Gemini Man

Critics Consensus

Gemini Man's impressive visuals are supported by some strong performances, but this sci-fi thriller is fatally undermined by a frustratingly subpar story.

26%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 288

83%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 8,687
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Movie Info

Gemini Man is an innovative action-thriller starring Will Smith as Henry Brogan, an elite assassin, who is suddenly targeted and pursued by a mysterious young operative that seemingly can predict his every move.

Cast

Will Smith
as Henry Brogan, Junior
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
as Danny Zakarewski
Clive Owen
as Clay Verris
Ralph Brown
as Del Patterson
Douglas Hodge
as Jack Willis

News & Interviews for Gemini Man

Critic Reviews for Gemini Man

All Critics (288) | Top Critics (43) | Fresh (75) | Rotten (213)

  • Like an assault on your eyeballs. Maybe you get used to it, but you shouldn't... Some of the action is fun, but it's really hard to get past the look of it.

    Oct 21, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Roll up. Roll up. See it now. See it once. And never see it again.

    Oct 15, 2019 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Obviously, the dire dialogue doesn't help, but what blunts Smith's performance and makes the film itself hell to watch is the innovative, ultra-high-frame-rate which renders actors, objects and even the air somehow flimsy and weird and fake.

    Oct 13, 2019 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • The same High Frame Rate that make the actors look like they're on Days of Our Lives makes the colors absolutely pop. And those textures on the skulls in the underground ossuary fight scene! It's cooler than the action, anyway.

    Oct 11, 2019 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • Gemini Man is a uniquely visually thrilling film backed by Lee's undeniable commitment and ambition.

    Oct 11, 2019 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • No matter how many (presumably non-computer-generated) tears Smith sheds, he and Lee never transform this baby hit man into a plausible science-fiction conceit, let alone invest him with a soul.

