ Visuals: 4
OVERALL: 3 Nerdskulls

Buy to Own: I can take it or leave it.

Check out the trailer below:

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Chase Gifford

"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world"-Jean-Luc Godard