Ang Lee brings us the next step in de-aging technology through Gemini Man, but does the rest of the film reach that high bar?
As filmmaking technology advances, the ability to re-create actors and de-age them crawls further and further out of the uncanny valley and into a more believable reality.
While the technology itself is breaking barriers and bringing us closer to a completely digital form of filmmaking, it’s being used to mask over lazy screenwriting.
Gemini Man opens with a prologue that serves well to set up our main character, Henry Brogan (Will Smith), as the trained killer that he is. The movie then continues to try and build on this world where Brogan is a renowned soldier and how he’s gone through all of these events that led to him being as good as he is, yet it fails to resonate with the audience because it’s all talk and never seen.
The story is nothing new. At all. It’s your typical sci-fi, military story that has a corrupt military bad guy who claims to be in service of the United States and their beliefs of freedom in the most backwards way.
There’s very little suspense or surprise in the story as everything they try to spring on you can all be seen coming from a mile away, and it’s made even worse by the fact that the biggest twist in the movie is given away from the marketing.
What does keep the movie engaging in some capacity, however, are the performances. Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Benedict Wong are all very enjoyable to watch. This is a movie that Smith could have very easily phoned in for the sake of a paycheque, but he does bring some emotional weight to the role – I’d even go so far to say that he does better in this movie than as Deadshot in Suicide Squad.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Benedict Wong play Danny and Baron, respectively, and are able to riff off of Smith effortlessly and it makes the interactions between the three characters very enjoyable.
Lorne Balfe composed the score for the film, and it’s incredibly forgettable or completely unnoticeable, which is disappointing because I found his score to Mission: Impossible – Fallout absolutely incredible, so it’s a step down for him.
Ang Lee manages to make the movie look nice despite the lacklustre script. I saw the film in 3D/HFR (high frame rate). If you’re unfamiliar with HFR, it means the movie is shown in 48fps which gives it a ‘sped up’ look. I don’t think it added much to anything outside of a select few action scenes which I find disappointing as I greatly enjoyed HFR when I saw it used on The Hobbit trilogy in theatres.
In the end – Gemini Man is a very “middle-of-the-road” movie. It’s not the worst movie in the world, but there are far better movies you can see in theatres this weekend. Good performances and an interesting look at the advancement of technology don’t make up for a boring and over-used story that doesn’t try anything new.