    Oct 11, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Gemini Man

  • Oct 12, 2019
    Gemini Man is one of those scripts that has been kicked around for decades in Hollywood. At one point Clint Eastwood was attached to be the old and young versions of an elite hitman, which goes to show you how long it's been in development hell. Part of this delay was getting the technology to a point that it could effectively achieve de-aging an A-list actor, but here's a thought I'm going to offer for free, as I usually do – why not try makeup? Surely you can find another actor who looks close to your lead and can have practical makeup applied? Or why not have that same actor's own son play the younger version of him? Or, and here's an even more daring idea, why not just have a different actor, period? If the premise is a younger clone, who's to say why that younger clone would appear exactly like an exact representation of the older version. What if younger clone had an accident? Anyway, nobody listened to me and Gemini Man waited and waited, finally landing Will Smith playing two versions of himself thanks to CGI magic. Is the finished film worth the decades of toil and waiting to finally make this vision come alive? Henry Brogan (Smith) is an elite hired assassin for the government and on the verge of retirement. His handlers (Clive Owen) have misgivings about tying up loose ends and send an assassin to take out Brogan. It just happens to be –wait for it– a clone of himself at 25! Now Brogan must team up with a pair of underwritten government agents (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Benedict Wong) to battle his younger self once and for all. This movie feels like a dozen screenplays stitched together with every other third scene missing. You can feel the full, tortured, decades-long development process and how it has become an impenetrable force that weighs down the eventual movie and squanders whatever potential its premise could have provided. There is a movie here, that's for sure. An older hitman confronting a clone of his younger self could make for an excellent personal reckoning as well as present a unique situation where the mature man is trying to outsmart the younger, stronger version of himself. Gemini Man doesn't seem to know what to do with this concept at all. Why not have the clone of Henry Brogan (I hate this name) respond differently than the old man expects? Because while he's made of the same genetic material, this younger version doesn't have the same formative experiences and could have a very different psychology than older Henry, never mind the fact that older Henry has an additional 20-30 years of experiences to make him who he is. That alone could tackle the nature vs. nurture argument in a way that could still be entertaining and surprising. Or the movie could embrace the killing machine nature it veers to later, where our villain talks about selective editing to eliminate pesky things like morality and the ability to feel pain from his highly suggestible super soldiers. If this is even in question, why are we even dealing with clones who might rebel against their requested missions? If you can specifically select DNA abilities, then why is one man's genetic code even that necessary? Why not make a super soldier that's part raptor? I've never seen a movie before where that went wrong. I don't even know why we need clone killers in the age of inexpensive drones. The easiest thing the movie could have done is treat the younger clone as a metaphor for his troubled past he needs to confront. Early into the film, Henry talks about his distaste for seeing his reflection because, you see in a very subtle gesture, he doesn't want to see the Man He Has Become. Yet, if this were the case, I feel like the movie needed to do a lot more legwork to establish how haunted he has become. He feels like a standard, charming Will Smith hero and less a man tearing up hotel rooms because of his nightmares and more the kind of guy hanging out with shady rich dudes on yachts. The movie even messes up the easiest angle to take, the bad man confronting the literal representation of his bad past and trying to come to terms with his legacy. Gemini Man pays some lip service to this notion but it's so poorly executed. There's an almost laughable moment where Henry unloads like a two-minute monologue explaining who his clone is, you know, on the inside, that goes uninterrupted. The movie attaches a strangely paternal father/son relationship for Henry and the clone, where he's trying to get the young man to sit up straight and fly right in the world of hired killing. It makes for some truly awkward scenes where the two men act like they have a more potent relationship than they should. Just because the older Henry is technically his dad doesn't mean the clone should feel any sense of fidelity to the old man. Think back on 2012's Looper. Those weren't even clones but the past selves murdering their older selves. If you're being hired to kill, I don't think an absentee "father" is going to be the one to break through to your underdeveloped moral code. Somebody had to direct this movie but did it have to be Ang Lee? The man has given us some of the most intimate, impressive, and ground-breaking cinema of the last decade, from Crouching Tiger to Brokeback Mountain to Life of Pi. This feels like it could have been directed by anyone, except for a few quirks that seem entirely Lee's. Much like Lee's last movie, 2016's gone-in-a-flash war drama Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, he filmed this movie at 120 frames per second (industry standard is 24 frames per second). When Peter Jackson released the first Hobbit films, there was a special presentation of them at 48 frames per second, and there were positives and negatives but it never caught on with the public, which is why the last Hobbit movie didn't even come with the option of the higher frame rate shows. The extra frames take away that dreamlike fluidity we're accustomed to but do wonders for the immersive nature of the presentation, and I found myself enjoying The Hobbit at 48 frames, even if everyone acted overly caffeinated. When Billy Lynn was coming out, there was only a small handful of theaters even capable of presenting it at the intended 120 frames, which begs the question I have with Gemini Man as well, namely what is the point? What is the point of filming a movie at a frame rate that nobody will ever see? That's like filming a movie in sepia but it only works if people squint and a super projector plays it onto a special screen. Why bother at that rate? Is this for posterity, and Lee's sitting back like, "Oh, when we finally