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Gemini Man makes leap to big screen, gets a solid B
Justin Hall at the movies
Gemini Man

Gemini Man is a movie that has been lingering in development hell for years and now it finally leaps to the big screen. A big reason why is because the filmmakers were waiting for the technology to catch up to the vision.

On the whole, the effects are oftentimes impressive, but the story is a mixed bag, ultimately becoming intriguingly incoherent. Or is it incoherently intriguing?

Will Smith stars as Henry Brogan, a former combat veteran turned hitman. Brogan is an aging one at that and at the beginning of the movie, he’s on another job which leaves him frustrated with his career choice.

He immediately retires to seek a life of leisure by boating in south Georgia and meeting a young girl named Danny (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Henry soon finds out that she’s involved in the same organization once other assassins come to eliminate him. I guess walking away from being the grim reaper incarnate has kind that kind of effect.

They go globetrotting once a younger, deadlier operative is on their tail (also played by Smith, de-aged) and the older Henry tries to convince him to back off. So, how do you think this turns out?

Clive Owen costars as a director of the orogram that created the cloned Henry and serves as his father. Benedict Wong is also in the film as a loyal friend and colleague of Henry’s.

The movie was partly shot throughout Georgia and director Ang Lee does make incredible use of the state, especially during the climax in which Glennville is prominently featured and the ensuing shootout sequence is fairly impressive.

As for the de-aging process, most scenes involving the younger Smith are state-of-the-art and others are state-of-the artificial. The night scenes are when the technology shines, but other scenes look like they’re only about 75% complete. Maybe if James Cameron had his hand in it, the effects would look and feel more convincing.

There’s a moderately entertaining movie here somewhere and I wish Lee and his cast and crew would’ve crafted a better script to fit the effects instead of relying on durable cliches to get us from one scene to the next.

However, I am recommending Gemini Man as a moderately entertaining diversion because of Smith’s performances and the technology, while not a home run, does manage a solid-base hit.

If only the screenplay were more advanced than the effects, then we’d really have something.

Grade: B

Rated PG-13 for violence and action throughout, and brief strong language.

Hall is a movie critic based in South Georgia. 

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