Henry Brogan (Will Smith) is America’s greatest assassin, able to kill a man on a moving train from miles away. But he wants out; his kill count is taking a toll on his conscience and retirement is looking increasingly appealing. He escapes the system for all of five minutes before learning disturbing information which makes him a liability to his former employers. Taking out their newest and most lethal target requires a drastic new strategy; the only man that can eliminate Henry Brogan is himself? What ensues is a global chase that pits experience against the uninhibited determination of youth.
Will Smith versus Will Smith should be an unmissable cinematic event, but despite two worthy performances, even his calibre of acting struggles under the weight of a flimsy script. The supporting cast do their utmost to elevate the story, notably Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Benedict Wong, whose quality characters are eventually relegated to merely serve an overcooked plot, often providing gratuitous exposition. This problem is intensified with the generic nature of the villainous roles, inhabited by the likes of Clive Owen who’s considerable talent is vastly underutilised. The concept promises possibilities that are never truly realised; there is not much more to the plot than the trailer lets on.
Director Ang Lee’s ambitious vision becomes overburdened by gimmicks. The experimental 60 frame per second (fps) frame rate as apposed to the standard 24 fps creates a hyper-real experience, which may be bearable if not for the simultaneously nauseating effect of the excessive shaky-cam use. Adding to the disorientation, and for the sake of the impressive de-aging CGI used on Will Smith, most of the action scenes take place in extremely low lit conditions. This boarders on absurdity when during one of the action scenes a particular character’s sole purpose is to provide lighting.
While overused plot devices, and the aforementioned issues, make Gemini Man an underwhelming sci-fi thriller overall, stunning locations, vibrant visuals as well as some well crafted action will keep you mildly entertained. The Will Smith factor is enough to make the trip worthwhile, but not enough to raise the film to the hype that was generated for what should have been an indisputable hit.