get those 120-frame rate super TVs around 2030, you better believe the first movies everybody is gonna buy will be Billy Lynn and Gemini Man." The higher frame rate feels like the gimmick Lee needed to get out of bed. For the record, the movie does look brighter than I think it normally would but I didn't find the visuals to be any more immersive. There is a slight smoothing to the depth of field but this can also play havoc during the action sequences with old and young Henry. Their movements can go by really quickly but in an awkward unreality, like early 2000s where CGI people would slide into action sequences to mixed results (see: The Matrix sequels with the CGI person brawls). The de-aging special effects are the highlight of the movie. The young Will Smith looks remarkably like the 90s super star we remember. Even more impressive is the level of nuance that the animators, and Smith, are able to imbue in his performance. There's a real subtlety to the eyes that makes the figure feel startlingly real at times. The effects don't always work well under all circumstances but it's a worthy technological advance for an eerie process. Even the action feels recycled from a dozen other, better movies. I wish there was more to keep my attention in Gemini Man like some solid action set pieces, but the final product just sort of goes through the motions in every sense. There is one sequence that might prove memorable for its action but it might be for the wrong reasons. A motorcycle chase starts out partially exciting in Columbia as younger Henry zooms after older Henry. There's even a fun shot that follows the movement of the bike from a fixed perspective, though this moment was wildly oversold to me in other film reviews (it lasts a total of 20 seconds, people). Later, older Henry is knocked off his bike and the younger clone tries to fight him... with his own motorcycle. Like he tries to sweep the leg with the bike, seemingly kick and punch him with the vehicle, and it's so weird and specific that I started to chuckle and wonder if the clone was just very particular about his gamesmanship or was just fooling around. Other than that tiny morsel, it's two hours of rather boring fist fights and gun battles without any real thought given to mini-goals, organic complications, geography, or other essentials that provide the lifeblood of viable action movies. What does Gemini Man have to offer the discerning moviegoer? Not much. It's built on the parts of other movies, Will Smith's past and present charisma, and the idiosyncratic interests of a talented director who definitely seems to be slumming it with this generic, predictable material. I still want to emphasize that the premise could afford a really exciting, contemplative, and engaging action movie, but it needed better writing, better direction, better action, better characters, old and new, and better, well everything now that I think about it. If you're a gigantic Will Smith fan you might get a kick out of seeing two Big Willie Styles on screen (or more?) as a novelty. The final film just feels so lifelessly inert, bled of anything interesting beyond its core premise. And yet, dear reader, the people sitting in my row clapped when it was over, and no, it was not some rebellious ironic act. Maybe you can find enough to enjoy with Gemini Man if you set your expectations extremely low, but then maybe you and I deserve better movies than this. Nate's Grade: D+
    Nate Z Super Reviewer
  • Oct 11, 2019
    I will always admire films that take chances or try to push the boundaries of cinema. Whether or not you enjoyed Avatar or not, it's without question that it was an exceptional achievement, visually. More recently, movies like Gravity or Life of Pi have also pushed the boundaries of the technical side of filmmaking and both accomplished wonders. Director Ang Lee, who also directed Life of Pi, is at the helm here for Gemini Man, and while it may look fantastic in terms of cinematography, this movie is a misfire. Here's why I believe Gemini Man isn't worth your time.  Following a hitman in Henry Brogan (Will Smith) as he's on the verge of retirement, this film kicks into gear when he discovers that a younger version of himself was cloned and sent to kill him. That's pretty much the premise of the movie, so if you were hoping to dive deeper than that, then you're going to be disappointed. Honestly, if you've seen the trailer for this movie, you've seen all the major story beats it hits. Gemini Man does nothing to wow or surprises its audience, which is a surprise in itself, given the director at hand.  From Brokeback Mountain to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Ang Lee has directed a few of the most celebrated movies over the last 20 years. I haven't seen the majority of his filmography, but of the films I have seen, this is easily his weakest effort yet. Not to say he wasn't trying, because the effort is clearly on display, but it just doesn't work overall. The most notable aspect of this movie is the cinematography by Dion Beebe. This man has been in the business for over 27 years and his talents have yet to waiver. From the very opening shot, my eyes were glued to the screen. Sadly, the pacing and overall story ended up taking away from this, and not very subtly either.  Now for the most distracting and frustrating portion of the movie. The premise and the way it's executed are already off-putting enough, but the big selling point about this film is the fact that Will Smith gives two separate performances, both as himself and a younger version. He actually gives a far better performance than this film deserves, but even I (who is usually fairly forgiving about things like this) have to admit that the facial work on his younger version stood out like a sore thumb. Even down to the hand-to-hand combat scenes. It was clear that the person he was fighting had CGI work done to him. This idea is neat in concept, but it really didn't work here. In the end, Gemini Man surely started as a concept that had director Ang Lee very eager to bring to life, and although his vision and Beebe's framing truly do stand out as positives, this is a film that had too many conflicted writers working on it, and it shows big time. Smith puts his all into this performance and his back and forth with Mary Elizabeth Winstead was even nice at times, but this movie extraordinarily suffers from a bad screenplay and distracting visuals. I really wanted to like this movie and even chose to ignore the audience and critic reactions, but I'm with the majority on this one. It's quite a bad film as a final product.
    KJ P Super Reviewer

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