Will Smith plays dual roles as both a veteran assassin and his younger clone in director Ang Lee’s effects-heavy thriller.
Will Smith co-stars opposite himself in Gemini Man, a rare detour into action thriller terrain from Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi director Ang Lee. Playing an elite hit man drawn into a deadly showdown with his younger clone, this effects-heavy 3D spectacular features both Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital and Hollywood sci-fi legend Douglas Trumbull in its vast creative credits pool. But the disappointing end result feels less than the sum of the talents involved, a weak script and thin high-concept plot only just held together by smart visual wizardry.
Languishing in development since the late 1990s, Gemini Man began life as a Disney property with the late Tony Scott initially set to direct. Various big stars were attached over the years including Harrison Ford, Clint Eastwood and Sean Connery. Now, after multiple rewrites and technical setbacks, the project finally comes to fruition as a vehicle for Smith to try and reboot his faltering action superstar status.
Was it worth dusting off this clunky pre-millennial screenplay? Frankly, not really. Gemini Man is arguably a significant leap forward for visual effects but a backward step for gripping, sophisticated thrillers. Despite a few deftly handled set-piece action sequences, the formulaic screenplay, stock characters, leaden dialogue and wobbly accents feel gratingly amateurish in places. The thin premise, about a secret program of rogue government assassins, also feels thuddingly familiar in a world where Jason Bourne, John Wick and Villanelle in Killing Eve are all mainstream anti-heroes. See the rest at THR.