When it comes to the action genre it’s hard to find films that step out into the field of innovation and try to bring something different to it. But Gemini Man is that different film, and acclaimed director Ang Lee shakes things up in this very entertaining blockbuster event movie that lets Will Smith go to work.
Henry Brogen (Will Smith), an aging assassin seeking to exit his career, finds himself going against a younger clone of himself, Junior, who can predict his every move. He must uncover the truth behind Junior’s creation and save his younger self from going down the same dark road he did–all while fighting against a system determined to retire him at all costs.
When it comes to filmmakers who are true masters of the craft they don’t get much bigger than Ang Lee. Never content to be pigeonholed as a director, Lee is unafraid to try his hand out at every type of genre imaginable and the result is always spectacular. Now in Gemini Man, Lee turns his attention towards the action genre and amps up the visual spectacle here with some incredible visuals and the most cutting edge use of CGI you’ll see all year. Innovation is really at the top of mind when it comes to Lee’s motivations here in Gemini Man and audiences will witness a director who truly pushes the craft forward and it makes the preceding moments that much more engaging and action-packed.
Blockbuster stars don’t shine much brighter than Will Smith who has proven again and again that he’s a box office titan who always gives 100% to every project while shaking things up in the process. He’s also an actor who’s not content, and this has led him in recent years to some very interesting roles up on the screen. In Gemini Man Smith extends himself as a performer with his roles as both Henry Brogan, an elite assassin and Junior, his much younger clone who is battling with his own issues. As Brogan, we see Smith as the old war-dog who is looking to settle down and get out of the mercenary life, as well as being a man who is aware of his age and the limits that time places on him. Smith brings a real soul to Brogan and its cool to see his intelligence and skills come out as a hero who has history on his side.
As Junior, Smith’s performance is one of big dramatics and while he’s great as Brogan he’s even better as Junior. Returning to his twenty-five-year-old self, Junior is a laboratory manufactured weapon, but who is far more human than any scientific experiment could ever be. Smith exhibits a broad range of emotions in bringing Junior to life and even though Junior might be a stunning construct of CGI created realism he’s an incredibly human character, and any time he appears on screen you’re certain to be sucked into the performance. Will Smith is one of Hollywood’s greatest entertainers and here he offers up two great performances in Gemini Man and fans will get a kick out of seeing him go head-to-head against himself.
Facing down Will Smith is Clive Owen who takes on the role of Clay Varris, a ruthless private military contractor and Brogan’s former mentor and it’s a great return to form for Owen who has been absent from the big screen for some time. As Varris, Owen is snarky and ruthless and has a sinister intelligence that he puts to good use here. He gets his chance to go head-to-head with Smith, and whether he’s dealing with Brogan or Junior he holds his ground and makes for a great foil for both characters. Owen pushes your buttons here as an audience member and I hope we get a lot more of him in larger tent pole pictures down the line cause man is he a talented performer.
If you’re seeking action that gets kicked into high gear then you’ll find it here in Gemini Man. Sticking to the principle of innovation, Ang Lee goes for it with Gemini Man and the resulting film is stacked with a volume of blockbuster moments. Taking his audiences to exotic locations such as Cartagena, Colombia and Budapest, Hungary, Lee fills up the screen with spectacle and there are some wickedly exciting moments. If I had to choose my favourite action pieces then the film’s epic motorcycle chase through the streets of Cartagena is pretty badass, and it gets even more intense as it turns into a battle of motorcycle close-quarter combat that takes your breath away. Then there’s also the intense hand-to-hand beat down between Brogan and Junior, which is filled with plenty of dope mixed martial arts takedowns and it amps you up.
In addition to pumping up Gemini Man’s action moments, Lee also captures his film with an incredible eye, which has long had a range for creating beautifully realized imagery. An array of gorgeous colours permeate themselves throughout Gemini Man and matched with the film’s locations and action elements, all of it makes for a different type of viewing experience. Lee’s style in Gemini Man recalls the pulse of 1990s action movies such as Face-Off and Broken Arrow with an added Tom Clancy-like edge, and I also felt that the director looked to classic thrillers like 1973’s The Day of the Jackal to pump up the visuals here. For those who like their action movies to pop, well, you’ll be in for a treat with Gemini Man.
For those wanting a good shot of action, with plenty of intelligent ideas then Gemini Man is an excellent film to check out. It will satisfy your adrenal buzz and features Will Smith at the top of his game. You won’t want to miss out on this one.
Image: Paramount Pictures