‘Gemini Man’ starring Will Smith is an astounding technical achievement with a truly terrible story

‘Gemini Man.’ Paramount
  • “Gemini Man,” starring Will Smith as a hitman on the run from his younger self, has a story that comes nowhere close its technical achievement.
  • Director Ang Lee shot the movie at 120 frames per second, which delivers the sharpest picture I’ve ever seen in a movie theatre.
  • But the story is dull and unoriginal.
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The most frustrating thing about watching “Gemini Man” (in theatres Friday) is all the pieces are there for it to be a special film.

You have the blockbuster star in Will Smith, some really impressive action sequences, and director Ang Lee going all-in once more with shooting a movie at 120 frames per second. All those things should equal that “experience” audiences crave at the movie theatre. Sadly it’s missing the most important component: a good story.

Maybe it’s because the project has been in development for close to 20 years by countless directors, stars, and studios (it was eventually produced by Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Skydance Media with Paramount releasing it), but there is nothing of substance in “Gemini Man.”

Will Smith plays Henry Brogan, an ageing assassin for the government who is smart enough to realise while on his latest hit that he’s losing a step and decides to retire. However, that’s not so easy. After finding out that his last hit was on someone who did nothing wrong, Henry tries to figure out why he’s been misled (and if it has happened more than once). That leads to Henry becoming a target. And the assassin out to get him is … himself.

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A black ops unit known as Gemini cloned Henry years ago and a younger version of himself has been raised by the company’s director Clayton Varris (Clive Owen) to become the ultimate soldier.

It’s compelling on paper, but the execution of the story is downright abysmal. All of Smith’s abilities to be the superstar are tested by a horrific script (some of the dialogue is so bad you can’t help but laugh out loud) and puzzling direction by Lee (for some reason he fell in love with the tight shot on this movie). Lee going with POV-heavy bike chases in the movie is a real highlight, however.

The movie does have its strengths.

The crisp 120 fps photography (which Lee did for the movie “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk”) and the fact that it was shot for 3D gives the movie a super crisp look that’s the sharpest picture I’ve ever seen in a theatre. From the first frame, I was completely in awe. For some it might be a little too sharp, but I have no complaints.

And the visual effects to have old and young Will Smith face off are also flawless. Done by Weta Digital (behind “The Lord of the Rings” movies), it’s an incredible achievement that is one of the few things I can say the movie does right.

So even though the story is a complete bore, it’s hard to stop you from going to see this movie. But find a theatre that has a projector that will show it at 120 fps and in 3D. You will not be satisfied by what you watch, but I assure you it will look beautiful.

The business details:

  • In theatres October 11.
  • 117-minute running time.
  • Shot in Glennville, Georgia; Cartagena, Colombia; and Budapest, Hungary.
  • $US138 million budget.