The Will Smith renaissance continues – with two Wills for the price of one movie ticket – in the technically ground-breaking, albeit old school actioner, Gemini Man.
Smith plays Henry Brogan, a professional assassin who, like most of his movie peers, wants to retire. After 72 kills, he’s feeling a bit messed up (as one would). His last job involves a hit on a supposed terrorist, who actually turns out to be a molecular biologist, inciting the wrath of Clay Verris (a snarling Clive Owen), head of the mysterious Genesis project.
Believing Brogan to be in possession of classified info, Verris wants him dead. But as he’s the best there is (able to kill a man on a moving train from 2km away), the only one capable of taking Brogan out is a younger clone of himself, who can anticipate his every move. Cue a globetrotting pursuit…
Who would have thunk that mega-action producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of the Caribbean) and Oscar-winning director Ang Lee (Life of Pi) would join forces on a Will Smith movie?! Gemini Man is a film Bruckheimer has been trying to get up and running since the ’90s, with the project passing through a revolving door of directors before finally landing with Lee, who was obviously eager to keep dabbling in the digital realm following Life of Pi and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk – the latter shot at 120fps in stereo 3D.
Lee utilises this unconventional shooting process once again on Gemini Man, with the added bonus of a fully mo-cap version of a twenty-something Smith – no mere digital de-aging process here. The illusion convinces when kept in the shadows, but prolonged scrutiny makes a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air revival risky.
Gemini Man delivers on a technical level and the 3D is incredibly immersive – the eventual 4K home release will be a stunner. And while the plot definitely feels like it’s been in storage since the ’90s, that won’t matter to audiences nostalgic for a bit of retro cloning around in the tradition of Arnie’s The 6th Day and Jet Li’s The One.
In cinemas: October 10, 2019
Starring: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen
Directed by: Ang Lee